Kornacki triggers jailbreak: It's one of our most frequently-asked questions:
Does it embarrass us when the accolades come rolling in, even from a wide array of international experts? When the experts say, for the ten millionth time, that our incomparable judgment has been proven right again?
Our answer, quite simply, is yes. For that reason, let's go straight to the late-night cable revolt triggered by Steve Kornacki.
First though, a bit of the same-old same-old, as performed by Jake Tapper and guests. We start with what Kirsten Powers told Tapper yesterday, just after 4:30 PM.
Yesterday's dramatics began when Kristen Soltis Anderson engaged in a standard play. She told Tapper what the FBI didn't do during "Informant-gate," as opposed to what the FBI actually did.
What they did was "not the same thing as the FBI sort of paying someone who was a senior-level campaign official working in Trump Tower," Anderson said. In this way, she helped us memorize one more thing the FBI hadn't done.
At that point, Powers jumped in, eventually saying this:
POWERS (5/25/18): It's a perfectly straightforward thing that happened. They had been warned by the FBI that they could possibly be infiltrated. So why is it so surprising that the FBI would be talking to people?What happened was "perfectly straightforward," Powers said. The FBI was just "talking to people!"
TAPPER: By Russians, you mean.
POWERS: Oh yeah, by the Russians.
To help establish her point, she executed a standard play. She didn't mention the various things which happened which weren't "straightforward" at all!
(At the start of her own remarks, Anderson had done the same thing. "It sounds like, from what we've learned, that you had a professor who contacted some of the folks in the campaign. They had some correspondence." So Anderson said, omitting the part "we've learned" in which this contact was surreptitious, with one of the "folks in the campaign" being paid $3000 to fly across the Atlantic Ocean and waste a load of his time, all under false pretenses.)
Tapper, Powers and Anderson were playing the game which has now been played for a week. They were omitting the parts of the FBI's conduct which weren't "perfectly straightforward." This let them tell you how straightforward the FBI's conduct had been!
Over on Fox News, viewers are now being shown videotape of such clownish deceptions. Quite correctly, this conduct is being ridiculed. Last night, Tucker Carlson even described this repetitive tribal bullshit as "lying," Ironically, it's one of our tribe's favorite words!
At any rate, that's what happened in yesterday's 4 PM hour. Later, just after 11 PM, a cable news jailbreak occurred.
Steve Kornacki was guest hosting, permitting Brian to head for the Hamptons one day early on his latest vacation. And it's starting to seem that Kornacki has possibly had enough of the general rolling deception.
Good God! In a question to Ken Dilanian of NBC News, Kornacki did the unthinkable. He said the FBI had contacted members of the Trump campaign "under false pretenses."
(Earlier, Kornacki has used the same phrase while guest-hosting on Hardball. This allowed Chris Matthews to get to Nantucket one day early. Internationally, experts speculated that he'd drawn the phraseology from us!)
The FBI had contacted members of the Trump campaign "under false pretenses!" To his credit, Kornacki didn't tell viewers what he meant by this astounding statement. But he referred to the FBI's "false pretenses" at two separate points as he tossed to Dilanian, and Dilanian, suitably triggered, ended up saying this:
DILANIAN (5/25/18): Actually, it is important. I think we shouldn't minimize what happened here.Can Ken Dilanian say that?
The FBI ran at least one informant at three Americans who work on a presidential campaign. That is a big deal, and it properly should be examined.
Republicans should be asking how that happened, who approved it, on what basis. But you know, knowing the way the FBI operates, and knowing the sensitivity of investigating a presidential campaign, you have to believe that that decision was approved at the highest levels, even by the attorney general of the United States...
Using murky but unflattering language, he said the FBI "ran an informant at" those three folks in the Trump campaign. Given "the sensitivity of investigating a presidential campaign," he even said that the agency's conduct should be examined!
He went on to say that the FBI had "very good reason" to do what it did. He said he was sure that the agency had "followed every procedure." After all, when has former director James B. Comey ever broken protocols?
Still and all, good lord! Kornacki actually told cable viewers that the "perfectly straightforward thing that happened," in which a professor "contacted some folks," had been done "under false pretenses!" Dilanian had then crazily said that this conduct should be examined, given the sensitivity of investigating a presidential campaign!
For the record, Dilanian got a bit more excited than we ourselves would have. It's also true that the nature of those "false pretenses" was never detailed or described.
Still, Kornacki and Dilanian had staged a cable news jailbreak. They'd inched past the apple pie version of these events, the version trusting cable viewers have been sold for a week.
Presumably, the breakaway pundits have already been summoned to dungeon-like cable classrooms for reeducation services. With their arms pulled back behind them, they've received a scolding review of last evening's DFS—their appalling Departures From Script.
On the other hand, who knows? As liberal conduct is mocked on Fox—as Trump's approvals keep inching up—maybe the bosses at our sad cable channels will decide to be a bit less dishonest about matters like this. Maybe viewers will be told what those "false pretenses" actually were when the infallible Comey the God exercised his infallible judgment.
Our liberal team has been getting killed on this endless bullshit. In the process, our favorite corporate stars have been treating us like fools every step of the way.
Last night, two breakaway pundits donned life vests and abandoned script. Earlier, Tapper, Powers and Anderson had continued to behave.
They served their viewers the tapioca demanded by tribal script. Their viewers were treated like viewers of Fox. We almost thought we heard Dylan singing, "Liberals! How does it feeeeeeel?"
A note on method: We'd like to show you fuller versions on what was said on these programs. Unfortunately, neither CNN nor MSNBC has posted its transcripts yet. This lets their employees start their holiday weekend early, but it means that we have had to do all the transcribing ourselves.
We'll only do so much of their scutwork for them. They're lazy, indolent, worthless, no good—and as you may have noticed by now, they don't even know how to win!