Welcome to the Roark Administration.
About 15 years too late, Chuck Todd's gag reflex finally kicked in for two minutes on Sunday:
"Alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods," Chuck Todd tells Pres. Trump's counselor Kellyanne Conway this morning. WATCH: pic.twitter.com/Ao005dQ13r— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) January 22, 2017
If Todd keeps this up (Spoiler: he won't) we can probably look forward Meet the Press hosted by Joe Scarborough or Hugh Hewitt, while Chuck Todd leaves to start his own podcast (Working title: "The Other David Gregory Podcast".)
Still, it was interesting to watch that vestigial journalism DNA kick in for a few moments. As Murray Slaughter once famously noted at the end of another era of fictional teevee journalism...
And speaking of Hugh Hewitt, NBC's in-house cyborg sent from the future did exactly what he was programmed to do: try to Both Sides the whole Day One train-wreck into the background and let's just move along people!
HUGH HEWITT: I believe a lot of it has to do -- and I believe in grace. Zeke Miller is a friend of mine from Time Magazine, he made a mistake. Sean Spicer made a mistake on the metro numbers yesterday. I believe in grace for both of them, and that we ought to move past this.Meanwhile, down the dial on Face the Nation, Zombie Spice walked all over affable doormat John Dickerson, lying about everything from crowd size to health care to the speed of light. Then it was time for Frank Luntz -- Republican grub worm and key player in destroying American civil society in order to advance the GOP's unholy agenda -- to weep into his beer over how uncivil Both Sides have become:
HUGH HEWITT: All right, but people make mistakes. And I just really believe that he was given bad data on the Metro. I just really believe that some poor staffer gave him a bad piece of data on the metro--
KRISTEN WELKER: But what about the pictures?
ELIANA JOHNSON: This wasn't a mistake. This is their intentional tactic and posture towards the media.
HUGH HEWITT: I'm not defending it, It was wrong.
ELIANA JOHNSON: But they don't think of it as a mistake.
HUGH HEWITT: But let's give him a little bit of grace because it's your first day...
FRANK LUNTZ, CBS NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: There are three attributes that matter more than anything else in American life, respect, civility and tolerance. And we’re not seeing much of that from anyone right now. When Donald Trump delivered his speech, he had some very powerful lines and talked about the people getting their government back. And that’s to be applauded. But there was no respect for the previous president or any of the presidents. There was no respect for people who were up there on the podium. And the next day -- I got attacked the next day, not even at the rally, by someone who called me a fascist and I won’t use the language because I don’t want to get fired. But we now believe that we can say and do anything to anyone at any time. We have lost that sense of decency. And, frankly, I don’t know how we’re going to get it back.And when Liexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more words to conquer.
Marginalizing and ignoring those who told the truth and filling their ranks with rank propagandists and grovelers like Luntz and Hewitt and Mark Halperin and Matthew Dowd and Joe Scarborough and on and on and on has been part of the Beltway's corporate strategy of feeding the monster in our midst in exchange for ratings and profits.
And now the monster has finally come to feast on them.
PS: Shortly after getting back from the local Women's March was laid low by the flu and so I am writing while still abed and goofy with fever and meds. And I can tell you, as seen through the filter of virus and narcotics, the first daze (spelling intentional) of The Bastard President and the stunned reaction of the media to behavior which should have been completely predictable to anyone with a functional memory felt like nothing so much as the fulfillment of a terrible Spice Vision from long, long ago. From me, twelve years ago (for you young 'uns, this was back before YouTube took off so embedding video was not possible.):
When in doubt, deny, deny, deny.I don’t know about where you live, but around these parts the very-salacious-for-its-time, “A Guide for a Married Man” hasn’t been re-run on teevee for a long while. I only have vague, naughty memories of it myself. A half-dozen vignettes or so. Howitzer-shell-breasted 60’s hotties in their underthings. Rampant sexism. The plot itself was pretty simple: Walter Matthau wants to cheat on his wife (the incredibly sexy Inge Stevens, which immediately destroyed any “willing suspension of disbelief” on my part) and Robert Morse teaches him how. Tactics and “strategery” both.An odd little time capsule of a movie, but one that accidentally let slip the Secret Republican Strategy for holding power.In the flick Matthau asks Morse what to do if his wife nails him with another woman.Morse says those three little words at the heart of all that is black in the Republican soul:“Deny, deny, deny.”“But what if…?”
