WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2017
Michael Schmidt, Chris Matthews, several Hardball guests: In the past week or so, we've been warning you about the lexicon of the "collusion with Russia" probe.
We assume that it's a serious probe on the Mueller level. On the level of the upper-end "press corps," it often assumes the familiar shape of a familiar old scam.
Did anyone in the Trump campaign, up to and including Donald J. Trump, collude with Russian officials last year in some nefarious and/or illegal way? That question still has to be settled. It's also entirely possible that we'll never know.
That said, many impatient members of the press are playing familiar old games as they stampede ahead in search of the answer their customers seek. Today, we'll name two major names:
Michael Schmidt does some appalling work in this morning's New York Times. Meanwhile, Chris Matthews led a segment on last evening's Hardball that was straight outta the "verdict first," Alice in Wonderland tales.
Among other sources of total confusion, Matthews clowned, dissembled and toyed with each of the key terms we've seen abused in recent weeks—the terms "collusion" and "meeting." Several of his guests made fools of themselves, most strikingly Shannon Pettypiece of Bloomberg News.
(It's sad to see how far young journalists are sometimes willing to go to keep themselves in line with the propaganda narratives preferred by powerful cable hosts. It's how it was done in the Clinton/Gore years. It happens the same way today.)
In Schmidt's case, he performs like a genuine clown in this morning's annotated excerpts from last week's testimony by Carter Page.
Has Page now said that he did in fact hold "private meetings" with Russkie officials when he went to Moscow last July? Actually no, he hasn't! But Schmidt has cherry-picked his excerpts to make you think he has. His presentation is a familiar and tedious, tired old "star chamber" scam.
Matthews has played it this way for decades. Schmidt is a ballyhooed newcomer to this familiar old game.
You can watch the tape of the Hardball segment here. Study hard! We'll examine the texts of each of these gong-shows tomorrow.
Our response to your thoughtful query: Why can't we examine the texts of these gong-shows today?
Simple! Too depressing! Examining the work of people like these has always done serious harm to the life of the mind. As Plato put it, so long ago:
"When I saw all this, and other things as bad, I was disgusted and drew back from the wickedness of the times."
We cite Professor Lee's translation of The Seventh Letter. Eventually, sacred Plato returned, like John Book in Witness.