MADDOW AND TOWN: The Morning Joe gang was playing the fool!


The things we can't hear in Our Town: We were visited by Plato last night, or by someone presenting as same. Incongruously, this being carried a Xeroxed copy of Plato's Seventh Letter.

We've mentioned the famous document several times in the past. Below, you see the section we've commonly cited. 

Alas! When Plato was still a young man, Athens' democracy was overthrown. Many years later, he recalled the way he reacted:

PLATO: The existing constitution, which was subject to widespread criticism, was overthrown...and a committee of Thirty given supreme power. As it happened some of them were friends and relations of mine and they at once invited me to join them, as if it were the natural thing for me to do. 

My feelings were what were to be expected in a young man: I thought they were going to reform society and rule justly, and so I watched their proceedings with deep interest. I found that they soon made the earlier regime look like a golden age. 

Among other things they tried to incriminate my old friend Socrates, whom I should not hesitate to call the most upright man then living, by sending him, with others, to arrest a fellow-citizen, and bring him forcibly to execution; Socrates refused, and risked everything rather than make himself a party to their wickedness. When I saw all this, and other things as bad, I was disgusted and withdrew from the wickedness of the times.

The Athenian democracy was soon restored, but Socrates was brought to trial on “a monstrous charge.” 

The execution of Socrates pretty much finished off Plato too. “The more closely I studied the politicians and the laws and customs of the day, and the older I grew, the more difficult it seemed to me to govern rightly,” Plato later recalled. 

As a young man, Plato had been disgusted by "the wickedness of the times."  We thought again of that famous letter as we watched the start of today's Morning Joe.

We'll have to admit that we also thought of the widely-cited "banality of evil." 

In the program's first fifteen minutes, the Morning Joe gang offered a thoroughly banal account of the traffic stop which resulted in last Sunday's death of Daunte Wright.

There was little sign that this fatuous gang had any real idea what they were talking about. To appearances, they were building melodrama and speaking from script, as is their normal practice.

Joe marveled at the crazy idea that "three police officers were approaching anyone on the basis of an expired license plate." At that point, the New York Times' Mara Gay stepped in to support Joe's vacuous narrative. 

As always, Willie quickly chimed in, repeating the things he'd heard. Hs there ever been a more reliable yes-man? He's Our Town's version of Pence!

It was the banality of this exchange which evoked the "wickedness" of that earlier era.  Very frankly, we thought of Vladimir Putin's many wins—of the likelihood that the autocrats really may score an overall win over our own failing system.

(We refer to the ongoing, existential battle to which President Biden has been alluding of late.)

The ongoing collapse of our failing system was captured by the banal performance of the Morning Joe gang. We compared their banal presentation to the backgrounds facts of this deeply unfortunate matter—to the basic background information which has begun to emerge.

We aren't being told about these facts here in the streets of Our Town.  Along with many others, Joe and Willie and Mika and Mara have been handing us the latest version of a story we very much like.

To what background facts do we refer? Consider the detailed report of those facts at the well-known site,

Snopes is not a conservative site. Jessica Lee, who fact-checked this matter for Snopes, is a bit of a left-leaning propagandist.

That said, Lee did substantial fact-checking for the fact-check site concerning the arrest, and the death, of Wright. Once you fight your way through her early bursts of propaganda, you start to encounter the background information to which you won't be exposed in Our Town.

They're hearing about it over on Fox. You just can't hear it here.

Why did Brooklyn Park police pull Wright over that day? That still isn't fully clear. But as Lee performs her fact-checking duties, it does become fairly clear why police were attempting to detain him right before he broke away and attempted to flee.

Even this morning, the Morning Joe gang soaked that decision by the police in oceans of sarcasm / ridicule. As Lee quotes and describes the basic court records, the background to Sunday's attempted arrest starts here:

LEE (4/14/21): Using Minnesota’s online database of court records, we obtained a probable-cause statement outlining law-enforcement’s accusations against Wright, including allegations that he choked and threatened a woman with a handgun while robbing her.

According to that document, he and a high school friend went over to an apartment in Osseo (a neighboring suburb to...Brooklyn Center), to party one night in December 2019. At the end of the hangout, around 2:30 a.m., the young men supposedly could not find a ride home, so two women who lived in the home allowed them to sleep on the floor.

The next morning, after one of the women left for work, her roommate told authorities that Wright blocked the apartment’s exit, pulled out a handgun, and demanded that she hand over $820 in cash, the statement alleged. She supposedly had the money to pay rent. The document continued:

The $820 cash was tucked in the VICTIM’s bra and DEFENDANT WRIGHT placed his hand around VICTIM’s neck and choked her while trying to pull the cash out from under her bra. […] DEFENDANT WRIGHT then told her that he would shoot her and said “Give me the money and we will go”. DEFENDANT WRIGHT then tried to choke VICTIM a second time and tried to take her money.

After an unknown amount of time passed, the female victim identified Wright and his friend as the alleged perpetrators by looking at photograph line-ups, according to the complaint.

At present, these are all allegations—claims. But according to Snopes, that's where the story begins—and Lee is quoting court documents.

