MONDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2021
More emerged Over There: We think of Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colorado) as a sober, sane, solid person.
In part for that reason, we regard his response to Friday's Rittenhouse verdict as an unfortunate sign of the times. On Friday afternoon, Rep. Crow tweeted this:
REP. CROW (11/19/21): A justice system can't fail if it was never meant to deliver justice for some people in the first place. Today's verdict is a travesty. We have to do better. My thoughts are with the family of the victims and the communities who are hiurting. You deserve reform.
The verdict was "a travesty," the sane, sober congressman said.
On Saturday morning, we saw that tweet reported on C-Span's Washington Journal. Right behind it came this tweet from Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-New York):
REP. NADLER (11/19/21): This heartbreaking verdict is a miscarriage of justice and sets a dangerous precedent which justifies federal review by DOJ. Justice cannot tolerate armed persons crossing state lines looking for trouble while people engage in First Amendment-protected protest.
To Nadler, the verdict was "heartbreaking" and "a miscarriage of justice." After all, Rittenhouse had been "looking for trouble"==and he had "cross[ed] state lines!"
It would be hard to get much dumber than that, but our tribe will continue to try. Similar tweets by two other Democratic congressmen were reported on the C-Span program.
(To see the texts of all four tweets, click here. Move ahead to the C-Span program's 24th minute.)
A jury had sat and observed all the evidence. In their infinite wisdom, Crow and Nadler knew that the verdict they'd reached had been a miscarriage, a travesty
In fairness to Nadler and Crow, many Democrats delivered such judgments in the wake of Friday's verdict. A jury had sat and observed every word—but they, in their wisdom, knew better.
Instant reactions from interest groups were often dumber and worse. That said, our tribe has, with increasing frequency, reacted to jury verdicts this way over the past ten years.
For now, let's try to be fair! In the case of Nadler and Crow, an observer can imagine that their remarks weren't meant to criticize the jury itself. Perhaps the fault lay with Wisconsin state law—or with "the justice system!"
We can imagine that they would have said, if they had been forced, that that they respected the work of the citizens who sat on the jury. That is a traditional posture, one the congressmen might have adopted, if forced.
Perhaps that's what the Democratic congressmen really meant! That said, no such posture can be attributed to Rachel Maddow, thanks to her appalling conduct during Friday's 9 P.M. hour.
During Friday evening's Maddow Show, the jury was explicitly denounced. This denunciation came as part of a longer, extremely tendentious account of the Rittenhouse trial and of the original conduct at issue.
Maddow's journalistic conduct would be hard to excuse. With respect to the work of the jury, her viewers were told this:
"No reasonable person viewing all of the evidence could conclude that Mr. Rittenhouse acted in self-defense."
What a remarkable statement! Earlier that day, twelve persons had (unanimously) ruled that Rittenhouse had acted in self-defense. Now, viewers of Maddow's program were told that no reasonable person—not as many as one of the twelve—could ever have reached such a judgment.
Briefly, let's be fair.
The remarkable statement we have quoted wasn't made by Maddow herself. In one of the slippery procedures which have come to characterize her approach to tribal journalism, Maddow never characterized the verdict herself.
Maddow didn't characterize the verdict in her own voice. Nor did she ever offer an account of the facts which were under review when the jury reached its judgment.
She never described, in her own voice, what happened on that unfortunate night in August of last year. Instead, Maddow did this:
She read a lengthy statement by the parents of Anthony Huber, one of the people who was shot and killed by Kyle Rittenhouse that night. In their lengthy presentation, they offered their (highly tendentious) account of what happened on the night of the shootings and later during the trial.
Rachel Maddow has developed into one of the most slippery and self-protective persons ever seen on "cable news." Because she's so skilled at "selling the car"—and because she's so popular within our own failing tribe—this obvious fact is rarely mentioned within the liberal world.
In this instance, Maddow was extending herself a bit of deniability. She never described any of the events in question in her own voice.
She never said what happened that night. She didn't describe or critique the trial.
Instead, she did a remarkable thing. She read a long, extremely tendentious statement by two grieving parents, while failing to comment on the accuracy of their statement's various claims.
That statement was full of highly tendentious factual claims—claims which rather plainly called for journalistic review. The statement was built around the unfortunate claim that no reasonable person could possibly have delivered the verdict the jury had unanimously done.
Such as it is, Americanism lies in the dust when corporate stars behave in such ways. Maddow has been playing such slippery games for a very long time now.
(Full disclosure: We would guess that she, as a carefully-disguised true believer, is in fact fully sincere when she behaves in such ways.)
No reasonable person viewing all of the evidence could conclude that Mr. Rittenhouse acted in self-defense! That's what Maddow's viewers were told. Rittenhouse was still being described as a murderer, despite what the jury had said.
In fact, that's the only thing Maddow's viewers were told about the judgment that jury reached. No alternate possibility, outlook or view was ever expressed.
Beyond that, the lengthy statement which Maddow read was full of highly tendentious factual claims. The giant corporate cable star questioned none of those claims.
For the record, Maddow produced a smaller though revealing snafu later in the program. She read the words of Kariann Swart, the late Joseph Rosenbaum's fiancé—and as she did, viewers were allowed to linger on a photograph of Hannah Gittings, the girl friend of the late Anthony Huber.
Maddow and her staff didn't seem to know the difference between these two women. But so it goes when propagandists feed their tribes Storyline.
(To Maddow's credit, she didn't report that Jacob Blake was shot and killed last year.)
Journalistically, Maddow's behavior on Friday night was little short of astounding. She quoted no one but deeply interested, grieving parties—and she quoted them at great length. She made no attempt to question, clarify or fact-check the various things they had said.
Her viewers were exposed to no other views. Inevitably, one of the views they heard was this:
That was a slander on the jury—but also on basic Americanism, such as it has been.
Maddow has always been highly skilled at the process known as "selling the car." Most often, she sells the tricked-out model known as The Maddow. Sometimes, she sells the larger corporate brand.
Friday night, she offered the most extreme possible views and claims available within the silo of our own failing tribe. She questioned, challenged or clarified none of these views and claims.
Tribal viewers were asked to tolerate no contradictory information and no alternate viewpoints.
As "cable news" has devolved in the past dozen years, we viewers increasingly get our "news" from one of two dueling silos. With respect to the Rittenhouse trial, we think you should know this:
People who watched Fox News were exposed to a much wider range of information than we liberals were, whether on CNN or on MSNBC. In this instance, the coverage at Fox was actually more informative than the coverage we liberals received.
Your lizard will say that can't be true. We'd say it plainly is.
In the case of the Kenosha shootings and the Rittenhouse trial, information and Storyline emerged from two dueling silos. To liberal viewers, we'll only say this:
With respect to this unfortunate case, it isn't just the false and misleading things we were persistently told. It's the many facts which got disappeared in service to Storyline.
No tribe this dumb can hope to survive. No tribe this dumb, this helpless; this desperate, this pathetic, this faux.
Tomorrow: Basic background, disappeared
At long last: At long last, MSNBC has finally posted the transcript to Friday's Maddow program.
The channel boasts an unmistakable slacker culture. You can peruse the transcript here.