Rachel [HEART] Fox & Friends: Except for one gross overstatement, we sadly judge that Dahlia Lithwick may have gotten the memo right.
Lithwick followed in Andrew Sullivan's gloomy, perceptive footsteps. Her analysis piece for Slate appeared beneath these gloomy headlines:
The Nunes Memo Is a Big Win for Donald TrumpGloomily, we'd have to say that this gloomy assessment may well be right. That said, Lithwick's significant overstatement occurs in thia gloomy passage:
It’s incomprehensible and deeply misleading and it will give Trump the tools he needs to stymie the Mueller investigation.
LITHWICK (2/2/18): The memo is so silly, and technical, and logic-defying on its face that it’s easy to miss the fact that its genius lies in precisely that. Unless one ambles comfortably in the murky weeds of the Trump-Russia collusion investigation, this will all be just arcane and confusing enough to mean nothing. For the vast majority of Americans, it will be enough that the president has now declared that his own federal intelligence apparatus is corrupt and out to get him, and has conveniently produced an enemies list that conveniently sweeps in all the villains, from Christopher Steele to Dana Boente to Sally Yates to Andrew McCabe, who have declined to play on the president’s “team.” If the point here is to raise doubts about every investigatory agency capable of scrutinizing Trump, it has been achieved. As John McCain responded, when the memo was released, “If we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin’s job for him.”Uh-oh! Lithwick reflexively gives a failing grade to "the vast majority of Americans." In Lithwick's assessment, Mencken's booboisie will be swept along by the silly, logic-defying memo and by the loud shouting of Trump.
In our view, Lithwick should wash her keyboard out with soap and rethink her view of Trump's strategy. Most likely, the current effort is not intended to convince a majority of the electorate, let alone a vast majority. Most likely, it's intended to convince a share of the electorate sufficient to make Trump's removal from office impossible—ideally, to make mere impeachment impossible, even should be whack Mueller.
Once we talk Lithwick down in that way, we think her gloomy assessment may well be right on target. If you watched Fox last night, you saw the brilliance of the memo being praised to the skies. If you watched C-Span's Washington Journal this morning, you heard enthusiastic viewers calling in to affirm that view.
Are Sullivan and Lithwick right in their gloomy assessments? There's a very good chance that they are! Partly, that's because of the very large Stupid viewers encountered at the start of last night's Maddow Show, where the liberal world's top-rated corporate clown danced a remarkable Western Massachusetts three-step.
This dance included the claim that her various friends at Fox are simply "doing their best."
For the record, we're referring to just the first two minutes of last night's Maddow Show. That's all you'll have to watch on this tape to see this multimillionaire corporate idiot dancing her latest jig.
What goes into the Western Mass Three-Step? This is what you'll see if you watch the first two minutes of that tape:
First, you'll see Maddow instantly start talking about herself. This starts exactly fifteen seconds into her monologue. Maddow can't breathe without pointless self-reference. This was last evening's first step.
After that, you'll be treated to a burst of Maddow's virtuosity as a comedic entertainer. She'll mug and clown and make us laugh as we head toward our warm milk, cookies and bed.
At this point, you''ll encounter the remarkable third part of last evening's three-step. You'll see Maddow tell us about the good intentions of her various friends at Fox.
Rachel Maddow talks about Fox in much the way Donald Trump talks about Putin. Yes, she actually said these things. No, we aren't making this up:
MADDOW (2/2/18): I don't really believe in the whole "cable news wars" idea.As Maddow utters these words, you'll see your screen divide into quadrants. Four photos let you see who she's talking about:
I know people who work across the street at the Fox News Channel. I've got friends who work there. I think we're all doing our own thing in our own way, best we can. I wish everybody the best.
People who are doing their own thing in their own way, best they can:Good God! That ridiculous visual helps define what this weirdo said.
The three chimps (Fox & Friends)
No really—she actually said it! According to Maddow, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson are just "doing their own thing in their own way, best they can." The same way Rachel is!
From there, Maddow went on to ridicule the presentations her various well-intentioned friends have been making over at Fox. As she did, she mugged and clowned as she always does, even sharing the fun of playing the "sad trombone" (we're quoting Maddow), the highly entertaining sound from the old Charlie Brown TV specials.
"We only bring that out for very special occasions," this gigantic corporate clown entertainingly, stupidly said.
She only plays the sad trombone on very special occasions! She played it last night because, in her view, the memo was such a gigantic bust.
Lithwick said the ridiculous memo was "a big win for Trump." Mugging and clowning and weirdly grinning, Maddow adopted the opposite stance all through her program.
Sadly, we think Lithwick may be more right. We're inclined to think that Maddow cast herself in the Pauline Kael role—in the role of the cosseted pseudo-liberal who doesn't know anyone who voted for Richard M. Nixon.
Mainly, though, we want to focus on Maddow's remarks about Fox.
They're just doing the best they can, Our Rhodes Scholar weirdly said. This isn't the first time she's done this.
As it turned out, one of her best friends at Fox was allegedly Greta Van Susteren. For years, Van Susteren had cast herself in the role of Donald J. Trump's prime enabler in his drive to be King of the Birthers.
Van Susteren disgraced herself as she played this role at Fox. But so what? As it turned out, she had been one of Rachel's favorite drinking pals during that gruesome period.
Who chooses their friends that way? Beyond that, we're so old that we can remember what Maddow said on June 15, 2015—the night before Donald J. Trump announced his run for the White House.
I have nothing against Donald Trump, our useful idiot said. He'd been King of the Birthers for four years at that point.
(More precisely: "It is not at all that I dislike Mr. Trump...It's nothing like that. It's not qualitative at all.")
The next morning, Trump made his "Mexican rapists" speech. Finger presumably in the career and political winds, it took Maddow several weeks to challenge what he had said.
Maddow is a high-IQ self-absorbed child, a clown. Her presence as Our Leading Liberal helps define the danger of the current situation:
On the one side, we have grasping pre-Enlightenment conduct in its most naked form. Over Here, within our own tents, we have the consultant-prescribed phony laughter which constitutes this latest version of "Why England Slept."
Maddow thinks the memo flunked. Not unlike Pauline Kael, she doesn't know anyone who doesn't think that!
We'll suggest that Lithwick's fear represents a more perceptive reaction. That said, whatever happens, we'll always have The Maddow Show with its endless fun, even its sad trombone.
Go ahead! Watch the first two minutes of last night's TV show. Hannity is just doing his best! So are the chimps on Fox & Friends, the most horrific TV propaganda show of all time.
Maddow got her start on Carlson's previous cable show. He's just doing his best!
Let's take a look at the numbers: On Thursday night, at 9 PM Eastern, 4.154 million people watched Hannity doing his best. At the same time, 3.044 million people were watching Maddow.
The fact that he got more doesn't matter. To enable the downfall of the republic, he just has to get enough.