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Print view: Copying off Benen's paper, a darling dumbed liberals way down
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RACHEL DUMBS US DOWN! Copying off Benen’s paper, a darling dumbed liberals way down: // link // print // previous // next //
TUESDAY, MAY 10, 2011

Krugman nails the elites: We strongly recommend Paul Krugman’s column about the work of our willful elites. To read it, just click here.

Tomorrow, we’ll provide an important service! We’ll extend Krugman’s spot-on analysis to the work of our “liberal” elites over the past twenty years.

Krugman’s work has been very strong during that era. Other elites? Not so much.

RACHEL DUMBS US DOWN: Wow—just wow! The stupidification of American liberals hit a new high—or a new low—on last night’s Maddow program.

What happened was a journalistic disgrace. Such gong-show behavior can’t be good for progressive interests.

It all began as Maddow teased an upcoming segment about “the Beltway media.” She discussed a cartoon from a Virginia newspaper—a truly comical cartoon which appeared in many outlets, including Saturday’s Washington Post. The cartoon mocks those who have tried to give ex-president Bush the bulk of the credit for the killing of bin Laden.

To see the cartoon in question, click this. As she started her segment, Maddow described the cartoon. She actually got this part right:

MADDOW (5/9/11): Clay Jones is an editorial cartoonist for the Free Lance-Star newspaper in Fredericksburg, Virginia. This is his latest political cartoon I saw posted at today. In the class "foreign policy," school kid George W. Bush with giant ears gets a D-minus. And school kid Barack Obama, with different giant ears, gets an A with lots of plus signs after it.

This cartoon is post-death of bin Laden, right?

The teacher looks at the papers and says to school kid Obama, "A plus, plus, plus? You must have cheated off George!”

In the cartoon, the teacher assumes that Obama must have copied off Bush’s paper. How else could he get this thing right?

The cartoon mocks those who have tried to give Bush the bulk of the credit for bin Laden’s killing. But as she continued, Rachel said “the Beltway media” have played the killing that very same way—and she said she could prove it:

“I think Mr. Clay Jones in this political cartoon nailed the Beltway media reaction to the killing of Osama bin Laden,” the angry darling thundered. “This is exactly how the Beltway media is approaching the politics of bin Laden’s death. And I can prove it! That’s next.”

(To watch this first segment, click here.)

Maddow had made a serious charge—and she said she could prove it. Unfortunately, her next segment was one of the dumbest she has ever done—and given some of her recent work, that’s really saying something. In the process, the pseudo-liberal darling worked hard to dumb her audience down.

How stupid can it get on this program? “I will admit right off the bat this is petty,” Maddow said at the start of her next segment. “I’ll admit it. But it is also true and it has got to drive Democrats in the White House absolutely nuts.”

In fact, Maddow’s allegation wasn’t “petty” at all. Her charge was very serious—but her analysis was mindlessly stupid.

As she continued, Maddow copied off Steve Benen’s paper from Sunday, while failing to credit this source for her work. What follows is the full text of Maddow’s segment. (To watch the full segment, click this.) According to Maddow, this analysis “proves” that “the Beltway media” have been acting “exactly” like the teacher in that cartoon; they have been acting like Obama copied from Bush in last weekend’s action:

MADDOW: I will admit right off the bat this is petty. I’ll admit it. But it is also true and it has got to drive Democrats in the White House absolutely nuts.

Here it is: Republican Senator Dick Lugar; Republican former presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani; Republican former Congressman Tom Davis; the Bush administration’s CIA director, General Michael Hayden; the Bush administration’s secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice; the Bush administration’s homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff; the Bush administration’s defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld; the Bush administration’s vice president, Dick Cheney; the Bush administration’s vice president’s daughter, Liz Cheney:

The week the Obama administration announces it has killed Osama bin Laden, that’s the guest list on the Sunday morning political talk shows to talk about it!

The Sunday shows are supposedly the apex of political debate—the pulsing, throbbing heart of what’s going on in American politics. Is the biggest story in American politics right now retirees from the Bush administration and how they feel about stuff?

Plus, Dick Lugar? Honestly, this is the roster? This is Sunday morning in all of its thundering seriousness?

Now among those nine Bush administration officials and other Republican politicians, there were three outliers: Senator John Kerry; also a former White House communications director named Anita Dunn; and one current White House official, Tom Donilon, the national security adviser. So there were those three.

But the week the Obama administration announces that bin Laden is dead, the invitees to the adults table, the measure of serious and importance in Washington is three-to-one, Bush administration and Republican officials! Why is that?

Truly, that report is stunning. In an even slightly rational world, it would be hard for a person to keep her job after airing pure nonsense like that.

Let’s consider this stupid report from the perspective of a dumbed-down, misled liberal viewer.

