SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2022
But first, no transcripts this year: As of this morning, we're in the eighth day of the new year—except at MSNBC.
At MSNBC, it's still New Year's Eve! We can't tell you why that is.
You can peruse the evidence here. Our link takes you to the "liberal" channel's transcript site. As of 9 o'clock this morning, the most recent transcripts dated from December 31, 2021.
Why has The One True Channel begun withholding its transcripts (again)? We can't tell you that. But the conduct is part of the passing parade—part of the ongoing tragicomedy known as the human pageant.
For the record, MSNBC is a giant corporate venture. Indeed, the "MS" in its name refers to Microsoft—one of its original founders.
Today, the channel "is owned by the NBCUniversal News Group division of NBCUniversal (a subsidiary of Comcast)." Or so the leading authority on MSNBC says.
The channel can afford to produce transcripts of its various "cable news" shows. Periodically, though, the channel decides to stop doing so, for reasons which go unannounced.
Other news channels and other news show do provide prompt transcripts. CNN produces error-riddled transcripts of all its shows, and does so on a timely basis. News programs like The PBS NewsHour produce transcripts which are more carefully prepared.
When MSNBC does transcribe its shows, it doesn't waste its time, or reduce its profit margins, by proofreading such documents. Still, the practice allows the public to review what the channel's various multimillionaire TV stars have said and done on the air.
Powerful people often don't like transparency of that type. This may explain the unpredictable way this frequently clownlike "cable news" channel decides to provide, then decides to withdraw, this basic journalistic service.
At any rate, at this corporate "cable news" giant, it's still late last year! The clowning never stops at this heavily scripted channel, where you'll only hear the statements and claims your lizard brain most prefers.
It's a reliably slacker operation. It's not as bad as Fox, we tend to say—but then again, nobody is!
Also, protecting the powerful: When Ted Koppel spoke with a trolley car full of tourists last June, he encountered a major national problem:
All across our "democratized" media, powerful interests have been spreading misinformation—and tens of millions of regular people believe the false and misleading claims they hear. So it was with Koppel's interview subjects, who believed all sorts of discredited claims about the 2020 election.
That said, who would you say is more at fault in this destructive process? Is it the powerful people and powerful interests who peddle misinformation and disinformation? Or is it the regular people who don't know that they're being misled?
Who's more at fault in this deadly dance—the people or the powerful? Adjusting for issues of mental illness and cognitive failure, the answer strikes us as fairly obvious. That's why we were surprised by William Saletan's recent essay at Slate, which appears beneath these headlines:
The Real Threat to American Democracy
It’s not Republican politicians. It’s their conspiracy-addled voters.
Say what? We're supposed to blame the regular people, not the vastly better-informed Republican politicians?
Surely that can't be what Saletan said! And yet, he started his essay like this:
SALETAN (1/5/22): Republican politicians have spent the year since Jan. 6, 2021, working to undermine democracy and the rule of law. They’ve condoned or ignored Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election, purged colleagues who spoke the truth, and tried to cripple the House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol. But beneath this corruption lies a deeper problem: a toxic GOP electorate. Republican politicians are entertaining the lies, ousting the truth-tellers, and sabotaging the investigation because that’s what their voters want. It’s the surest way to survive a Republican primary.
Please don't blame the Republican pols! Those voters leave them no choice! Indeed, those voters are "toxic!"
We met Bill Saletan, on at least one occasion, a long time ago. Obviously, he's a good, decent person. That said, we're all human.
Everybody makes mistakes—and the desire to loathe The Others is bred deep in the human bone. At times of tribal division like these, the desire to demonize and loathe runs especially strong.
For the record, regular people have been misled all through the annals of human history. In the present day, regular people get misled by "cable news" stars (and contributors) all the time—but also by hugely powerful people like the baldly disordered Donald J. Trump.
The reason we have an FDA is because of this well-known fact. By Saletan's reckoning, we shouldn't blame the people who create and sell phony prescription drugs or engage in dangerous practices in the production of food. The real problem lies with the people who buy and ingest their products!
These are very difficult times, and we all make mistakes. But the desire to demonize and loathe Others is strong. According to leading major top experts, that blood runs in all our veins.
Few Einsteins found around here: While you're at Slate, you can also ponder this:
Increasingly, it's the kind of fare they produce at Slate in order to keep up self-impressed liberal geniuses coming back.
We liberals have always believed that we're the smart, decent people. The Others are all made out of ticky-tacky, and they all look just the same!