Already, we're in a different world, as compared to the innocuous craftings we're handed here in Our Town. Our spotless minds are being shielded from unpleasant information like this—from information which helps explain why police were attempting to detain Wright last Sunday. 

Lee has described how the story began. As she continues, she explains where the story went next:

LEE: [O]n Dec. 4, 2019, authorities indeed filed paperwork to issue a warrant for his arrest for the alleged robbery in Osseo. But, about two days later, law enforcement fulfilled that warrant; they arrested Wright and his friend. Wright quickly posted bond, as outlined via the documentation displayed below, and agreed to follow the court’s orders so he could leave jail.

[Photocopy of court document is presented]

Then, the following summer, officers with the neighboring Minneapolis Police Department cited Wright for carrying a pistol without a permit and trying to evade their directions (both misdemeanor offenses), the records showed. 

"For trying to evade their directions?" At that point, Lee provides a photocopy of the statement of probable cause describing Wright's behavior during this later incident.

According to that statement, Minneapolis police had received "a gun call" about a light-complexioned 17-year-old black male who had been "waving a gun around" and had then driven away. When the officers located the car the caller had described, it was determined that Wright was the person with the gun, but he ran away, thereby evading arrest.

Those are all allegations—claims. That said, Lee continues from there:

LEE: Because those alleged infractions violated the terms of his jail release mentioned above (and his probation officer said he stopped checking in, per the documents), Wright was detained again and released on bond in September 2020.

Then, just weeks before his death, Wright did not show up for his first court appearance on April 2 to discuss his alleged offenses in Minneapolis. It was unknown why Wright missed the court hearing.

In response to that absence, a judge issued another order for his arrest, and that was the active warrant (displayed below) when Brooklyn Center police ran his name through their background software moments before killing him.

A born propagandist, Lee works in one last shot in the last two words we've posted. That said, she had presented a large amount of background information—information you aren't allowed to know about here in Our Town.

The allegations about Wright are all, of course. allegations. At issue is the ugly, stupid, disgraceful clowning by Scarborough, Gay and Geist on this morning's spectacularly banal TV show.

As you follow the news orgs here in Our Town, you will be handed a pleasing story in which Brooklyn Park police inexplicably stopped and tried to detain Wright because of his several air fresheners. This is the latest stupid story we've been fed, in the last ten years, about events of this type.

You won't be told about the court documents to which the officers were reacting that day. By general agreement of the guild, our spotless minds will be protected from any such complexities.

Plato was repulsed by the "wickedness" he saw around him. We'll suggest that all of us who live in Our Town are drowning in a sea of banality which may be just as destructive and ugly.

We're being told a ridiculous story by the overpaid, corporate-owned children at our "cable news" channels. In the process, we're receiving the "background information" our spotless minds want to hear.

Because our spotless minds are so weak, let us state one point. No one is saying that Wright should have been shot last Sunday.

No one is saying that, not even the shooter! Despite this blindingly obvious fact, the idiots who appear on our "cable news" channels keep setting that straw man up, then heroically knocking it down. Again and again, our "cable news" stars are astoundingly faux and/or dumb.

The silly story we're being told is designed to skew our understanding of what happened last Sunday. It's designed to skew our understanding of why Wright was being detained when he broke free and was about to drive away.

We're being handed a stupidly sanitized version of what happened. Our Town's news orgs have been working from this general template for the past many years—certainly so in the case of police shooting deaths.

People who watch the Fox News Channel are being told that this repellent gong-show is being performed in Our Town. We ourselves are the only ones who are kept in the dark!

There is no way a modern nation can survive the practiced tribal banality of these Morning Joe / Anderson Cooper days. Meanwhile, the embattled Rachel has been on her best behavior this week.

She's been on her best behavior. The weeks of clowning have stopped.

She's also been avoiding, as always. It's been that way from the start.

Tomorrow: Why do we put up with this? Rachel Maddow's disgraceful clowning over the past several weeks


  1. "...and demanded that she hand over $820 in cash"

    It's curious that all your cult's saints are the same: lowlifes committing violent crimes (yeah, sure, this one allegedly), resisting arrest, dying in the process.

    Role models you worship. Don't forget to bend your knee, dear Bob.

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  2. "We'll have to admit that we also thought of the widely-cited "banality of evil."

    The term "The banality of evil" comes from a book title: Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil by Hannah Arendt. It is about the work of Eichmann during the Third Reich, as the principle administrator responsible for carrying out various atrocities under Hitler.

    That phrase and the book it came from have nothing to do with anything Somerby is discussing today, nor does it apply to the Plato quote it follows. The phrase "banality of evil" is more than just about evil. The word "banality
    implies that evil can be embodied in the mundane everyday procedures and rules of a regime, such as Hitler's. It certainly doesn't apply to the stalking and execution of political enemies described by Plato, or to Socrates later trial.

    Somerby does this. He fixates on a single word in a famous quote or title and ignores the entire context in which that word occurs. He ignores the overall meaning of the phrase he is stealing from. He borrows a famous book title in order to give weight to his own meanderings, when that borrowing is irrelevant to his own discussion.

