Monday, August 29, 2016

Sunday Morning Comin' Down: This Business We Call "Show" Edition

There were a lot of terrible people getting away with saying ridiculous things on teevee this Sunday, but I have to say, Chuck Todd's "Meet the Press" was almost literally unwatchable:  a complete, abject, ass-showing capitulation to the will of the Right and the Manifesto of Both Siderism.

And this short clip of Chuck Todd I snipped from a 70 minute interview he did on "The Moment" back in June of 2015 explains why:

See, the confusion comes when people mistake Chuck Todd for a journalist.

But Chuck Todd is not a journalist.

Chuck Todd is an entertainer, as are most of the people you see dancing for paychecks at the Sunday Mouse Circus.  They are due no more deference as journalists or experts than the guy playing the title role in a high school production of "Jesus Christ, Superstar" deserves to be treated as the risen Lord.  Also, they are due no more First Amendment "free press" consideration for the product they are selling than Barnum, Bailey and his sister, Sue.

Chuck does not "interview" people, or assemble panels of experts to try to inform his audience -- that is what journalists do.  As an  entertainer, Chuck and the producers and executives who order him around cast various other performers in predetermined roles on his teevee show. So should you stumble across the excruciating sight of Chuck Todd pretending to be a journalist seated across the table from Reince Priebus pretending to have an endoskeleton, understand that you are not watching two seasoned professionals at the apex of the fields of journalism and politics respectively: you are watching two drunks thespians leaning on each other in public.

Of course, no matter what, the Prime Directive of the Beltway media is to defend the Both Siderist narrative.  It is the Hive Queen which must be protected at all costs.

So you see the problem?  Now that Trump and his Trumpshirts have come roaring out of the Konservative Klan Kloset where the GOP has kept its base stashed for decades (and right where the dirty Liberals have been telling you they were all along), it is impossible for anyone with a shred of integrity or a functional conscience to go on with this Both Siderist farce.

Fortunately, the forward-looking geniuses at Comcast/NBC didn't hire someone to as their lead rodeo clown on "Meet the Press" with a shred of integrity or a functional conscience.  Instead, they hired Chuck Todd, who damn well knows that his real job is to get the Beltway Both Siderist gravy train back on the fucking tracks immediately.

And key to this strategy is to make sure at least one seat on "Meet the Press" (and usually more) is held open for flat-out, bold-face wingnut talking point dispensing machines like Hugh Hewitt.  And because, like most conservative pundits, Hugh Hewitt does not feel normal, human emotions like shame or guilt, he is quite capable of pivoting directly from a question about Trump and immigration, to a soliloquy on how Bill and Hillary Clinton are both criminals whose arrest and trial are just around the corner:
CHUCK TODD: Has he done damage on immigration or not, Hugh?

HUGH HEWITT: No, I think he's helped himself a lot by appearing to bring more humanity to his position, especially with regards to families. It was a terrible two weeks. I think what we will hear, eight letters, F-A-R-A-F-C-P-A. Foreign Agent Registration Act, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The Clinton Foundation is in trouble, Doug Bannon. Even the former President is in trouble on these two very complex, very applicable laws.
And about the inconvenient fact that Donald Trump just picked the publisher of the most nakedly racist, lied-riddled rag in the country?
HUGH HEWITT: But I will say this, for every Steve Bannon and Breitbart and there is a David Brock and Media Matters; for every Ann Coulter, there's a Michael Moore; for every single Milo there's a Maher. And so, there's a reflection--

CHUCK TODD: I think we as discussed, we may be one oppo drop away from Bannon not being a part of this campaign.

HUGH HEWITT: Very possibly. I will point out, though, that Secretary Clinton carries more baggage than Marley's ghost--

CHUCK TODD:Well I want to transition to that--

HUGH HEWITT: And one of those is Sidney Blumenthal. So if you want to talk about toxic people following around in the wake of a candidate, let's hone in on Sidney Blumenthal and the Clinton gang from the '90s, more baggage than Marley's ghost. I mean, that's why she--
Of course, since the mission this week was to get the Both Sides gravy train back on track, Chuck Todd quickly scuttled away from talk of Donald the Bigot to balance out the Beltway scales with Fake Clinton Foundation Scandal:
ANDREA MITCHELL: So it is going to be a slow wind down, it's not going to be wound down, by the time if she's elected and takes over.

