The way Tucker played that same card: Last evening, the crying and wailing from our youthful analysts extended through the full hour.
The cable star had started her program by "selling the car"—in this case, the company car. Tonight's debate is on NBC and MSNBC, so she spent her first five or six minutes exhorting us rubes to watch.
Her sales pitch didn't exactly make sense. Five minutes in, she said this (no transcript available):
MADDOW (2/18/20): The Democratic primaries are entering into a fascinating phase. If you haven't been paying close attention to the Democratic race yet, or if you haven't yet been trying to make up your own mind about about who you might vote for when the primaries or the caucuses in your state roll around, this would be a good time to start tuning in."Honestly," the cable star said, this is the time to start watching. As she did, she offered a sales pitch which didn't exactly make sense.
It is getting super-interesting, super-unpredictable. Honestly, you don't want to wait till after Super Tuesday to start paying attention and start thinking about your own equities in this race. A lot of these candidates are going to have their gooses cooked by then. This is the time to watch.
What was wrong with the cable star's pitch? For starters, if a lot of these candidates are going to "have their gooses cooked" after Super Tuesday, wouldn't it make better sense to start tuning in after that?
Of course, if you wait until after Super Tuesday, the primaries and caucuses will already have rolled through eighteen of the fifty states. If you live in one of those states, making up your mind wouldn't matter a whole lot after that.
The cable star skipped that point. She was transparently "selling the car"—in this case, the company vehicle. Tonight's debate will be on her owners' stations, and so she was selling it hard.
She used the word "honestly" as any salesperson would. So it goes when transparently shaky individuals are paid millions of dollars—you aren't allowed to know how many millions—to play journalists on cable TV.
As the evening proceeded, the star cut quite a few factual corners. Most horribly, she overstated what "the FBI" (that is, James Comey) had done to Candidate Clinton during the 2016 race, while failing to note the fact that her own program had aggressively taken Comey's side after the first of his two attacks on the candidate.
For several years, this cable star would periodically pose beneath a big, absurdly misleading DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS sign. In part as a result of such acts of misdirection and branding, our nation's informational system has completely fallen apart.
On last night's show, the cable star returned to a tired old topic. The bulk of her show was built around the notion that other figures should have been prosecuted and sent to prison because of that "hush money" payment to Stormy Daniels.
Funny that! Last Friday night, Tucker had played a different side of that very same card. In truth, he'd played it quite convincingly for his millions of viewers.
Uh-oh! Last Friday, Stormy Daniels' heroic lawyer had been convicted of a string of criminal offenses. This fact wasn't mentioned on Rachel's show, but Tucker played it hard.
How did Tucker play this card—the Michael Avenatti card? With the help of videotape, he recalled the way our liberal thought leaders had swooned for this transparent fraudster in the days of yore.
Question: Was anyone ever more transparently phony than Avenatti was? That said, Daniels herself was a piece of work, though our failing, flailing side was completely unable to see that.
According to Daniels, she'd had sex with The Donald on one occasion, back in 2006. This one (1) act had been completely consensual—but ten years later, she wanted to get paid.
(She could have "told her story" at any time. She was seeking cash, as an election neared.)
On Fox, viewers were eventually told, rather convincingly, that Daniels had been involved in an act of extortion. She was shaking down a candidate for a big sack of cash as Election Day neared.
That's what viewers were told on Fox, on programs hosted by Tucker. On our own ridiculous cable channel, people like Rachel never let us ponder this possibility.
Instead, within our own ridiculous tribe, Stormy became a "feminist icon," a "feminist hero." That's how ridiculous our own team now is!
Stormy wanted to get paid for one alleged act of consensual sex which had happened ten years before. Meanwhile, the lawyer who ended up selling her case on TV was so transparently reptilian, so transparently fraudulent, that he was practically wearing a sign to that effect.
That said, our failing team was by now totally tribal. Stormy was a feminist hero; Avenatti was her knight.
How bad did it get on our pseudo-progressive cable news channels? Last Friday night, Tucker rather convincingly reminded his millions of viewers.
For the record, Tucker has never referred to Avenatti by name. He calls him "Creepy Porn Lawyer."
We wouldn't call him that ourselves. But, just as a matter pf fact, he may have been the world's most obvious fraudulent man.
Last Friday night, Tucker let viewers remember these facts. First, he played tape of Avenatti's appearance on his own program back in September 2018.
