Part 2—Rachel keeps selling the car(s): We liberals just lost a presidential election to the craziest person who ever sought the office.
How did we get to be such losers? Just to establish a bit of a framework, consider Paul Krugman's most recent column.
Yesterday morning, Krugman penned a valuable piece about the phenomenon known as "self-dealing." Focusing on education nominee Betsy DeVos, he discussed the types of grifters being selected for service under Trump.
He described the "self-dealing" in which they, like their boss, will likely engage. As he did, he drew an important distinction:
According to Krugman, the problem doesn't lie in the wads of cash these grifters may seize in the course of their service. According to Krugman, the problem lies in the bad policy choices their grifting is likely to cause.
Truth to tell, we aren't sure Krugman totally knew whereof he spoke in his remarks about charter schools. He seems to be accepting some research which seems quite shaky to us. (We expect to discuss this point at a later date.)
That said, Krugman is right on target when he discusses the way "self-dealing" can produce bad policy decisions. That said, the same thing is true of journalistic decisions. Just consider the self-dealing of our own corporate liberal star, the increasingly ridiculous Rachel Maddow.
Here on our sprawling campus, we tend to describe Maddow's self-dealing as "selling the car." Here's where that award-winning locution came from:
Maddow is an excellent salesperson, we constantly warn the analysts. If she were actually selling cars, there wouldn't be a single car left on the lot.
Unfortunately, the car which Maddow sells each night is most often The Maddow. Maddow is constantly selling herself. This form of self-dealing has helped produce years of bad journalistic decisions.
How did we liberals become such losers? Our loser instincts were well entrenched before the suits found Maddow. But for today, let's enjoy a bit of comic relief as we consider a couple of ways Our Own Rhodes Scholar keeps selling the car.
It was Monday evening, November 21. Maddow started by spooning us some porridge about a small white supremacist conference.
After that, she entertained us with video clips from old Saturday Night Live claptrap. piddle and bullroar. Did you know that President Ford was physically clumsy? As Rachel helped us recall, the giants at SNL did!
After this feeding and entertainment, Rachel was about to introduce her guest. Luckily, her guest this night wasn't just any guest! As she teased her guest'a appearance, can you spot the familiar way she was selling the car?
MADDOW (11/21/16): Since the election, there is one journalist who has spoken at length with President Obama about his plans, about the Democratic Party, what happens for the Democratic Party next, about Donald Trump, about Obama's meeting with Trump.Incredibly, David Remnick—he's a genius—was going to join us live!
That journalist, who has had that conversation, is the New Yorker's David Remnick. He's a genius and he joins us here live, next.
Question: Is David Remnick a genius? Inevitably, it all depends on what the meaning of "genius" is. But the simplest answer is "no."
Let's be fair! David Remnick doesn't describe himself as a genius; he's too sensible for that. And no else describes Remnick that way, except when they're selling the car.
That said, Maddow is often selling the car when she introduces her guests. Or when she bids them adieu, as in this recent leave-taking after an interview with Jane Mayer:
MADDOW (10/31/16): Jane Mayer, staff writer for the New Yorker magazine and, in my humble opinion, a national treasure of a reporter.Is Jane Mayer "a national treasure?" When Rachel starts selling the car, it turns out that she is!
MAYER: Thank you.
MADDOW: Jane, thank you for being here. I appreciate it.
How is Maddow "selling the car" in these effusions of praise? Actually, she's selling two different cars in two different ways.
Before we explain, let's enjoy a bit of comic relief as we review a more typical way Maddow heaps praise on her guests. Let start in the days after the recent election—the disastrous election we world-class losers somehow managed to boot.
The children, upset by the loss, almost seemed to be huddling together in their secret garden. Two nights after the election, Maddow introduced a guest:
MADDOW (11/10/16): Joining us now is the host of All In here on MSNBC, the great Chris Hayes, who stayed late to talk to me about that interview and watched it live as it happened. Chris, thank you so much for staying. I really appreciate it, my friend.She wasn't speaking with Chris Hayes—she was speaking with "the great Chris Hayes." (Two nights before, as results poured in, she had introduced him as "the great and good Chris Hayes.")
HAYES: Absolutely, any time.
As the children huddled together, they agreed to interview each other more often. We were struck by the oddness of that pledge, but the analysts laughed and howled at Maddow's introduction.
