Was that the best hour of cable news ever?


Chris Hayes in West Virginia:
Last evening, midway through the hour, we found ourselves asking a question:

Is this the best hour of cable news we have ever seen?

We were watching Chris Hayes' town hall event in McDowell County, West Virginia. Apparently, the program was called Bernie Sanders in Trump Country, although it's hard to tell from MSNBC's who-gives-a-flying-fig web site for Hayes' All In program.

Hayes had brought Sanders along to coal country; we thought they were both fantastic. The keeper moment occurred fairly late in the hour, when a retired coal miner stood and said this to Sanders:
RETIRED MINER: I never dreamed that I'd get to thank you personally, myself, for the bill that you have co-sponsored, the Senate Bill 175, the Miners Protection Act, which—

[audience applause]

I'm one of those miners that will lose his health care at the end of April if they don't pass that law. I come from Local 1440 in Matewan...We have over 800 members, all inactive. They're all retired. So we look at things different. And we look at our health care and what we've already worked out.

We're not going to mine any more coal. Our coal mining days are over. And we look to have the funds that we worked for—

SANDERS: And were promised!

RETIRED MINER: —that were promised to us taken care of. That's all we asked. And it's— I think it's kind of ironic that a senator from the northeast—


RETIRED MINER: —takes care of my benefits better than someone like Mitch McConnell.


[Long round of applause]
Let us repeat that nugget statement, live and direct from Trump Country:

"I think it's kind of ironic that a senator from the northeast takes care of my benefits better than someone like Mitch McConnell."

As politics, as journalism, the evening was astounding. We're not sure we've ever seen an event that good on cable.

As we type, MSNBC hasn't posted a transcript of the hour. (Indeed, the channel hasn't even posted a transcript from last Friday's Hayes program.)

The channel hasn't posted easily accessible tape of last night's full event, easily one of the most striking programs the channel has ever produced.

This channel's disinterest in its own product has long been fairly obvious. That said, we strongly recommend the hour, if you can find a way to view it.

We plan to discuss the program in more detail once a transcript becomes available. But this hour was light years better than the fare one normally sees on this channel.

The very next hour, CNN aired a fascinating program by Fareed Zakaria, a program about the political history of Vladimir Putin. We had a few uncharitable thoughts as we watched these outstanding back-to-back hours of cable news.

Those thoughts involved the journalism these channels could perhaps produce if they weren't squandering so many tens of millions of dollars on their silliest, most self-involved stars. For now, though, we'll simply recommend an additional half-hour of tape:

Musically, John Cohen made his name long ago as a member of the New Lost City Ramblers. In 1963, he also made a documentary film, The High Lonesome Sound, about life in Kentucky coal country, with an emphasis on the region's music.

You can watch The High Lonesome Sound here. At roughly the 16:45 mark, you will see three young girls, apparently sisters, who 1) are full of fun and 2) are sporting extremely thin arms, and may not be rich in shoes.

Today, those girls are roughly the age of the women we liberals delighted in mocking and disregarding not too many weeks ago, when Sarah Kliff reported that they can't afford to go to the doctor despite the fact that they have insurance under Obamacare. (Just for the record, the USA 9400 were missing from Kliff's report.)

Hayes and Sanders were both superb in their visit to coal country. In our view, we upper-class liberals have a lot to learn from the example the two men created last night.

We hope to return to The High Lonesome Sound before the week is over. The question we would ask is this:

Can you see those three girls, and their low-income rural parents, as examples of Us? Or given our highly refined sensibilities, are they, inevitably, simply examples of Them?

We've tended to play it the latter way for a good many years. Could our attitudes explain why those girls, unless they've moved, are now living deep inside "Trump Country?"


  1. Isn't Bernie wonderful! (sigh) Be still my heart!

    1. Then turn the channel, dork.

    2. I did, I promise.

      Apparently, Bernie (I) is running for president already, and Chris Hayes has agreed to be his acting manager for the time being.

    3. mm, can you elaborate? What exactly is your problem with Bernie Sanders and, more important, why should your readers here care?

    4. Mr. Ventimiglia,

      I don't have any readers.

      As much as anyone, Sanders is responsible for the catastrophe that has befallen this country. Personally slandered Secretary of State Hillary Clinton throughout the primary and encouraged his supporters to vote for Trump, 3rd party or sit it out. Fuck him.

    5. here goes mm with the cursing again...it really drives your point home...I don't think you have cursed nearly enough...and you should try branching out from the word fuck, throw in a couple of shits, or shit heads, it will make your argument much more appealing

    6. mm, by definition, you do have readers.