    I've read Arendt's book and followed the controversies about it. I'll bet Somerby hasn't.

  3. "Hs [sic] there ever been a more reliable yes-man? He's Our Town's version of Pence!"

    Ironically, Pence was one of the few Trump stooges to stand up to him. His behavior on 1/6 shows him to be far from a yes man when it came to his constitutional duty.

  4. "It was the banality of this exchange which evoked the "wickedness" of that earlier era."

    First, Plato's time was not banal, no matter how evil it may have been in Plato's eyes. Second, the banality of Eichmann's work making the trains to Auschwitz run on time has nothing to do with these journalists discussing the execution of yet another black motorist.

    I don't think Somerby knows what the word "banal" means. Definition: "so lacking in originality as to be obvious and boring."

    Should these cable pundits get creative when describing the circumstances of a traffic stop? I don't think so. It might be right to describe yet another shooting as having become banal, but the word doesn't work to describe the reporters giving the facts (as they understand them) about that case.

    1. Thank you for sharing this interpretation.

  5. "The allegations about Wright are all, of course. allegations."

    Even if every single one of these allegations were true, would it justify killing Wright? If the answer to that is "no," then there is no point in listing those allegations. This is why details about the victim of a crime are routinely excluded from trial of the perpetrator.

    No matter who they are stopping or trying to arrest, police are not supposed to shoot suspects. When they shoot someone they act as judge, jury and executioner of someone whose crimes, even if guilty, would not warrant that harsh a sentence.

    That's why liberals do not care about the "background" that Somerby wants cable hosts to highlight. It is irrelevant. Somerby wants to defend this cop by smearing the victim. I'm fairly certain that Plato would find that despicable.

    1. It's hard sometimes when people don't think as we do. I feel your pain.

    2. Do you also understand my point?

    3. I'm sorry to say I do not but that doesn't mean it is not accurate.

    4. The point is that the allegations may have had something to do with the what happened after the stop. If Wright had had no warrant out for his arrest, the cops may have acted differently. They would likely not have tried to arrest him, and he then may not have resisted arrest, as he apparently did.

    5. Thank you for explaining that and adding so much to this discussion. I appreciate your passion and efforts.

    6. anon 1:34, no one is saying killing Wright was "justified." That's a red herring. The opinions range from intentional racist murder to an innocent mistake. She is being charged with manslaughter. What's not clear, even from the Snopes site, is what knowledge the cops had of the reason for the outstanding warrant. If all the things Wright was charged with - the robbery of that woman, if true, sounds pretty gruesome - the cop would have more justification for sensing that Wright was dangerous. TDH is faulting the woke media for downplaying or erasing the reason for the attempted arrest after the stop. It does seem that the genesis of the warrant was the alleged incident where he allegedly robbed that woman - a very serious crime, almost seems the system was lenient toward him, letting out on bail - but there is surely more to the story.

    7. AC/MA, the woman identified Wright from pictures, which suggests that she didn't know him personally despite the robber's attendance at that party. She could have been mistaken about Wright and if so, he would be an innocent party being treated like a potentially dangerous criminal. (Eyewitness IDs are notoriously unreliable and can be biased by the manner in which the police present the pictures.) Where is the justification for shooting an innocent, wrongly accused man during a traffic stop and attempted arrest? The seriousness of the warrant only works as an explanation if you assume Wright was guilty of the previous crime.

      Wright is 20. He may not understand about defense lawyers or public defenders, about court dates. He may not have known there was a warrant out for him. He may not have known what to do about the accusations against him.

      Somerby is a big fan of treating people as innocent until they have their day in court. Why not now?

    8. I'd be surprised if Wright didn't know about the "police work" of the Brooklyn Center police, which is probably why he felt his life was threatened from the git go.
      Let's wait until the complete investigation of the shooting and backgrounds of, Wright, the police officer, and the Brooklyn Center Police Department are completed to form any opinions.

  6. "you will be handed a pleasing story in which Brooklyn Park police inexplicably stopped and tried to detain Wright because of his several air fresheners."

    CNN says:

    "Moments before police fatally shot Daunte Wright during a traffic stop Sunday in a Minneapolis suburb, he called his mother and told her he'd been pulled over for hanging air fresheners from his rearview mirror.

    It's not clear how much of a role the air fresheners played in the traffic stop. Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon told reporters Monday that Wright was originally pulled over for an expired tag and that when officers approached his car, they saw an item hanging from the rearview mirror."
    Somerby himself says that the reasons for the traffic stop were "not clear." On what basis can he then claim that the air fresheners were not the excuse for the stop?

  7. 'No one is saying that Wright should have been shot last Sunday.'

    Except that's exactly what Somerby is saying implicitly. What a scumbag.

  8. Dear Bob Somerby,
    Kindly refrain from forming any opinion or reporting on anything until the entire investigation, including the history of the shooting officer and all civilian complaints made against the Brooklyn Center Police Department is completed.


    Bob Somerby earlier this week.

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