A liberal viewer might be very angry after watching Maddow’s report. That viewer had been led to believe that the Obama administration got the shaft on Sunday morning’s programs. Almost surely, that viewer would have thought that Republican viewpoints got three times as much attention as those of the White House.

Three Democrats did appear on the Sunday programs—as “outliers,” Maddow scornfully said. That notion is utterly foolish, of course. But that angry liberal viewer would surely think it was true. Indeed, that was the entire point of this hapless report.

According to Maddow, those Sunday guest lists “have got to drive Democrats in the White House absolutely nuts.”

How dumb can Our Own Rhodes Scholar be? From watching this pathetic report, a liberal viewer would surely have thought that “one current White House official, Tom Donilon, the national security adviser” appeared on Sunday’s shows as a bit of an afterthought—as “an outlier.” That notion is utterly false. As we noted yesterday, Donilon was the featured guest on four of the five Sunday programs! (The featured guest on the fifth program was Kerry, another Democrat.)

On all four of those programs, Donilon’s segment opened the show. On all four shows, his segment was longer, sometimes much longer, than the segment which featured Republican or Bush Admin guests. Meanwhile, was the White House angry about this treatment? Obviously, Donilon was on these programs because the administration had made him available as its official spokesperson.

Was Donilon as outlier? Was he swamped by all those Republican guests? Consider one example:

By today, the full transcripts for ABC’s This Week are available. Here are the official word counts for that program’s various segments. Note the time devoted to Donilon as opposed to the time given Rice:

First segment: Interview with Obama adviser Donilon (2315 words)
Second segment: Interview with Pakistani ambassador (1531 words)
Third segment: Interview with three ABC correspondents (2141 words)
Fourth segment: Interview with Condoleezza Rice (519 words)
Fifth segment: Four-member pundit panel (2720 words)

Donilon’s “outlier” interview led the program—and it was more than four times as long as the session with Rice! But then, as we noted yesterday, Donilon got about twice as much time on CNN’s State of the Union as Lugar, the program’s Republican guest. On Meet the Press, Donilon got about twenty percent more time than a three-Republican panel.

On Face the Nation, Kerry led the program. He got about fifty percent more time than Rumsfeld, the program’s Bush Admin guest.

Maddow painted a delusional portrait of Sunday’s line-ups. Rather plainly, she had copied off Benen’s equally hopeless paper. For our report on Benen’s work, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/9/11. A few weeks ago, Rachel announced that Steve is her favorite pundit.

Each of these miserable pseudo-lib hacks deserves a failing grade for his or her work. For her rather obvious plagiarism, Maddow should visit the dean.

Let’s mention a few other minor problems with Maddow’s report:

If you watch the segment, you may hear Maddow snarking at the idea that Lugar would be a guest on one of these programs. We have no idea why she copped that attitude—except that snark is her trademark.

In fact, Lugar is one of the sanest Republicans left in the Congress. Beyond that, he is the ranking Republican on the Senate foreign relations committee; for that reason, he was a fairly obvious person to consult for the Republican viewpoint. It is the established norm within our major news shows to sample the viewpoints of both major parties. We have no idea why Maddow seemed to think that Lugar’s inclusion was strange.

Second, please note the trick Maddow played in listing those three Democratic “outliers.” She made it sound like Donilon was an afterthought, even though he was Sunday’s dominant guest. And she described Anita Dunn in this hackish manner:

“A former White House communications director named Anita Dunn.”

Sad. As every hack in the world of talk knows, the use of the dismissive term “named” is a way of suggesting that Dunn is a minor player—someone you’ve never heard of. This trick is normally employed to denigrate one’s opponents. In this case, Maddow used this formulation as a way to suggest that Dunn is an insignificant player.

We’re sorry, but that isn’t true. When Dunn served as White House communications director, she was often put on the air to represent Obama’s viewpoint—to speak for the president. Sunday, she appeared on State of the Union, countering someone named Tom Davis in a balanced, two-member panel—on the same program where Donilon got twice as much air-time as Lugar.

The dumbing-down of conservative viewers has been going on for a very long time. By way of contrast, the dumbing-down of liberal viewers is a fairly new project.

We’ve been increasingly struck, in recent weeks, by Maddow’s many clownish errors. Liberals got treated like fools last night. Have we mentioned the way The One True Channel has been aping Fox?

More to come: We postponed a report on Maddow’s devolving standards due to the release of Obama’s “long form.” We expect to do that report in the next few weeks.

For a sample, just click this. Headline: “The facts in Benton Harbor get in the way of a good story for Rachel Maddow.”

On the air, Maddow called this column “thoughtful and smart.” But wouldn’t you know it? She forgot to say what this column had said.

So it goes as this willful child finds her way to the bottom. Multimillion-dollar corporate employment tends to produce such results.