Part 2—Morell rolls his eyes at the press: We'll acknowledge the fact that it may rank as our own number-one pet peeve.
Last night, Rachel Maddow was "under the weather" again, the latest in a string of absences which started on Friday, May 26. Joy Reid was on hand as guest host.
In one segment, Reid spoke with Matt Miller about the high drama ahead. On Thursday morning, James B. Comey—Comey the God—will be testifying before that Senate committee!
Yay yay yay yay yay yay yay! The coming event is sure to provide high drama! At one point, Miller said this to Reid: "It could reeeeally be explosive."
Reid then told Rachel's liberal viewers how many folk will prepare:
REID (6/5/17): Might be a good time to buy stock in popcorn companies, because people are going to pop a lot of it for Thursday.Yay yay yay yay yay yay yay! This will be lots of fun!
In fairness, we're prepared to admit that the popcorn play is our own number-one pet peeve. It's the perfect expression of the fact that "cable news" is increasingly part of the corporate world's "partisan entertainment" division.
At any rate, Yay! We're going to get our popcorn ready to watch Comey testify! (Tomorrow, we'll show you the transcript of Miller's peculiar but drama-strewn comments.)
Warning! As we speak, Comey is being restored to his previous status as The Planet's Most Forthright Known Person. He's being restored to that status to serve the demands of drama.
It's fairly clear that James B. Comey really isn't the world's most forthright person. But he'd long been cast in that role by the press. This may explain why Rachel, who is under the weather, failed to push back, in any way, when he launched his attack on Candidate Clinton in July 2016.
Readers, can we talk? All the children at MSNBC averted their gaze and sucked their thumbs at that critical juncture.
(In saying that, we overlook Steve Kornacki. For two straight nights, he aggressively seconded Comey's anti-Clinton stance while guest-hosting for Rachel.)
Good God! Even after Fred Kaplan's analysis at Slate helped us see how misleading Comey's attack on Clinton had been, the boys and girls at The One True Channel just kept sucking their thumbs. We liberal viewers failed to see the way we were getting conned.
When Comey struck again in late October, the children decided to act. Very late in the game, we liberals were finally told, by our cable stars, that James B. Comey is bad.
The news reached us a bit too late. Have you heard which candidate won?
Well, Comey now stands in opposition to Donald J. Trump, the craziest individual in our nation's political history. People like Rachel averted their gaze, again and again, as this utterly crazy man found his way to the White House.
Now, they and their owners are making huge money off the fact that Trump is crazy and bad. For that reason, Comey is being restored to his previous status. Well-scripted drama ahead!
We offer this as a warning about Thursday morning's event. Comey isn't the world's most reliable person, despite all the things you'll be told.
You're being told to pop your corn as you await the event. You'll be assailed with a lot of crap when Comey finally speaks.
In the next few days, we plan to review the cast of characters who will be involved in Thursday morning's drama. For today, let's continue to visit some recent words of warning.
The warning came from Mike Morell, acting director of the CIA under Barack Obama. As we noted yesterday, Morell endorsed Candidate Clinton in 2016, trashed Candidate Trump quite hard. Despite this history, he offered words of warning last week.
Yesterday, we reviewed Morell's remarks from last Thursday night's Charlie Rose program. At present, drama is all around us on cable TV and in the mainstream press. Morell said we should exercise caution about the things we're being told.
Uh-oh! In a series of outrageous statements, Morell said he didn't necessarily believe all the claims he's read in the press about various Trump fandangos. Even more crazily, he said he doesn't especially care about some major points of outrage favored by some in the press.
His craziest statement came near the end of his discussion of these matters. Weirdly, grotesquely, inexplicably, Morell told Charlie Rose this:
MORELL (6/1/17): Here is the last point I would make, Charlie, on this Kushner thing. I think a lot of people, particularly some people in the media, have been very quick to grab this and conclude that something wrong—something was done here that was inappropriate or even criminal."We have to be patient," Mike Morell said. His statement flew in the face of the corporate suggestion that we should go off and pop corn.
And I simply don't think the facts as we know them—and you know my concern about whether the facts are right—that the facts as even we know them in the media take you there, right? Take you to the judgment that there was something wrong done here.
We have to be patient. We have to let the FBI do its investigation.
Good lord! Morell suggested that "some people in the media" may perhaps be rooting for scandal. Earlier in his discussion with Rose, he made it clear that you can't necessarily believe the facts as they come to you through the work of the press.
Why would Morell make such crazy claims? We thought it might be worth your time to review some earlier statements by the man who endorsed Candidate Clinton but has, since then, lost his mind.
We learned of Morell's initial remarks because we were watching Fox News! Fox viewers were allowed to hear what Morell had said. Over on our own preferred channel, we liberals were granted protection.
We were watching Special Report, Fox's least crazy program. Speaking with his all-star panel, Bret Baier discussed claims of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russkies. His report about Morell's remarks went exactly like this:
BAIER (5/31/17): Hillary Clinton is obviously convinced of the linkage, the collusion, even though there's not evidence that we've seen. She talked about it at length today, about the linkage, and she believes the Trump campaign is there.On this occasion, Charles was largely right. Without any question, "some people in the media" are very much riding "romantic" Watergate "notions" as Thursday morning draws near.
Here are former Clinton CIA director and former Obama CIA director James Woolsey: "There are a lot of things I've seen I think have been disclosed too much. And I think that the real scandal here, so much is disclosed it makes it hard for the secrecy that's essential for the operation of the U.S. government in these areas to continue..." He worked for the Clinton administration.
Then you have Michael Morell, in the Obama administration was the acting CIA director, about the Kushner story in the Washington Post: "That is not a sourcing chain in which I would put a great deal of confidence. I spent a career watching the media get a significant portion of intelligence-related stories wrong. So the bottom line, we should all be very careful in saying what is a fact on which to base analysis here. The real facts may be different."
Just a perspective of two former Democratic CIA directors.
KRAUTHAMMER: "Democratic," that is the key word. These are not partisans. They are not Trump-ites by any means, and what they are speaking for is the institutions, and they are basically saying you might have a romantic notion of being a Deep Throat and uncovering some terrible scandal as in Watergate...
And sure enough! There was Morell, crazily saying this:
"I spent a career watching the media get a significant portion of intelligence-related stories wrong."
Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow! Is Morell allowed to say that?
As we speak, Maddow has been vaguely "under the weather" since before Memorial Day. Before that, she had retracted an earlier exciting report about the way Comey the God had asked for more resources shortly before getting fired.
As she retracted that thrilling report, she said the sourcing chain had been bad—like a game of Telephone, she said. She named six news orgs who had falsely reported the thrilling tale, completely forgot to mention the fact that she had reported it too.
She had also told us a thrilling story about the way acting FBI head Andrew McCabe "became part of the Trump disinformation campaign" back in February. Her thrilling, twenty-minute report was entirely based on an uncorroborated claim by the noted truth-teller, Reince Priebus.
She forgot to say that Comey the God had been fingered by Priebus too. Exalted figures like Comey the God tend to get that kind of treatment from the major overpaid stars of our insider corporate press.
Rachel's been getting out over her skis; now she's taking the cure. At the same time, we think Morell has been offering good sound advice.
Morell's first interview, the one Baier quoted, can be reviewed at this link. We think Morell's remarks about press corps errors are worth considering at this juncture. Beyond that, we think the children we love at The One True Channel can very much, at various times, maybe perhaps be reimagined as big major corporate clowns.
Tomorrow, we'll start to review the cast of characters for Thursday morning's high drama. Getting popcorn ready is fun. We advise you to shun such advice.
Tomorrow: Dramatis personae