Here is a delicious clip so rich that it will necessitate a cognac just to digest. For a cable news channel host who spent the better part of the last 16 months handwringing over lane closures on the George Washington Bridge and indulging in fanciful scenarios that might implicate Chris Christie in that inconvenience, Rachel Maddow scolding the media for poor reporting on Hillary Clinton is perhaps a bit too dense with contrariety to absorb in one sitting.
Maddow opened a segment with fellow MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell by suggesting that there was some manner of hypocrisy or contradiction in the fact that both Benghazi Committee members Reps. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and Trey Gowdy (R-SC) have no interest in Hillary Clinton’s yoga routine or her daughter’s wedding plans, but that Gowdy wants access to Clinton’s “homebrew” server to make sure Clinton is being honest. “It’s never going to happen,” Maddow righteously averred.
“The State Department is terrible when it comes to dealing with Freedom of Information Act requests,” Maddow’s dubious defense of Clinton continued. “Not just with respect to the secretary, but with respect to everything.”
But the most glorious moment of this segment was when Mitchell accurately noted the many ways in which Clinton’s attempt at self-defense was undermined just minutes after she stepped away from the podium by the enterprising reporters who checked her facts.
Hillary Clinton insisted that she destroyed or will not disclose the majority of her electronic correspondence as secretary of state because they are personal. One of the people she corresponded with was, in fact, her husband. President Bill Clinton’s office denied that.
Hillary Clinton claimed that she opted for one device out of convenience while serving as secretary of state, but bragged just weeks ago that she is almost a “hoarder” of electronic mobile devices. The government oversight watchdog Judicial Watch, citing a State Department source, claimed that Clinton’s staff asked the agency’s technology experts to approve the secretary’s use of both an iPhone and an iPad during her tenure. Mitchell contends, however, that her sources confirmed to her that Clinton only just recently purchased an iPhone for personal use. Make of that what you will.
But the most delicious moment of this unconvincing attempt to defend Clinton’s paranoid and insular behavior as secretary of state came when Maddow sought to impugn the press for daring to question why the former secretary flagrantly violated State Department and Obama administration guidelines.
“There are some analogs for the rest of us in mortal life in terms of thinking about Hillary Clinton,” Maddow said after noting that, just like Hillary, MSNBC made her carry two devices in 2009 in order to be able to access her work and personal email accounts. “But the political truth of it is that there is no analog in mortal life to Hillary Clinton as a political being.”
I warned you. This is going to get cloying and decadent fast.
“Nobody has lived the life she has. Nobody is treated the way she is,” Maddow continued. “I think the bottom line here is that there’s a real question about whether or not Hillary Clinton gets vetted effectively and fairly as a presidential candidate, particularly one who’s not going to have a challenging primary, given the amount of static there is about everything she does.”
“The media noise, and static, and nonsense around her is so loud, it’s very hard to have effective reporting that people might actually care about about what she’d be like as a national leader,” Maddow added.
I don’t know. Seems to me that The New York Times breaking two stories about Hillary Clinton, one involving her alleged violation of an ethics agreement with the Obama White House by accepting Clinton Foundation donations while serving as a Cabinet official and another regarding her attempt to intentionally skirt FOIA laws, gives us a pretty clear indication as to what kind of a president she would be. That seems like effective reporting to those of us in the “hinterlands,” as Maddow derisively referred to the majority of the United States of America.
But the most delightful morsel came at the end of Maddow’s pep talk. Consumed by introspection, she furrowed her brow and stared into her desk. Forlorn, Maddow fretted about the stability of the republic given the lamentable condition of its Fourth Estate.
“Seeing the scrum this week, and a lot of the stupidity in the coverage around this issue, I worry about whether we’re going to be well-served by a Beltway press corps that doesn’t know how to talk about either Bill or Hillary Clinton without treading into real nonsense,” she closed.
You hear that, members of the political press? Even after more than two decades, you don’t know how to talk about the Clintons without sounding like conspiratorial fools. Rachel Maddow would like to provide some tips for you so that you can more effectively do your jobs in her eyes.
Maybe Maddow failed to recall that she indulged in some bizarre theorizing of her own when she suggested that Christie ordered the GWB lane closures due to an arcane fight with the legislature over Supreme Court nominees. Perhaps she forgot that even Bill Maher admonished her for being admittedly “unapologetically” “obsessed” with the bridge scandal that went precisely nowhere.
“He read about Reagan’s private, outside-the-CIA cabal of team-B zealots who were telling him that Russia had all the stuff they didn’t have so he could justify a giant defense budget,” Maddow said in 2012, engaging in more of the ill-advised speculation that she now disparages as “nonsense.” “It’s not just that Romney is uninformed,” the unduly self-assured MSNBC host wrote of Mitt Romney’s warnings regarding a resurgent Russia, “it’s that he hasn’t figured out how to fake it.”
Perhaps this capable cable news host should spend less time providing flimsy exculpations that might satisfy her deeply dispirited liberal audience, and more time addressing the conditions that have made her network the least trusted news outlet in America.