      How exactly did Sanders slander Clinton? Please, be specific. Likewise, when did he ever encourage supporters to vote for Trump? You're entitled to your own beliefs, of course, but until you start furnishing evidence and rational arguments to support them, why on Earth would you expect anyone to agree with your opinions?

    7. Mr. Ventimiglia,

      Sanders' entire campaign attacking Hillary was a regurgitation of right wing attacks. Google "sanders attacks Clinton".

      The very first hit is to a GOP website listing and documenting the Top 15 attacks on Hillary Clinton by Sanders. Just one particularly gruesome baseless slander for example:

      Sanders Has Taken Aim At The Clinton Foundation's Foreign Government Donations.

      CNN'S JAKE TAPPER: "You have not been critical of the Clinton Foundation, but there are those who say that there is something inherently wrong with an American charity, especially one with ties to a Secretary of State, taking money from the Saudis, and other foreign governments that don't represent our values. Is that a fair criticism?"

      SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT): "Yes, it is. If you ask me about the Clinton Foundation, do I have a problem, when a sitting Secretary of State and a Foundation ran by her husband collects many millions of dollars from foreign governments, governments which are dictatorships, you don't have a lot of civil liberties, or democratic rights in Saudi Arabia, you don't have a lot of respect there for opposition points, for gay rights, for women's rights, um yeah, do I have a problem with that? Yeah I do."

      TAPPER: "You think it creates an appearance of conflict of interest?"

      SANDERS: "Yeah, I do." (CNN's "State Of The Union," 6/5/16)

      The sitting SoS took millions of dollars from foreign governments? Really? When was that Bernie?

    8. mm, you claim Sanders's entire campaign was a regurgitation of right-wing attacks, but then failed to support that claim with any evidence. All you have is one quote from Sanders in one interview, on one topic. It might be the case that in this particular interview, on this particular topic, Sanders criticized Clinton in a same or similar way to how she was criticized by Republicans. Even if that's true, it fails to establish Sanders ENTIRE campaign comprised nothing but the exact same criticisms the GOP made, and it fails to say what was wrong with the criticism in the first place.

    9. By the way, note the date of that interview with Jake Tapper, June 5, 2016. The "campaign" had in reality been over for months. It wasn't long before that when Bernie's wife went on Fox to beg the FBI to hurry up and indict Clinton. I'm not going to debate this with you. I followed the campaign closely, Sanders insinuated she was corrupt continually throughout, and it is my firm judgment that he did as much as anyone to get Trump elected.

    10. Yes, I note the date of that interview. What about it? Had the campaign "in reality" been over for months? You say that, but you give me no reason to believe it, or even to understand what exactly you mean. Likewise with Jane Sanders who, IIRC, expressed a desire for the FBI to pick up the pace 2 months earlier. She didn't, however, beg them to indict Clinton. Like many other things you've written, that's a mischaracterization of events. You're not going to debate me? You're already debating me! What I think you mean is, you don't want to debate me anyMORE. That could be for any number of reasons. It could be that you're just tired of doing it, which is perfectly defensible. The trouble is, we can't rule out the possibility that you're tired of losing the debate, since that's what you've been doing. Yeah, I followed the campaigns closely, too. So did a lot of people, so you're not special there. Evidently, you've made the "firm judgment" that Sanders did as much as anyone to get Trump elected, but even that is just so so foolish, if you consider the fact that the Clinton campaign itself worked to elevate Trump's profile during the primary because they foolishly believed he would be easier to beat than Rubio or Bush. If you want to be upset with someone for getting Trump elected, you might consider starting there.

  2. Shows the difference between the parties:
    Democrat policy destroys jobs and gives people government benefits.
    Republican policy creates jobs, so people don't need government benefits.

    1. If DavidinCal's grandchildren die from eating that unfettered free-market food, all the better, because the rest of us will know not to patronize those same food sources.

    2. 95 of the 100 poorest counties in the nation are in red states but do go on about how republican policies are making the country great again.

      And before you spout the tired line that Obama had 8 years to fix it I'll save you the keystrokes. There was little he could do after the republican-controlled congress stated their no. 1 goal was to block his every policy.

    3. The states with the highest populations of blacks are also the poorest states, the states that rely most on public assistance, and the reddest states.

