Bad facts and "grown-ass white men:" It's very hard to describe the morass into which the Maddow Show has descended.
The intellectual illness which now lies at its core pervades every minute of every hour. It's hard to describe a moral illness which is so vast and pervasive. But these are a few basic markers:
The Maddow program avoids one important topic after another. This includes substantive and political topics.
Instead, the program teaches us to loathe The Others. In the process, we're treated to two type of facts:
We're treated to facts which are grossly selective. We're treated to facts which are false.
On Friday evening, April 15, the big cable star who fronts this program decided to cap an appalling week with an opening segment about the vile Candidate Kasich.
The segment was designed to teach us how to loathe this candidate. It's hard to describe this segment's illness, so many thumbs were on so many scales during its execution.
Today, we'll discuss one part of this segment. Next week, we'll be returning to the world of Einstein, but we'll return to other parts of this segment in supplementary posts.
First, a bit of background about the vile person in question:
Candidate Kasich is "pro-life." As a general matter, he is opposed to abortion rights except in cases involving rape, incest or a threat to the life of the mother.
Many people won't be surprised to learn that fact about this candidate. On the presidential level, abortion rights create a hard and fast dividing line between the two major parties.
It has been a long time since a major Republican candidate wasn't "pro-life." Candidate Trump flipped on this issue when he decided to be a Republican. All the way back in 1980, George Bush the elder had to flip on this issue to make himself a viable GOP candidate.
In 1987, Dick Gephardt flipped from pro-life to pro-choice in the course of becoming a Democratic candidate, and so on. In the world we inhabit, Republican candidates are "pro-life." Democrats are "pro-choice."
Pretty much everyone knows this.
Candidate Kasich is "pro-life!" For ourselves, that's one of the reasons—there are others—why we wouldn't vote for Kasich.
That said, a lot of people are "pro-life." There's a name for people like these. They're known as "fellow citizens."
Theoretically, we aren't allowed to invent fake facts about such people just because we disagree with their stance on this issue. Such theories no longer hold on the Maddow program, which has almost totally lost its bearings and should be removed from the air.
On Friday evening, April 15, the giant star who fronts that program decided to help us learn how to loathe Candidate Kasich more fully. She devoted her opening segment to that rather familiar task.
Her deepening craziness took many forms during this course of this segment. Today, we'll restrict ourselves to her first demonstration of Kasich's moral squalor.
Her demonstration was based on selective facts, and on one fact which was false. A lot more craziness would follow as this opening segment proceeded. For today, we'll restrict ourselves to Maddow's first attack on the vile Ohio governor.
Maddow opened with a kooky attempt to "decode" (her term) photographs of two bill-signing ceremonies from the great state of Mississippi. But that was just the warm-up act. Quickly, it led the cable star to this remarkable diatribe:
MADDOW (4/15/16): When Ohio Governor John Kasich, signed legislation in 2011 that ended up closing nearly half the clinics that provide abortions in the state of Ohio, notice something similar. This was his photo op that day.Rather plainly, Kasich had engaged in a vile act back in 2011. As he staged his vile photo op, "it was just him and a bunch of grown-ass white men."
That's the photo op that Governor John Kasich staged in Ohio for signing that anti-abortion legislation. It was just him and a bunch of grown-ass white men.
And for good measure, they included, in that bill signing ceremony, a very, very young man. They also brought in a little boy who the governor invited to sit on his lap and dot the "I" in the word "Kasich" as the menfolk of Ohio got together to show the boyfolk of Ohio how women's pregnancy can be controlled by the law.
(To watch Maddow's whole segment, click here.)
Question: As liberals and progressives, are we comfortable when a multimillionaire corporate employee throws around language like that?
We think the use of language like that betrays extremely bad judgment. On the other hand, it's clear that this Ohio governor had engaged in a deeply vile act.
As he signed that anti-abortion bill, he even brought in a little boy, to help him learn how to rule over women. Kasich and the rest of that "bunch of grown-ass white men" were helping Ohio's boyfolk learn their role in the world.
Sadly, there's a minor problem with the story as Maddow told it. The bill-signing in question happened in 2013, not in 2011. And it wasn't exactly an anti-abortion bill.
With the help of his grown-ass friends, Governor Kasich was actually signing a giant Ohio budget bill into law that day. The bill contained 5,557 pages. You can see those pages stacked on Kasich's desk in the tape Maddow aired.
