Maddow gets it right: Rachel Maddow got it right on last night's eponymous program.
She played it straight when she interviewed Michael Avenatti, Stephanie Clifford's "Barrister Bluster." In the process, she elicited a comical claim from the famous bombast king—a claim which brought down the house.
More typically, Bluster appears on Lawrence's 10 PM cable news program. As a general matter, Lawrence stares, slack-jawed, at the porn star promoter like he wants to go rent a cheap room with this greatest of all hairless men.
Maddow took a different tack on her eponymous program. She actually challenged the recent actions of the man called Stormy's "third m*ney-m*ker." In the process, she elicited a classic blunderbuss response.
The self-loving lawyer had published some data concerning cash payments to Michael Cohen. Cohen's the man who heroically kept Clifford from hijacking our last election, Putin- and Flowers-style.
Earlier this week, Avenatti published some data concerning cash payments to Cohen. As it turned out, some of the lawyer's dollar figures were incomplete or inaccurate—and Maddow took note this fact:
MADDOW (5/10/18): ...All the big dollar amounts that you attribute to these big companies have been validated by these big companies today, or they said "Yes, we actually paid them more than that." It`s weird to have the big dollar numbers, to have those validated in this, when the smaller dollar numbers are being contested. It's weird to have a mix of true and false information.Some of Avenatti's data had been incorrect. As it turned out, some of his claims apparently involved other people named Michael Cohen—and in some cases, it turned out that big companies had given substantially more money to Cohen than Avenatti had said.
"We actually paid him more than that," a few of the corporations have said. In response to this observation, the Bambino of Bombast said this:
AVENATTI (continuing directly): Well, it's not necessarily weird in a case, in a litigation case. I mean, sometimes things check out perfectly and sometimes they don't. I mean, that's just the nature of the beast.Say what? Did Bluster actually say that?
Let me say this. We knew of the additional $800,000 that Novartis had paid. We didn't include that in the report for a reason. We wanted to see what happened. We wanted to see if they actually came clean about it.
And initially last night, they did not. And then they found religion today and came clean about the additional $800,000.
Did Barrister Bluster actually say he knew that Novartis paid $1.2 million, not the $400,000 he claimed? Did he actually say that he reported the inaccurate figure on purpose, hoping to see if Novartis would come clean?
Did Bluster really say that? Flabbergasted, perhaps gobsmacked, Maddow double-checked.
Did Bluster report inaccurate figures on purpose? Incomparably, Maddow asked—and Bluster said yes, he did!
MADDOW (continuing directly): So why did you hold that back? You wanted to see if they were going to lie about the amount?Maddow asked an excellent question; she got a classic response. And by the way:
AVENATTI: We wanted to see what was going to come out. We wanted to see what Michael Cohen was going to say. We wanted to see what Novartis was going to say. The same thing as it related to AT&T in the additional $600,000.
If that improbable claim isn't Barrister Bluster, we don't know what is!
Final point—why did Maddow do this? We offer a thoughtful guess:
Maddow comes from a long line of nuns. On The Rachel Maddow Show, they simply don't go for the blue stuff, Governor Bentley's sex tape to the side.
Improbable claims by the score: Here's another improbable claim Bluster has asked us to swallow. In this passage, Clifford tells Anderson Cooper why she "did" Donald J. Trump:
COOPER (3/28/18): You had dinner [with Donald J. Trump]?If you believe that improbable tale, we have a bridge to the 91st century we'd be willing to sell you, with ten percent going to Bluster.
COOPER: What happened next?
CLIFFORD: I asked him if I could use his restroom and he said, "Yes, you know, it's through those, through the bedroom, you'll see it." So I—I excused myself and I went to the restroom. You know, I was in there for a little bit and came out and he was sitting, you know, on the edge of the bed when I walked out, perched.
COOPER: And when you saw that, what went through your mind?
CLIFFORD: I realized exactly what I'd gotten myself into. And I was like, "Ugh, here we go." (LAUGH) And I just felt like maybe— (LAUGHS) It was sort of, I had it coming for making a bad decision for going to someone's room alone and I just heard the voice in my head, "Well, you put yourself in a bad situation and bad things happen, so you deserve this."
Avenatti wants you to believe that story. According to major anthropologists, if you believe that improbable tale, you also believe that Avenatti misreported those dollar figures this week because Encyclopedia Brown.
Also this: If Clifford was so scared by the threat she says she received in 2011, why was she trying to sell her story again in 2016?
Cooper forgot to ask this rather obvious question, or maybe CBS decided to edit it out. The mainstream press corps still [HEART] those accusers! Keep accusation alive!
Plus, of course, the artist's sketch! Bluster even hopes that you'll believe that, and of course it could always be true.