HUGH HEWITT:But that's not an excuse for breaking the law.

ANDREA MITCHELL: I'm not saying that's an excuse.

JOY-ANN REID:What law was broken?

ANDREA MITCHELL:There is no law.

HUGH HEWITT: The quo and quid pro quo is the meeting and you cannot set up meetings on behalf of--
Of course if you care even a little bit about this future of this country, watching this freak show can be 57 different kinds of maddening, especially if you supplement Hugh Hewitt's abbreviated lies on "Meet the Press" with a longer, unabridged version of those same lies on "AM Joy" that same day. 

And while it was entertaining to see Mr. Hewitt very nearly side-eyed to death by the rest of the panel, since Mr. Hewitt does not feel human emotions like remorse or guilt, he was unperturbed as he ran though his a  flat-out, Soviet-style denial that anything untoward or racist had ever gone on in the Republican Party during the entire time he had been a member (since 1968) and -- once again -- Breitbart's Steve Bannon running the Trump campaign is exactly the same as Media Matters, Ann Coulter is exactly the same as Michael Moore, and also too, Sidney Blumenthal!  (h/t Crooks and Liars):

But if you are frustrated or saddened by this wretched spectacle because you are worried that it will corrupt national political journalism beyond repair, well I have some good news, and I have some bad news.

Good news, you are not watching the death of honest national political journalism because, bad news, honest national political journalism died years ago.  What you are watching is a puppet show, scripted and staged to look like "news" by morally bankrupt bean counters who you will never see on camera, for the purpose of pulling the highest ratings possible while protecting the only asset the Beltway has left: its holy and inviolable dogma of Both Sides.

Which is why, in the end, Robert Costa was tapped to bring everyone back to where this miserable shitwagon was headed all along:
ROBERT COSTA:  You got 75 days left. Is it about the Clinton campaign and the foundation or is it about the Alt Right and Trump?

CHUCK TODD: Great closing point, we'll pause it there.

ANDREA MITCHELL: A pox on both your house.

CHUCK TODD:  There it is...
There is is indeed.


bowtiejack said...

Great stuff.
Great find on the audio clip too, especially where the Toddster lets the cat out of the bag about "... it all started when the news division had to become an independent profit center on its own" [or words to that effect].
We'll just pass over the public service obligation supposedly tied to their use of the public spectrum. And thank goodness we still have profit-making news divisions, because once they learn the money to be made in porn instead you know what's gonna happen. "Free market!"

And, not to be a bore, let me just drop my favorite quote in here one more time:
"As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in?"
Alexis de Tocqueville
Letter to Ernest de Chabrol, June 9, 1831

Rehctaw said...

In the "Race to the bottom" roundtable, Shucky encapsulated his ethos.
"We live in a post-truth world." Ignoring his own contribution to our arrival in such a hellish place. Hugh Hewitt, Ms. Alan Greenspan and Robert Costas may have mouthed an AMEN! It's hard to tell from the video...

Jim Butts said...

I love this, Driftglass. And at the same time I'm saddened by its truth. I read you everyday. And I tried donating via Paypal but it doesn't accept the type of debit card I have. (I gave up credit cards long ago.) I also listen to the podcast every week. The view from the cornfield is right on. Thanks.

Andrew Harris said...

I'm not sure, and I may be biased here, that it's even possible to find Coulter et al's equal on the left. Chomsky doesn't even begin to reach their levels of insanity and bat-shit-craziness, yet I doubt I'll ever see him on television. Now maybe this has a little to do with him not firmly representing any of the two parties, but since when did that stop them. So I'm not only denying that there are 'equals' on the left, I'm also denying that it's even possible for the left to host them in the first place. But sure, both sides. Ugh.

Jimbo said...

I would probably have destroyed our TV set, just sayin', so good thing I didn't watch. But it's pretty clear that Hewitt was hired to be the campaign junk yard dog for the Toddler's wretched excuse for a TV show and that come 13 November, he will be shitcanned. Considering how long Andrea Mitchell has been a TV "reporter", she is astonishingly and ludicrously ignorant.

bowtiejack said...

One more word on the concept of "maximizing profit by making every division a profit center".