The little boy was the son of one of Kasich's grown-ass cabinet members, a few of whom stood in the background. The signing took place on June 30, 2013. To see the photo, click here.
Let's be fair! There were some abortion restrictions in the mammoth budget bill, which ran to 5,557 pages. But no, it wasn't mainly an anti-abortion bill.
It was the state of Ohio's mammoth budget bill. For Maddow's purpose—for the purpose of teaching us how to loathe Kasich—the story works a good deal better if you don't tell the rubes that.
Having said that, please make no mistake—Kasich is "pro-life." For a review of his work with respect to this topic, you can read this slightly confusing report by Michelle Ye Hee Lee in the Washington Post.
Candidate Kasich is "pro-life!" In that respect, he's like every Republican White House candidate since at least 1980. The question we would ask you is this:
By what process did we get from that fact to the story this cable star told? How did we get to a story built around a false fact, a story which featured some very odd language?
That 4-year-old boy was actually dotting the "i" on a giant budget bill on the day in question. There were some abortion restrictions in the bill; Maddow could have reported what they were. Instead, she hurried ahead to some crazier nonsense as she performed her full segment.
It's hard to capture how deceptive and how crazy Maddow's full segment was. The segment was crafted to help you to loathe. Let's mention some facts it left out, just from that opening salvo.
As we'll see next week, Maddow seemed eager to give us peons the impression that Kasich has a bad reputation in Ohio. That intended impression is false. Maddow forgot to mention the giant size of his 2014 re-election. She forgot to mention his sky-high approval ratings in the state of Ohio.
Because that segment was designed to teach us to loathe, Maddow ignored something else. She forgot to mention another provision of that 2013 budget bill, which she had misdescribed and placed in the wrong year.
There actually were some abortion restrictions in that giant bill. Like every Republican for the past forty years, Kasich is "pro-life."
That said, another key provision of that bill helps explain why Candidate Kasich is having trouble in the current White House campaign. Maddow didn't tell us about it, and she never will.
Uh-oh! As part of that bill signing, Kasich used his line item veto to remove a provision concerning Medicaid. Ohio's Republican legislature had included a provision blocking the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare.
Kasich vetoed that part of the bill before he and the little boy signed it. Later that year, he circumvented his legislature and expanded Medicaid to 330,000 Ohioans completely on his own.
This heresy is one of the reasons why Kasich has failed to gain favor at the pools with Republican regulars. Later, Kasich sounded off at a Koch-organized conference IN 2014, explaining why he committed that heresy.
Politico's Alex Isenstadt describes the stormy scene here:
ISENSTADT (6/9/15): Randy Kendrick, a major contributor and the wife of Ken Kendrick, the owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks, rose to say she disagreed with Kasich’s decision to expand Medicaid coverage, and questioned why he’d expressed the view it was what God wanted.Uh-oh! When that little boy dotted the "i" on that bill that day, he was indeed dotting the "I" on some abortion restrictions. That said, he was also dotting the "i" on health coverage for 330,000 low-income residents of his state.
The governor’s response was fiery. “I don’t know about you, lady,” he said as he pointed at Kendrick, his voice rising. “But when I get to the Pearly Gates, I’m going to have an answer for what I’ve done for the poor.”
The exchange left many stunned. Around 20 audience members walked out of the room, and two governors also on the panel, Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, told Kasich they disagreed with him. The Ohio governor has not been invited back to a Koch seminar—opportunities for presidential aspirants to mingle with the party’s rich and powerful—in the months since.
Maddow will let you hear one of those facts; she will withhold the other. To make her demonization work better, she'll misstate the nature of the bill the little boy signed, and she'll singe your ears with language about grown-ass white men for which her own undergrown, struggling ass ought to be thrown off the air.
We wouldn't vote for Candidate Kasich. We also wouldn't go on TV and do the things Maddow did that night, the things she now does every night.
As her segment continued that night, her selective facts and her demonization continued to the point of near-lunacy. The cable star is working hard to make her viewers extremely dumb. Assuming she hasn't lost control of herself, she has long since stopped being even minimally honest.
Next week, we'll show you more of what happened as she taught us how to loathe Kasich. Journalistically, Maddow's childish, dishonest program has become a toxic waste site. There's a word for what the corporate star is now doing:
Maddow has bought into Hannityism. This familiar corporate cable approach is bad for grown-ups and four-year-old children and for all living things.