Brooke Baldwin, report to the madhouse: Yesterday's biggest event may have been what Barry McCaffrey said.
According to Brian Williams, McCaffrey "was the youngest and most heavily decorated four-star general in the history of the U.S. Army." He was also commander in chief of Southern Command, then later a U.S. drug czar.
McCaffrey is a major figure. Here's what he said on Twitter:
"Reluctantly, I have concluded that President Trump is a serious threat to U.S. national security. He is refusing to protect vital U.S. interests from active Russian attacks. It is apparent that he is, for some unknown reason, under the sway of Mr. Putin."
Considering who McCaffrey is, that's a remarkable statement. For that reason, Lawrence started last evening's Last Word program interviewing McCaffrey by phone.
This would have been an opportunity to flesh out McCaffrey's powerful statement, producing more fodder for public rumination about Trump's proto-treasonous conduct. But uh-oh! At 10:03 PM Eastern, before McCaffrey could finish his first statement to Lawrence, Lawrence threw him under the bus, and he never was heard from again.
Uh-oh! Jeff Sessions had just fired Andrew McCabe; Lawrence dumped McCaffrey mid-sentencefor instant discussion of about that. Presumably, this decision, which was overtly rude, was made by Lawrence's producers. They couldn't afford to show even modest respect to McCaffrey before they turned to this even newer news.
We would have liked to hear McCaffrey's analysis, then hear about the firing. Presumably, producers thought they might lose three or four viewers to CNN, so Lawrence cut McCaffrey off in mid-sentence and never mentioned him again.
So it goes when cable stars are committed to ratings and to The Chase. That said, what happenes when "cable news" commits itself to a sexual chase? For a glimpse of where that lunacy leads, consider what happened yesterday on CNN, on Brooke Baldwin's 3 PM program.
Baldwin started her closing, ten-minute segment with a "bombshell allegation." According to this allegation, Stephanie Clifford has been threatened with physical harm by someone connected to Trump. Or something like that!
Is this allegation actually true? Like you, Brooke Baldwin has no idea. But she spent large chunks of her hour talking about the allegation, then introduced her final set of guests in the following manner:
BALDWIN (3/16/18): With me now, Rick Wilson, Republican strategist, and Paris Dennard, CNN political commentator and member of the Trump advisory board.Let's "start with all things Stormy!" This is where our discourse goes when we let these massively-paid prehumans start discussing allegations of (gasp!) consensual sex.
Gentlemen, let's get to it, starting with all things Stormy.
(To watch the whole segment, click this.)
In fact, Baldwin started and ended "with all things Stormy;" she discussed nothing else. Wilson, who's put on the air because he's unhinged and quite profane, was quickly saying this:
"I think we have to also think about Melania's prenup with him. There may be a money equation there as well that puts him at some risk."
Yay yay yay yay yay yay yay! According to Wilson, we may have to talk about Melania's prenup! There will be no avoiding this task!
This is where American discourse goes when untethered crackpots are put on the air to discuss consensual sex. As this lengthy segment proceeded, we got an unvarnished look at where the discourse goes when cable suits instruct people like Baldwin to let the boys mix it up.
Dennard suggested we maybe shouldn't be discussing alleged consensual sex from the year 2006. At this point, Wilson interrupted, offering these thoughtful words:
WILSON: Donald Trump has a long pattern, a long pattern of engagement with a variety of women to whom he is not married. Michael Cohen has long been out there doing these NDAs for these various women that Trump was involved with sexually and in other capacities. This is something that is a long pattern of behavior.Wilson is upset by the idea that Donald J. Trump has "a long pattern of engagement with a variety of women to whom he is not married."
Now, are you telling me that Republicans have never once brought up the fact that Bill Clinton screwed his way through Arkansas? No. They did it all the time. It wasn't because it was before he was president that makes a difference. It's that he did it at all.
It isn't clear why Wilson thinks this qualifies as his business. That said, he still seems to be upset by the thought that Bill Clinton allegedly "screwed his way through Arkansas."
According to Wilson, because Republicans constantly talked about Clinton's alleged prodigious screwing, we should also talk about Donald J. Trump's adventures in conceptual sex. These are the thoughts that seize control of the discourse when we let these disordered children discuss consensual sex.
Wilson was upset by Dennard's suggestions that we shouldn't go there. Soon, he was expressing his concern in this thoughtful manner:
WILSON: If your standard is that low, if your standard is that low, and you're OK with him screwing porn stars, if you're OK with him screwing porn stars, just say the words, "I'm OK with Donald Trump screwing porn stars."Wilson wanted to hear Paris talk dirty! The thoughtful analyst wanted to hear him say this:
Can you say that for me, Paris?
"I'm OK with Donald Trump screwing porn stars."
From there, Wilson began talking over the top of Dennard. The battle went on at some length, with Baldwin occasionally pretending that she wanted the boys to stop.