On that occasion, Tucker had assailed him for exploiting his client. Tucker played some of that tape Friday night. In part, that re-aired tape went like this:
CARLSON (9/13/18): You're exploiting her and you know that. Why aren't you paying her some of what you're making?That was part of the way it went back in 2018, when Avenatti went on Tucker's program.
AVENATTI: Sir, this is absurd.
CARLSON: But it's my question. Why are you rich, and your client is working in seedy strip clubs?
AVENATTI: I am not—sir, do you have any idea how much money I've earned?
CARLSON: You're on every cable show. You're running for president!
AVENATTI: You have no idea. You have no idea.
CARLSON: Well, I know that you haven't paid your taxes. Like so many lawyers, you were taking advantage of her, and you pose as a feminist hero because you are shameless and the others let you get away with it, but you're an exploiter of a woman and you should be ashamed of it.
Last Friday night, Tucker played a longer chunk of that tape, but then he stuck the knife in. He let his viewers recall the way our own tribe's stars had lionized this transparently fraudulent man:
CARLSON (2/16/20): Just two years ago, like Napoleon before Waterloo, he was a Colossus of American public life. Cable news producers trembled when they said his name, which we have never said in the show, not one time.Jordan, Glaude and Ruhle are all major figures on MSNBC. We wouldn't assume that they "knew [Avenatti] was filthy," but they swallowed him hook, line and sinker.
They put him on television almost daily for months on end. They couldn't stop themselves. They loved him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELISE JORDAN: He's a beast.
EDDIE GLAUDE: He's a beast. He keeps popping Donald Trump and all of these folks in the mouth. Jon Meacham says he may be the savior of the republic.
STEPHANIE RUHLE: I owe Michael Avenatti an apology. For the last couple of weeks, I've been saying, "Enough already, Michael. I've seen you everywhere. What would you like to say?" I was wrong, brother.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: No, you don't owe [him] an apology. You owe America an apology for promoting a guy you knew was filthy at the time, but because he hated the same person you hate, you made him seem like a hero.
Avenatti was going to save the republic. On CNN, it got this bad:
CARLSON (2/16/20): We saved all the tape, especially this one. Here's Jeff Zucker's marionette over on CNN telling you that Creepy Porn Lawyer actually is a presidential contender.As far as we know, Brian Stelter isn;t Jeff Zucker's marionette. But Avenatti actually was being hyped as a presidential contender! That's how bad—how unbelievably stupid—it got on our own cable channels, where our informational system has thoroughly fallen apart.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN STELTER: Looking ahead to 2020, one reason why I'm taking you seriously as a contender is because of your presence on cable news.
AVENATTI: I've got 20 years of experience at a very high level. As an attorney, I understand how governmental regulations are passed, how laws are passed, how the Supreme Court works. I have an extreme depth of knowledge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
It's hard to know what was dumber—treating Daniels as a "feminist hero," or treating her transparently phony lawyer as a White House contender. But the people we trust to interpret the news aggressively purchased both notions.
Meanwhile, Rachel's show aggressively took Comey's side against Candidate Clinton when he launched his first attack on her in July 2016. As best we can tell, she's never explained why her program took that astounding approach. (Steve Kornacki was guest hosting.)
For herself, Rachel never so much as mentioned Comey's name until late October 2016, when his second attack occurred. Last night, she was overstating the number of attacks "the FBI" lodged against Clinton, even as she forgot to cop to what her own program had done.
Last night, Rachel was selling the car concerning tonight's debate. She then devoted the bulk of the program to her desire to see more people sent to prison concerning Stormy's extortion demands.
Why do millions of people think we liberals are world-class fools? In part, because we plainly are. In part, because they've watched Tucker down through the years, airing convincing segments like the one he aired Friday night.
Thing fall apart, Achebe claimed. If you doubt that, just watch Rachel on cable news any night of the week. Also, read our
tribe's thought leaders as they explain why they fell for Avenatti so hard.
Several essays of that type have emerged in the wake of Avenatti's convictions. We'll link you to those essays tomorrow, and look at some Tucker-style piffle.
Tomorrow: Tucker accepts what he's told
Links to Rachel: As we type, MSNBC has posted no transcripts for Rachel's shows since last Wednesday night.
The channel tends to function that way. It's a heavily slacker "news org."