Deny.“But suppose she walks right in and finds…?”
Deny.“Right there. In her bed. Right in front of her…?”
Deny everything. As your wife stands over your marriage bed, deny that the woman she is staring at even exists. When your wife demanded to know who this woman is as she (and you) get hurriedly dressed two feet away, just repeat “What? What are you talking about? What woman?”...To finally catch Clinton, the GOP had to set the bar for presidential behavior almost surrealistically high and then climb a mountain of bibles and crucifixes higher still and hector the American public from their aerie perched on the apex of the very tippy-topmost peak of Sanctimonious Self-Righteousness mountain range.So from this penthouse window of the Castle of High Dudgeon, if a President even looks at you funny, he should be wired up to a Special Prosecutor. And after using every thuggish tactic in the book up to and including blackmail, illegal video leaks and a 24/7 Rightwing Press Blitzkrieg, if the Special Prosecutor can’t find a fucking thing, well screw that: give him another ten million, another suitcase full of subpoenas and let him go on another fishing expedition.It made the American public sick, by wide margins. They wanted it all to stop. They wanted the Ultras to for God’s sake, stop already.But the core of the Brave, New GOP – the NeoConfederates, the brownshirts and curb stomper, the hucksters and Fundys – they don’t “do” moderation. The bitch of this litter was Newt Gingrich; they leanred at his teat, in their political mother’s milk, that compromise and collegiality are either tantamount to cowardice and weakness…of that they are simply clever, Rovian tactics to get your opponent to turn his back while you sink the knife in.So to run their grotesque farce out to its bitter end, Republicans had to pile the hubris higher still. It didn’t matter if the offense was small. It didn’t matter that the public was roundly sick of it and saw it as the all-out, rage-fueled GOP coup attempt it really was.None of that mattered, we were told. Nothing but holding the President to the highest possible standards would suffice, we were told. And it was ugly, and ruinous and divisive…so what? The GOP answered only to the noble trumpet of holding the President to the very highest possible standards of Truth, Honor and the Dignity of that high office.Nothing less would do.Fuck the filibuster: Impeachment was the REAL nuclear option…and the GOP showed absolutely no hesitation using it for short-term, partisan political advantage. But oh my, what a very dangerous game they have created.They’ve created a massive, unstable ammunition dump of their own toxic words, their own Procrustian standards of faultlessness, and now they don’t dare admit that any one of them has ever made a mistake. And to maintain the sham that they are not a Confederacy of Liars on a scale that makes Clinton on his worst day look like a candidate for sainthood, the dogma of their own perfection and infallibility has utterly supplanted fact and reason, which you must admit does fit very neatly with the preexisting Fundamentalist Delusionalism of their base.The only thing that keeps the rice-paper thin wall between their own Clinton-era rhetoric and their own Bush-era actions is sheer, brazen, unremitting denial. To even whisper the possibility that Dear Leader might be wrong about something – about anything – is to risk that the whole filthy Ponsi scheme falling apart beneath them.They can’t go back or even slow down without risking that moment of honest reflection with they fear worse than Death itself, so the are condemned to going on and on, running faster and faster, hoping somehow that they can stay ahead of the tsunami of blood and sorrow that their lies have set loose in the world.Their once proud political Party -- the Party of Lincoln for fuck's sake -- is now just another torchlit mob led by the likes of James Dobson, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. And flanked by Tom Delay and Bill Frist and their pustulent ilk on one side and a craven and neutered propaganda machine masquerading as a “Free Press” on the other, they plunge madly on, dragging all of us along deeper and deeper into darkness, shouting out their battle cry.Deny! Deny! Deny!