Baldwin was thoroughly faux throughout, no doubt behaving as instructed. Eventually, Wilson further expressed himself in the thoughtful ways shown below:
WILSON: You're defending Donald Trump screwing a porn star. It's OK. Embrace it. Say it Paris. Just say it. Just say, "I love that Donald Trump screwed a porn star.Plainly, Dennard was right about that. Wilson did want to say, again and again, that Donald J. Trump had "screwed a porn star."
You can just say it. You can just say it.
BALDWIN: Guys, no personal insults. No personal insults, please.
BALDWIN: Go ahead, Rick. I know you want to jump in. Go ahead.
WILSON: You know, the argument that Donald Trump's lifelong pattern of infidelity, adultery, shattering every vow of every one of his marriages, by his own admission, and the fact that Donald Trump screwed a porn star—
I don't think Melania Trump is going to be more embarrassed by what Michael Cohen or Stormy Daniels has to say than by the fact that, a few months after she had a kid, her husband was screwing a porn star.
And that's what you're saying is OK. I get it. You accept that. That's part of your moral framework. That's part of your moral landscape. Good for you!
WILSON: You have said it's part of your moral landscape it's OK for Donald Trump to screw a porn star—it's OK for Donald Trump to screw a porn star if he's just not the president.
DENNARD: Keep saying it more and more. Keep saying it more and more. Get it out. Get it out of your system. We all know that's what you want to say.
He said it again and again and again; he enjoys both the verb and the noun. Sadly, there was no sign that the exercise was "getting it out of his system," or that any such exorcism could ever occur.
Wilson wanted to say it again and again. And not only that—CNN wanted him to say it again and again. And yes, this is where the discourse goes when corporate suits decide they want to let the children discuss consensual sex.
We're going to offer these points:
First point: Actually yes—it is OK for Trump to "screw a porn star." It isn't any of Wilson's business, nor is it any of ours.
Second point: It would also be OK if Trump "screwed" someone who wan't a "porn star." Clifford's profession seems to trouble Wilson. So it goes with disordered minds.
Third point: This is where the discourse goes when the press corps decides, as it did in 1987, that it wants to discuss consensual sex. Soon, they're discussing nothing else. That's because they're secretly overpaid corporate clowns who care about nothing else.
Inevitably, the discourse goes up in flames when the children give themselves license to do that. Consider what we learned on page A3 of today's hard-copy New York Times.
Yesterday's New York Times was full of actual news. But what did subscribers want to discuss? Below, you see what we learned on today's reimagined A3:
The ConversationOf all the reports across yesterday's Times, that's what Times readers were gabbing about. In a manner drawn straight outta Salem Village and the nearby fictional Peyton Place, they "speculated" about what "might" explain this announcement of this divorce.
FOUR OF THE MOST READ, SHARED AND DISCUSSED POSTS FROM ACROSS NYTIMES.COM
2) Vanessa Trump, Donald Trump Jr's Wife, Files for Divorce
On Facebook, the news of the president's son and daughter-in-law breaking up drew more than 4,400 comments on Facebook, many of which speculated that the Trumps' decision to opt for an uncontested divorce might signal that the split is a ploy to transfer family assets to Mrs. Trump in case of legal trouble for Mr. Trump.
The Times itself is such a rag that it responded to this display by spreading their gossip further.
This is who and what we are. Left on our own, as in Lord of the Flies, this is all we are. This is where our discourse goes when we turn our empty selves loose.
Baldwin played the fool yesterday, just as the bosses instructed. This is where the discourse goes when we start chasing Gary Hart.
Who the $%^&@# is Rick Wilson: CNN puts Wilson on the air because he behaves like that. Believe it or not, here's how the conversation started when Ana Marie Cox interviewed Wilson, two years back, for the Sunday New York Times:
COX (3/24/16): You’ve gained lots of fans on the left thanks to your vicious descriptions of Trump and his supporters. Once, on MSNBC, you called his base ‘‘childless single men who masturbate to anime.’’ That was in reference to the alt-right part of his base.No, really! Cox wanted to know what it is about Donald J. Trump that makes Wilson behave as he does!
WILSON: I wish I could take credit for it being a broader smear. If one is going to insult a group of people who think that Trump is their own private postmodern Hitler, one ought to be specific.
COX: You also tweeted at Ann Coulter, asking if Trump ‘‘pays more for anal.’’ What do you think it is about Trump that drives the conversation toward sexualized language?
Cox, of course, is the person who went on the Maddow Show night after night back in April 2009 dropping all the "teabagger" dick jokes on Tea Party heads while Rachel pretended, night after night, to be shocked and embarrassed.
Yesterday, Baldwin was cast in that old Maddow role. This is the way we prehumans behave when the suits decide it's time to start chasing Gary Hart.