Two examples led to a third: People who watch cable news will occasionally be exposed to rather strange presentations.
One such presentation was made last Monday night. It was made by Chris Hayes, speaking in the aftermath of the president's trip to Arizona.
The highlighted statements made no sense at all. This happened last Monday night:
HAYES (6/29/20): It comes less than ten days after that infamous Tulsa, Oklahoma rally, where even with the arena far from full, you still had thousands of people gathered in an indoor space cheering and screaming in a city that had just seen a spike in cases and in violation of every single recommendation for safety, again, from the Trump administration's own CDC.That would be extremely bad! It really would be extremely bad if everyone tested for two straight days delivered a positive reading.
And while we never know cause and effect exactly, particularly in the moment, it's hard to figure out what the exact impact of that [Tulsa] rally looks like. Look at this:
Yesterday in Oklahoma, they tested 352 people for the coronavirus and every single test came back positive. Today, they test another 178 people and all those tests came back positive too.
Now, if you can`t do the math in your head, that's a 100 percent positive rate. That's extremely bad.
As we've noted in the past, everyone makes mistakes. That said, it made no sense to think that everyone tested in Oklahoma had tested positive for two straight days.
Obviously, that didn't make sense. It was the post-Tulsa story we wanted to hear, but it made no sense.
Two nights later, last Wednesday night, Hayes offered an explanation for this peculiar statement. On that same program, he also corrected something a guest had said on Tuesday night.
The guest had appeared as part of a special town hall about policing. That guest proceeded to make a presentation which was just totally wrong.
The guest in question was Michael Williams, president of the Memphis Police Association. We'll guess that Williams was sincere in what he said, but his presentation about police shootings was rather murky at points, and all in all totally wrong:
WILLIAMS (6/30/20): Police answered over 10 million calls last year. Out of those 10 million calls, I think you–the FBI said you had about 1,000-and-some individuals that were shot.According to Williams, only 19 white people and nine black people had been shot and killed by police in 2019. Along with the rest of his presentation, that claim was crazily wrong.
Out of that 1,000 individuals, you had 400 that were armed–or unarmed. I believe you had 19 Caucasians that were shot and killed by the police last year. You only had nine African-Americans that were killed by the police last year.
Now, don't get me wrong. Anybody that's killed needlessly, that's wrong, and it needs to be addressed. But at the same time, I think that we're definitely putting a lot of emphasis on the police when we have, in this city, 222 individuals were murdered in this city last year.
HAYES: Memphis Police Association president Michael Williams, in the city of Memphis. Thank you so much, sir. I appreciate it.
WILLIAMS: Thank you.
It certainly isn't a cable host's fault if a guest makes some wild misstatements. That said, no one corrected or challenged Williams' presentation in real time on Tuesday night.
Hayes offered a type of correction the following night, adding a somewhat odd explanation for his own wild misstatement from the Monday night program. Before he did, he tried to straighten out the wild things Williams had said.
On Monday, June 29, Hayes' statement about testing in Oklahoma had been crazily wrong. On Tuesday, June 30, Williams seemed to have no idea what he was talking about.
That said, Hayes' two-part correction on Wednesday night may have been the oddest presentation of all. Tomorrow, we'll show you what he said, starting with his correction of Williams.
On partisan cable, there are a million significant things you will never be told. Beyond that, some of the things you do get told will be crazily wrong.
Can't anyone here play this game? That's what Casey Stengel once asked. We might ask the same thing about cable news.
Tomorrow, we'll show you the rather peculiar things Hayes eventually said. In the meantime, you should be less than fully credulous when you watch cable news.
Tomorrow: The Wednesday night corrections