Via Newsbusters, the objection will be raised that 99 percent of the crazy here is an artifact of editing.
Is it? Granted, anyone would sound nuts if you stitched together footage of them saying the same word in 15 different contexts.
But ask yourself: How many times in your entire life have you said the word “smelter”?
Before we acquit Maddow of the charge of having been driven clinically insane by Russiagate paranoia, read Willa Paskin writing at the not-very-right-wing Slate.
The Howard Bealeization, or Glenn Beckifaction, of Rachel Maddow is a reminder that partisan paranoia has bipartisan appeal. Maddow is right to question the summarizing of a 300ish-page report into four measly pages, to insist on transparency, to challenge the motives of the Trump-friendly AG—and she’s not alone in doing so. But for Maddow, every piece of information remains a clue that might take down the Trump empire. There is no adjustment for how the report has been widely received, no skepticism about what the report might actually contain, just cockamamie connections, the feverish belief that every single thing we don’t know is the all-important fact, that the smoking gun of collusion is out there, and that, yes, Robert Mueller is still going to swoop in and save us…
I’ll admit that I haven’t watched Maddow regularly for the past few years. Turning on her show this week was like discovering a Facebook friend is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. She looks the same as she did, she even sounds the same, but 15 minutes into a conspiratorial rant with no sense of proportion or, honestly, responsibility, you realize that something has gone wildly wrong: She wants to believe the instantly impeachable truth is out there more than she wants the truth, as gnarly and corrupt as it is. It’s easy to understand why this might appeal to the 4 million or so Trump-sick viewers who regularly watch Maddow’s program, but her audience is being served an alt-reality just as surely as Hannity’s is. If her audience of susceptible ostriches and amateur detectives, people who bury themselves in conspiratorial details hoping to unearth the one clue that will beam us out of this reality, is not as malignant as Fox’s audience of the hateful, aggrieved, and ignorant, in this one regard at least, what’s happening between MSNBC and Fox is not a contest: More than one cable news host can disserve their audience at a time.
Lotta hype in the news this past week about the bottom falling out of Maddow’s ratings. I’m surprised by the extent of her losses in the first few days after Bill Barr issued his summary of Mueller’s report: Maddow was the highest-rated news program in all of cable among the 25-54 demographic in the first quarter of this year, averaging more than three million viewers overall per night, but roughly 25 percent of her audience went up in smoke instantly after Barr’s letter to Congress was published. That can’t last, though. If Mueller really had exonerated Trump on everything — not only no collusion *and* no obstruction but not even an arguable case for either — then she really might be sunk. As it is, she’s destined for a rebound once the redacted report is issued. By no means have lefties given up the ghost on Trump and Russia-related wrongdoing, and there are destined to be all sorts of greater or lesser negative findings about Trump in the report that Maddow can exploit. Democrats hungry to hear how the report actually proves Trump was guilty all along will beat a path to her door once it’s released a few weeks from now.
It’s a cinch that she’ll conclude the report provides enough evidence against Trump to justify impeachment, whatever the bottom-line determinations might be. The only mystery is whether she’ll continue to treat Mueller as a hero or reposition him as a sort of villain, a man who lacked the brains to find collusion hiding in plain sight or who lacked the nerve to accuse the president despite the fact that he had probable cause to do so. Stay tuned.