Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Morning Comin' Down

“Christ, what an imagination I've got“ Edition.

America's Sweetheart Chuck Todd gave noted healthcare con man Avik Roy access to vast and influential audience.


This happens often enough that one might assume Chuck Todd --

-- is deeply concerned about people who don't sling bullshit for a living being over-represented on his show.  Well I am here to tell you not to worry your purdy head, Chuck Todd: I have absolute faith that your Meet the Press panels will never suffer from an overabundance of honest brokers and tellers of truth.

And since high-powered, high-dollar operation like Meet the Press are clearly 100% cool with rolling on cracked retreads like Mr. Roy week after week, I see no reason why a dime-store nobody like me should go to all the trouble of recapitulation the internet's objections to Mr. Roy when I have a perfectly good archive available for plunder.

So let's let July, 2014 driftglass do the heavy lifting!
Anyway, one of the small and comically bizarre juxtapositions that routinely transpires under the capacious wings of the NBC peacock happens when someone on The MSNBC reports something which lays waste to the credibility of the same person who, three floors away, is being feted as Credible and Serious at by some establishmentarian testicle cozy at The NBC.

Of course the most famous examples of corporate media cogitative dissonance come every year when the Neocons are in bloom and one, teeny tiny division of the NBC corporation takes it upon itself to flay unindicted war criminals and bloodthirsty lunatics like, say, Paul Wolfowtiz, while other divisions of the same corporation dutifully fellate them, but it happens all the time.

Like, for example, the case of Avik Roy.

Mounted handsomely in the rolling disaster that is the Meet the Press video cavalcade, we find Mr. Roy being given a MTP Credibility Tuck-and-Roll: reputations reupholstered while you wait, in this case by pairing him off with actual heath care expert, Howard Dean, and calling the exchange a "debate" under the imprimatur of "NBC News".

The problem?

Avik Roy is notorious for just making shit up to score political points.

And how do we know this?

Well it was kinda all over the internet, and most of the links and analysis were collated and reported by Steve Benen at MSNBC back in 2013:
Avik Roy and the wonk gap

By Steve Benen

Among conservatives who care about substance and policy detail – not just everyday pundits and columnists, but genuine, grade-A wonks – Avik Roy has a reputation for being a pretty serious guy. He advised Mitt Romney on health care policy, for example, and has written extensively on the subject for a conservative think tank.

With this in mind, note that Roy was on “All In with Chris Hayes” last week, and as Kevin Drum noted, Roy “offered up a criticism of Social Security’s disability program that was so misleading that Michael Astrue, a former commissioner of the Social Security Administration appointed by George Bush, nearly had a heart attack on the air.”

Shortly thereafter, Roy weighed in on the latest report on California’s exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. While most of us saw the news from the Golden State as excellent news and proof that “Obamacare” implementation is proceeding apace, Roy published a remarkably dishonest piece arguing the opposite, deliberately omitting relevant details. 
The always-mild-mannered Jonathan Cohn explained in detail why Roy is plainly, demonstrably wrong, but added an important point about the larger issue.
If you want to know why we can’t have an honest debate about Obamacare, all you have to do is pay attention to some recent news from California – and the way a highly distorted version of it, by one irresponsible writer, has rippled through the conservative press.
Right. JonKrugman, and Ezra, among others, have detailed reports explaining why Avik Roy’s analysis simply doesn’t make sense – I won’t recreate the wheel here – and I hope folks will follow the links to understand the underlying policy dispute. It’s not just of a gray area; Roy is simply wrong.

But it’s the point about “why we can’t have an honest debate” that resonates with me.
Indeed, it reinforces the “wonk gap” thesis I’ve been kicking around for a while.

Remember, Avik Roy isn’t just some guy who shows up on Fox to rant and rave about “death panels”; Roy is one of the conservatives who hopes to prove that serious policy scholarship still exists on the right. He publishes content with a credible tone; he doesn’t fly off the rhetorical rails; and he genuinely understands the policy details.

But when it comes to advancing a partisan/ideological agenda, Roy is nevertheless willing to publish “Obamacare” criticisms that are transparently ridiculous.

I believe this is yet another data point that highlights the wonk gap. As Republicans become a post-policy party, even their wonks – their sharpest and most knowledgeable minds – are producing shoddy work that crumbles quickly under mild scrutiny...
Mr. Benen concludes that "[c]redible policy debates are rendered impossible, not because of the chasm between the two sides, but because only one side places a value on facts, evidence, and reason."

I would only add that credible policy debates will remain impossible as long as the credibility of people like Mr. Roy continue to be propped up by Mr. Benen's parent company.
America's Sweetheart Chuck Todd also gave Piyush "Jim Bob" Jindal (that "battered bit of old presidential timber presently warping out behind the bait shoppe")  an opportunity to dribble a basketball on his face.

And Jim Bob took it to the hole! (h/t Heather at Crooks and Liars)

Finally, Senate-never-been and Destroyer of Companies, Carly Fiorina, proves that if you're in The Club and willing to flash a little 2016 leg, Chuck Todd'll definitely ask you over to Luke Russert's parent's basement for a sloppy round of Seven Minutes in Chris Matthews' Idea of Heaven:
Oh, ouch. Ouch. Carly Fiorina, before I let you go, how serious are you about running for president?

That'll be something I consider at the right time.

So are you considering?

Well, when people ask you over and over again, you have to pause and reflect. So I'll pause and reflect at the right time.

Bathed in his currents of liquid helium, self-contained, immobile, vastly well informed by every mechanical sense: Shalmaneser.

Every now and again there passes through his circuits a pulse which carries the cybernetic equivalent of the phrase, “Christ, what an imagination I’ve got.“


Kathleen said...

So what was Chuckles "ouching"? Was the velcro on his Huggies pull ups too tight?

Neo Tuxedo said...

Tweety Matthews decided that, after Shuck had talked about world leaders posing with koalas, the show really needed him to tell an Irishman joke to liven things up. I wonder if he got a thrill up his leg telling it.

highside said...

I just woke up and realized Carly Fiorina is BOR-ING.

Neo Tuxedo said...

But her campaign ads were amazing. Demon sheep! Barbara Boxer's giant poisoned dirigible head! At least it's the entertaining kind of deranged fuckery.

Robt said...

Todd will be moved soon.
Little Like Russert is on his way to save the day............

I think it is evident that in MSNBC's endeavor to compete with the FOXY-LoXY channel. It is becoming more and more like the "F" channel.

Dave said...

I've watched the video and I don't think Avik Roy is the problem. I will admit he is a liar and misleading, but he's not the problem.

Or chuck todd. I think the problem is that these shows are basically political reality tv about personalities than something as little as informing the people.

Even if Chuck Todd and Roy were honest, I don't think I would listen to them, because it's not about facts, just two sides pushing for their own.

But this is coming from a guy who doesn't watch tv anymore, doesn't want to hear any debate about anything. I just want the truth. That's why I watch the Daily Show and the Colbert report. Even though it's stage and has a lot of jokes, i at least get honest context. The moment there's an interview, I turn it off

I find most shows to be a political jerry springer where people are just waiting for someone to throw a chair... and want us to get involve and throw chairs too.

if you're watching meet the press.. stop. If you have a friend doing it, ask them to stop. You need to say no to these drugs.