Increasingly, Maddow deals with the greats. In the last few months, she has introduced "the great Tom Brokaw" and "the great and good Joy Reid." She has described the work of "my colleague and my friend, the great Nicolle Wallace."
On November 2, she introduced "the great Steve Kornacki," inviting him to waste everyone;s time at the map. When their utterly useless orgy of failed election predictions was finally done, she said good night to this great, good man in the same fawning manner.
(That made it "a double," the analysts cried; such "doubles" are quite uncommon. She had also introduced "the great Steve Kornacki" back in early August.)
Almost everyone on Maddow's show seems to be great these days. Dating back to the conventions, she has spoken with "the great Hallie Jackson," with "the great Rosa Brooks" and of course with "the great Dan Rather."
She has interviewed "the great and good E. J. Dionne." She has chatted pointlessly with "the great Garry Trudeau."
Last Wednesday night, Maddow introduced "the great Michael Beschloss, NBC News presidential historian." It was the third time she'd hailed "the great Michael Beschloss" just since mid-July!
When you see TV stars acting this way, you need to check your wallets. Rather plainly, this corporate scourge of progressive interests is selling two different cars when she toys with her viewers this way.
On the one hand, she's clearly selling The Maddow. Trust us! When TV stars say others are great, they're doing it so the others will feel the need to say the same thing about them. Just this month, several years of such effort by Maddow finally paid off in a way we'll share below.
Maddow is selling a second car when she praises "the greats." She's functioning as a company man, telling you that all her fellow NBC stars are great.
She assumes that we're too dumb to know that she's selling her company's car in this way. Based upon her ratings, her assumption may be correct.
Maddow has introduced many "greats" down through the years. That includes the last two years, during which her program has been massively dumbed down.
According to a search of the Nexis archive, she has introduced "the great Frank Rich" on seven occasions. She has introduced "the great Dan Rather" on six.
She has introduced "the great Andrea Mitchell" on five occasions, "the great Chris Matthews" on four. In this way, she constantly tells you that her company's product is great.
Her company's product isn't great. But the NBC car must be sold!
Maddow is constantly selling her company's cars when she hands you "the greats." But she's also selling her own car. Consider what finally happened just in this past two weeks.
As best we can tell, the person Maddow has praised most often is "the great Chris Hayes." She has introduced "the great Chris Hayes" on at least twelve different occasions down through the years.
As we mentioned, stars engage in this silly fawning assuming that they will be praised in return. Hayes deserves a lot of credit for resisting this pressure.
Hayes fought long and hard down through the years, resisting the need to reply. But just this month, in the wake of defeat, he finally succumbed to the pressure.
The children were huddled in their garden when Hayes finally succumbed:
HAYES (11/11/16): All right. Up next, the great Rachel Maddow joins me to talk about the massive conflicts in Donald Trump's transition team and the media's responsibility as the Trump presidency approaches. That's after the break.As always, Maddow's remarks had been "extremely well put!" But on this night, it finally happened. After years of resistance, Hayes finally succumbed to the pressure.
HAYES: That is extremely well put as always. Rachel Maddow, my good, good friend, my comrade, my buddy. Thank you.
MADDOW: Thank you. Chris, will you come on my show on Monday? Can we just have to keep doing back and forth for a few days?
HAYES: Yes, let's keep doing this. Yes.
MADDOW: OK. Will do. Thanks, my friend.
By now, he'd been called "the great Chris Hayes" on twelve different occasions. At long last, after years of resistance, he spoke of "the great Rachel Maddow." Maddow had sold him the car!
We offer this as a bit of comic relief in the wake of a great disaster. But Maddow is constantly selling the car on her nightly program.
She serves us the types of porridge we like, cons us into thinking it's great. If Maddow were an actual salesman, no cars would be left on the lot.
Unfortunately, people who are selling a product may not have our best interests at heart. They will engage in relentless self-dealing. As in government, so too in "journalism;" this will produce bad decisions.
Over the next few weeks, we plan to look at the various ways we liberals managed to lose an election to a person who's visibly nuts. As part of that discussion, we'll spend some time reviewing the important topics Maddow refused to discuss over the past two years.
Maddow serves us the porridge we like. She stays away from the topics which may be dangerous. She has run and hid for many years. Unless we're devoted losers, it's time we discussed this fact.
Truly great journalists know what we need. Self-dealing hustlers like the great Maddow more typically serve what we want.
Tomorrow: Krugman says it three times