With lessons from the McCloskeys: We'd planned to watch the Republican convention this week, but we quickly found it unwatchable.
For that reason, on each of the last two days, we've skimmed the previous evening's events through the magic of On Demand, getting a taste of the offerings.
At the New York Times, a large group of opinion writers have been picking the best and worst moments from each night. Below, we'll post one pundit's "best moment" from last night.
First, though, a widely-cited "worst" from Monday evening:
On Monday, Kimberly Guilfoyle’s "crazed, screaming rant" seemed to be the overall choice for the evening's worst moment. Guilfoyle has been like that forever on Fox, except a bit worse in certain ways, though with the volume turned down.
After Guilfoyle, four or five pundits picked the presentation by the McCloskeys as the evening's worst moment. Wajahat Ali offered this:
My cup runneth over. The terrifying and surreal segment featuring the McCloskey couple from St. Louis was a textbook example of white supremacy. The warning? People of color are going to invade the suburbs. They pointed their guns at peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstrators and somehow think they are the victims?Our advice: Be careful what you regard as worst, unless you don't care who wins.
In our view, press coverage of the McCloskeys has been highly instructive. We've seen exactly zero attempt to report what actually happened on the day when they bore arms outside their extremely expensive St. Louis home.
Did protesters really break through a locked gate? Were the McCloskeys actually threatened? We've seen no attempt to establish even the most basic facts. Instead, the event has been a perfect example of tribal journalism, with cable stars from the two warring tribes describing the McCloskeys' experience is diametrically opposite ways.
For ourselves, we'd have to say this:
The story the McCloskeys tell is neatly reinforced, as propaganda if in no other way, by certain ongoing events from Kenosha and beyond. We don't have the slightest idea what actually happened on the day in question. But the reason why blue team members find their story impossible to swallow is because we're being spared the videotape of people being harassed as they try to eat lunch and showered with threats and verbal abuse as they try to sleep at night in their homes.
Red team members are seeing the videotape of such events on the Fox News Channel. That videotape fits perfectly with the story the McClosekys tell. We liberals don't know this because we're being sheltered from the storm by the money-grubber "cable news" stars on our own tribe's corporate "news channels."
Were the McCloskeys insulted and threatened that day? We have no idea.
Is it possible that they were? If you think the answer is no, you're being sheltered by your favorite TV stars.
That said, what was last night's best moment? Because the proceedings strike us as impossible to watch, we have no idea.
In principle, we liked what Matt LaBash said. This was his choice for best moment from last evening's program:
Whenever in Sin City, I’m typically too liquored-up, or down at blackjack, to visit the International Church of Las Vegas. But after hearing the opening prayer by its pastor, Norma Urrabazo, I might change my itinerary. She prayed for our police officers and those they’ve been in conflict with. She extolled unity, asking for reconciliation with God and each other. She prayed for all Americans, not just Republican ones. These are notes not often sounded nowadays. Here’s hoping Trump wasn’t too busy tweeting insults at “Sleepy Joe” or “MSDNC” to listen.According to LaBash, Urrabazo prayed for our police, and she prayed for our protesters. As LaBash notes, such impulses are somewhat rare at this point in time.
Judging by traditional norms, crazy behavior is being displayed by people from various warring tribes. That always happens at time of war, which tends to be bad for living things but good for cable news profits.