Part 2—Don't look for the world of Khan-Cullors: Last evening, on prime time "cable news," Rachel Maddow spent a leisurely, self-involved hour making the world go away.
She started, as is routine at this point, with a brief complaint about the way the current profusion of news events inconveniences her, Rachel Maddow, both in her daily professional planning and in her personal life. This piteous bleating has become an almost-nightly event.
From there, she proceeded to the bulk of her opening segment, in which she spent 20 minutes and 45 seconds—roughly half her program's broadcast minutes—making the world go away.
How did the liberal world's corporate darling make the world go away? As she frequently does, she started with a leisurely, utterly pointless trip to the tribal past—to a pleasing tribal past in which famous Republicans are pleasingly seen doing things which are evil, naughty and wrong.
This makes the cable star's liberal viewers feel tribally moral and pure. After last night's standard complaint about the way breaking news inconveniences Rachel, here's the way the historical waste of time started:
MADDOW (2/19/18): All right. In 1984, at his last State of the Union Address before he ran for reelection as president, January 1984, Ronald Reagan, at that State of the Union, made a very sober promise to the country on a very serious issue.Etcetera, and so forth and so on. As the minutes burned away, Maddow told us about the way Reagan failed to fire a staffer accused of domestic violence—until the story hit the Wall Street Journal, at which point the Gipper took action.
REAGAN (videotape): This year, we will intensify our drive against these and other horrible crimes, like sexual abuse and family violence.
MADDOW: That was January 1984. Ronald Reagan telling Congress the government "will intensify our drive against sexual abuse and family violence."
This was one line in a sort of dark part of Reagan's State of the Union Address that year. That was part of the speech where he also talked about kidnapping and about child pornography.
For oursleves, we have no idea what actually happened in the incident under review. There's little chance that the grossly inconvenienced Maddow has any real idea either.
Presumably, staffers had seized upon this news report in yesterday's USA Today. They'd fashioned a summary of events. Maddow sat there and performed as if she knew what she was talking about.
That said, historical excursions of this type tend to serve as the first batch of porridge the corporate multimillionaire serves her liberals viewers of a weekday night. Preferably, the pointless excursion will involve Richard Nixon, not the less dastardly Reagan.
At any rate, in last evening's first twenty-one minutes, Maddow joined her liberal audience in one of her favorite pastimes, listening to herself talk. She spent this very large of time developing one piece of information—chief of staff Kelly has said that new rules will take effect this Friday regarding security clearances inside the J-Trump White House.
Maddow managed to turn this tiny nugget into a 21-minute open. She blathered her way through the rest of the program, then sent us off happy with this additional glimpse of her daily life:
MADDOW: I have to tell you, usually, I really don't care. I'm like—Yay yay yay yay yay—so cool! We got to learn more about Rachel!
I'm not the only person in the news business, but I'm probably one of the only people in the news business who, when the White House briefing comes on, I take that as my cue to go get a sandwich.
[Off-camera laughter from sycophants]
Like I just don't—I just make—you have to make choices as to what sort of information you take in and what you don't bother. And with the White House briefing, I don't bother.
That said, tomorrow I'm going to bother, because tomorrow will be the first White House briefing in a week.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is expected to brief at 2 o'clock tomorrow. They cancelled the briefing last Wednesday on a day they expected to put out White House chief of staff John Kelly. They cancelled it in the wake of the shooting.
Kelly had been expected to face, basically, a furious press corps, who's been trying to get to the bottom of White House conflicting statements about the White House staff secretary Rob Porter and the domestic violence allegations against him, the security clearance scandal that followed the Rob Porter revelations.
His briefing was cancelled on Wednesday. They didn't hold one Thursday or Friday. They did not hold one today.
Tomorrow, they'll be back in the briefing room and I'll get takeout.
That does it for us tonight. We'll see you again tomorrow. Now it's time for The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. Good evening, Lawrence!
Normally, she doesn't care. But tomorrow, she plans to get takeout!
Roughly four million Rachel watchers thrilled to the new information. Deep in the bowels of our own sprawling campus, observers were much less pleased.
"I I I I I I I," our frustrated young analysts wailed. They'd just watched a multimillionaire corporate stooge making the world go away.
What do we mean when we say that "Rache" makes the world go away? We refer to such matters as these:
We refer to te absurdly limited palette of topics to which we get exposed in an hour.
We refer to the endless string of major topics and concerns we'll never see addressed.
We refer to the many people we'll never see on this program as guests. (Michael Beschloss, come on down!)
We refer to the way the Maddow Show is actually tribal entertainment TV—a nightly "true crime" drama about The Chase, in which we the good people pursue the bad people, the ones surrounding Trump, hoping they'll end up in prison.
Alas! As this creepy, crepuscular shadow being works the margins of real events, we liberals only get dumber, and more estranged from the world. Rachel becomes more enthralled with herself—but along the way, we don't hear about the contents of a new, best-selling book.
The book belongs to Patrisse Khan-Cullors, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter. We've been reading that book of late. It involves the type of content to which you will never be exposed on Maddow's entertainment-based program.
WE first saw Khan-Cullors on C-Span's After Words program two Sundays back. She was interviewed, for an hour, by the perhaps and possibly ever-more outre Toure.
The interview led us to skim the book at Barnes and Noble. The skimming led us to buy it.
You will never see Khan-Cullors on Maddow's "cable news" show. You'll never see its content discussed.
Tomorrow, we start splaining why.
Tomorrow: Several peculiar claims, fascinating content
The ghost of hit songs past: We thought we heard the late Eddy Arnold as we watched Maddow last night. He'd adjusted the words of his greatest hit song. Here's what we thought he said:
Make the world go awayIn fairness, with the analysts all yelling "I I I I," it was hard to hear what he was saying.
Get it off my shoulder
Say the things we want you to say
And make the world go away.