MONDAY, MARCH 20, 2023
But also, Trump in chains: Today was an especially big day on Morning Joe.
At 6 A.M., Joe and Mika were joined by one sidekick (Jonathan Lemire) and by five other guests. The eight participants shared time in an uninterrupted opening segment whose contets were captured by this chyron:
LAW ENFORCEMENT PLANS FOR POSSIBLE TRUMP INDICTMENT
The uninterrupted opening segment ran a full 35 minutes. As the eight participants struggled for time, familiar perspectives emerged.
There was no serious sign of disagreement, however minor, on any significant point. This is the shape of "cable news" in this era of tribal polarization.
In fairness, former prosecutor Chuck Rosenberg briefly questioned the standard framing surrounding one legal point in today's opening segment.
Rosenberg is one of several (admirable) legal analysts who have emerged in the past few years on blue tribe cable news program. We'll likely review what he said this morning before the week is through.
That said, this seems to be shaping up as the long-awaited "Week That Was"—the week in which Donald J. Trump will finally be indicted for an alleged crime. At this site, we'll be covering the way these events are covered by mainstream blue tribe pundits.
We'll start by returning to a cable news show which was broadcast last Friday. We refer to the broadcast of Deadline: White House, the two-hour daily program which has long been devoted to this unyielding framework:
Trump Trump Trump Trump Jail!
Tomorrow, we're going to start with last Friday's broadcast. One day earlier, an unusual thing had occurred:
The program is hosted by Nicolle Wallace, a rabid opponent of everyone and everything which might keep Trump out of prison. Her targets include Attorney General Merrick Garland, whose obvious cowardice Wallace assails on a daily basis.
Nothing matters on this popular show other than Trump Trump Jail. Having said that, dear God!
Last Thursday, one of Wallace's "favorite reporters and friends" actually seemed to dissent, if only in a theoretical way, from the standard framing of a topic concerning which Wallace has a well-established, novelized point of view.
Outrageously, this regular guest had actually seemed to suggest that he could imagine possible reasons for Garland's failure to indict Trump—for his outrageous cowardice!
The guest in question is a legal expert; Wallace, of course, is not. But when the legal expert briefly diverged from established Storyline, he was instantly rebuked for his apostasy by his less qualified host.
Just as quickly, the expert backtracked, seeming to apologize for his unseemly behavior. He tugged at his forelock as he apologized for his brief divergence from Wallace's point of view.
The next day, a wide array of standard misrepresentations were offered, all through the course of Deadline's two hours. This is the way our own blue tribe now gets scripted on such matters, by an array of "favorite reporters" and "dear, dear friends" best thought of as "Hacks Like Us."
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but the novelizations, scriptings and frameworks are well-known and unyielding. Routinely, the representations are highly selective on our own tribe's "cable news" programs.
Seldom is heard a discouraging word! Indeed, when someone introduces the tiniest bit of possible nuance, he will quickly be chastised for his divergence.
Meanwhile, this is the week when the highly disordered Donald J. Trump may finally get charged with a crime! Hacks like us hope against hope that the charge against Trump can get bumped up, by whatever manner or means, from misdemeanor to felony status.
We cast about, looking for ways the prosecutor might be able to do that. This has an unsettling resemblance to the ways of "political prosecution," but so it goes in these perilous times.
With apologies for our sour demeanor, this may finally be the week when we get to see Trump in chains! We'll follow the action in our reports. Meanwhile, full disclosure:
We'll be focused on "hacks like us!" With apologies for our feelings, we're feeling quite sour this week.
Tomorrow: For starters, a grossly selective presentation about a deeply serious charge