In the early 60's American Express had a small division engaged in financing warehouse receipts. It was a very pedestrian, but steadily profitable business making a couple of million annually in 2016 dollars (hey, maybe not unlike the old-timey news division of a network!).
Then the genius president of American Express decided each and every division of AmEx had to make the 2016 equivalent of at least $10 million in profit every year. This was a real stretch for the warehouse receipts people simply because of the nature of the very profitable, but small, warehouse receipts business. In order to make their numbers, the warehouse receipts people became more, uh, accommodating to their customers, especially their biggest customer, one Tino de Angelis.

Here's how that turned out:
SPOILER ALERT: by the denouement Tino de Angelis had warehouse receipts for more vegetable oil than actually existed and AmEx ended up having to make good on the fraudulent contracts it had certified!

trgahan said...

Funny how the Left's version of Brietbart's/Anne Coulter's/Milo/etc don't get to go on primetime cable or network news along with the Southern Avenger to prove the Both Siderists thesis once and for all.

Seems like, if indeed real, it would be an easy enough thing to do...

Oh wait....pre-2008 they did have people like Moore, Maher, and Stewart on and they made people like Todd, Hewitt, Reid, and Mitchell look like the ignorant, right wing propaganda-spewing whores and the Bush administration looks even worse....can't have that.

I honestly don't think the change in "news" had anything to do with profit and everything to do with making sure the only conversation in the Public Square is Republicans talking to Republicans in order to preserve illusions about the social political make up of the electorate and that electorate's expectations of government.

Mr.Shemp said...

Brother Charlie Pierce just linked to this article a few minutes ago from Esquire:

Of course, I had already read it since you are my first stop every morning when I fire up my laptop. Keep on keeping on, brother!

RUKidding said...

When the M$M starts having for-real leftist voices on their stupid shows, then we can talk about "both sides." In all versions of the M$M what we mostly see is ONE Side decrying BOTH sides, who allegedly "do the same thing" but in different ways - and 99.9% of the time the real message is that the so-called "leftwing" side is far far far WORSE than anything on the right, no matter what.

Mrs. Allen Greenspan can stick it where the sun don't shine. She and her husband have done more damage to this country than almost any other political power couple out there. A frickin giant POX on all of her houses (as I'm almost sure that she owns several).

As soon the M$M starts to have a very few truly left voices on their programs or in their print media, they get scrubbed out very quickly or they're tamed down and have a leash and muzzle put on them so they STFU pretty quickly.

I know many didn't like Keith Olbermann, and he could be very bombastic. Nonetheless, Olbermann did speak the truth, and he backed things up by actions, such as sponsoring health fairs for poor citizens to show up and get health care. But the PTB put a muzzle on Olbermann. Love him or hate him, he spoke the truth but got shit-canned for it. When was the last time someone on the right got shit-canned in a similar way?

Jon Stewart lasted as long as he did because he played court jester and could be mocked and derided, if need be. We certainly don't see Stewart or Michael Moore - equally mocked and derided on a routine basis - on the Sunday (or other) shows.

Whether it's for profit$ or just to have constant & only rightwing talking points thrown out there, we are given shit in the M$M, and most of it utterly false and often depraved.

There are many issues with the Clintons, but the dissembling going on in the name of somehow making Trump look "better" by comparison is not just odious and disgusting. Frankly, it's setting an ever more dangerous precedent. I think we'll pull this one off, and Trump will go down in defeat. But who comes next? And what even more disgusting stories will that person have to sell to credulous, overly propagandized deluded citizens?

As you indicate, Driftglass, these disgusting specimans, like Todd, Hewitt, Greenspan and their ilk are collaborators in promoting fascism in the USA.

Unknown said...

PAID facilitators of fascism. For some inscrutable reason, The Soros Continuum did NOT send me, Mr. Driftglass, or a thousand other lesser points of light, a honkin' fat muthafuckin' check this week to , let's say, keep on fighting the good fight while paying the rent and putting gas in the car. Never mind paying for a vacation to Burning Man to ride a decrepit motorcycle 130 mph across the scorched plain with two almost naked women clinging on and screaming for the scary joy of it...Sorry. Got carried away with the thought of those SorosBux.

stratocruiser said...

Heard Cokie Roberts on NPR this morning. Paraphrasing; "People are upset that the government doesn't work any more. The Congress couldn't pass a bill to help in the fight against Zika. Both sides are to blame."