    4. D in C - the result of the last time we had a GOP president, with the GOP in the majority of both houses for 6 of 8 years, we had the worst economic crisis since the great depression, we went from surpluses to huge deficits, and we got into a war of choice in Iraq, justified by non-existent "weapons of mass destruction", probably the worst mistake we ever made (you can debate if the Vietnam war was worse) - now with the Trump and Banion, and the tea party more or less in control, we shall see, but I think the outlook is dim.

    5. We live in pussygrabbing pervert loving flimflam man adoring America now. Shame is a thing of the past. You are worried over a few obscenities? This country elected a living breathing obscenity.

  3. "This channel's disinterest in its own product has long been fairly obvious."

    Bob, there's a message there for you somewhere.

  4. شركة مكافحة حشرات بالقطيف
    تتميز شركة مكافحة حشرات بالقطيف بتوفيرها إلى أحدث المعدات والأجهزة الحديثة في قتل ومكافحة حشرات بالقطيف حيث نعمل على رش المبيدات الحشرية القوية في قتل الحشرات المتنوعة بالإضافة إلى قيام طاقم العمل بالشركة على معاينة الأماكن المتوجد بها الحشرات ويقوم بإختيار الأدوات اللازمة والأدوية والمبيدات الضرورية في مكافحة حشرات بالقطيف ويقوم برش المبيدات في المكان المنتشر به الحشرات ،ونتميز ايضًا بخبرتنا الواسعة خلال الأعوام العديدة في مكافحة حشرات بالقطيف بالأساليب الحديثة واستخدام التقنية الحديثة وأجود الادوية المستوردة من الدول الأوروبية للقيام على مكافحة بق الفراش ومكافحة الوزغ وطارد الحمام وغيرها من الأشياء الضارة والمزعحة من الحشرات.


  5. شركة تنظيف بالقطيف
    تعد شركة السفير المثالي من أقوى وأفضل الشركات في النظافة حيث نقوم بتنظيف كافة الأعمال التي تكون في حاجة إلى النظافة بشكل سريع وإنجاز كامل بكل دقة وعناية وخبرة من خلال أفضل العمالة المتدربة على الجودة العالية والمستويات العليا حيث تقوم شركة تنظيف بالقطيف على تنظيف المنازل والشقق والقصور وكافة المكاتب والشركات والمؤسسات المختلفة بكافة إحاجمها المختلفة وتقوم بتنظيف المسابح من خلال استخدام المعدات والادوات الحديثة التي تساعد في القيام وإنجاز أعمال النظافة بكل سرعة وييسر حيث تقوم على إزالة أصعب البقع والتخلص من الأتربة والغبار المنتشر وغيرها من الأمور الأخرى.

  6. yet the moronic miners voted against their interests.

    1. So, you're saying you know what their interests are better than they do themselves.

    2. David A. Ventimiglia,

      Vouchers for Defense. Unless you think the Pentagon knows more about protecting them then they do themselves.

    3. I have no idea what you're talking about.

    4. Continuing on the subject of knowing what their interests are:

      Under a proposal introduced there over the weekend, the state’s inspections of coal mines would henceforth be considered “compliance visits.” As the Charleston Gazette-Mail’s Ken Ward Jr. explains, a state official on such a visit could not issue any citations unless there was an immediate danger. The proposal “essentially eliminates any meaningful role for the state” in enforcing mine safety laws, Ward writes.

    5. mm, continuing on the subject of knowing what their best interests are, what do you think we should conclude from this HuffPo article? Let me guess. Is it that you know their best interests better than they know their own best interests? Am I getting warmer?

    6. Mr. Ventimiglia,

      Do you think these miners voted for republicans in order to have mining safety regulations dissolved with the stroke of a pen?

    7. mm, no I don't think that. Why would you ask me that question? What relevance could it possibly have to what we're talking about?

    8. So they vote for republicans who promptly act against the interests of the miners. Ergo, they voted against their own interests.

    9. "Ergo, they voted against their own interests." Your logic is defective right there. I'd explain how, in detail, but since you don't want to debate, I won't.

  7. Seem to remember not so long ago and many times since Bob writing off Hayes as a creep and a phoney. All he had to do was be kind to a southern white person and all is forgiven. Glad it was a good show😀

    1. Funny. I don't remember that about Bob, just like I don't remember him saying, "all is forgiven." Do you get a good workout knocking down straw-men? Is it good for your delts, or something?

  8. Thanks for this heads up. You're right, this is great TV. You're also right that MSNBC doesn't make it available as an entire show. Since the election, I have had so much trouble watching MSNBC - the frothing blind leading the I'm-so-cool-look-at-my-access self-congratulatory policy-crippled horserace touts.

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