Chuck Todd

A Question of Presupposition (Graham Cracked Edition)

#PutiTrump | #WhatTheyVotedFor

#PutiTrump: Protest image of Vladimir Putin, artist unknown. Donald Trump in detail of photo by Mark Peterson/Redux for msnbc, 2016.

“I always said he had a blindspot to Russia but things are changing for the better. He finally allowed the Ukraine to be given defensive weapons. But when it comes to Russia, I’ve said on your show a million times, he has an attitude toward Putin that I think is counterproductive. The president does believe his intel agencies.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

It really is easy to pin a lot on the quote; Steve Benen offers this take:

Now, it’s quite likely that Trump and Graham, who appear to now be rather close allies, have had private conversations in which the president has said things to the senator that he hasn’t shared with the public. But if Trump told Graham he now believes Russians stole Democratic documents, it would represent a dramatic change of heart.

As recently as mid-November—not quite two months ago—Trump told reporters that Vladimir Putin personally assured him that Russia didn’t meddle in the American election. “Every time he sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it,” the American president said in reference to his Russian counterpart.

It was part of a lengthy pattern in which Trump refused to accept U.S. intelligence agencies’ findings. “Nobody really knows for sure” whether Russia intervened in the American elections, the president said in July—after intelligence professionals told him they do know for sure.

But according to Lindsey Graham, sometime between mid-November and early-January, Trump changed his mind, and if the senator is right, the shift is a pretty important development.

The analysis is not wrong; we should always bear in mind, however, questions of presupposition.

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The Ben Carson Show (Supremacism)

“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.” (Dr. Ben Carson) [Source photo by Richard Ellis/Getty images, 2015]

Meet the Press:

CHUCK TODD: Let me wrap this up by finally dealing with what’s been going on, Donald Trump, and a deal with a questioner that claimed that the president was Muslim. Let me ask you the question this way: Should a President’s faith matter? Should your faith matter to voters?

DR. BEN CARSON: Well, I guess it depends on what that faith is. If it’s inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter. But if it fits within the realm of America and consistent with the constitution, no problem.

CHUCK TODD: So do you believe that Islam is consistent with the constitution?

DR. BEN CARSON: No, I don’t, I do not.

CHUCK TODD: So you―

DR. BEN CARSON: I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.

Sometimes it seems as if a moment should speak for itself.

No, really.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dr. Ben Carson.

This is your 2016 Republican Presidential Clown Car.

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Image note: Source photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images, 2015.

Todd, Chuck. Interview with Ben Carson. Meet the Press. NBC, New York. 20 September 2015. Transcript.

Chuck Todd in a Diaper

'Tom the Dancing Bug' by Ruben Bolling, 18 December 2014. (via Daily Kos)It’s … just another American horror that one cannot unsee.

Nonetheless, the intelligence data has been redacted for security purposes, and also to protect the innocent.

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Bolling, Ruben. Tom the Dancing Bug. 18 December 2014.

Trump-tacular?

Donald Trump.

Is it cruel?

You know, you can see the disaster coming, yet the village idiot just keeps dancing toward destruction. It’s illegal to actually grab him by the lapels and shake him until he comprehends the monumental idiocy he is attempting to commit, so, you know, sometimes you just let things happen because, well, the only other alternative is to look away.

Donald Trump is teasing his 2016 presidential run again.

“We’ll see what happens,” Trump said at a press conference during a fundraiser for Iowa Congressman Steve King on Saturday. “We’ll see what’s going to happen, first of all, in the next month because that’s going to be very interesting.”

† † †

Back in July 2013, Trump told the National Review that he was “looking” to run because the country was being “stupidly and foolishly led.” He added that his business and economic reputation could help the United States take on China and put the U.S. back on top. Trump also told Reuters, in January, that running for president is something he “would certainly look at” because he is “unhappy with the way things are going in America.”

So, right. Is it cruel? Is it cruel to actually want to witness such a debacle? Much like last year’s suggestion that Ted Nugent might run for president, it is easy enough to consider prayer: Please, please, please, be there a God in Heaven, let this happen. Please?

It’s not like such campaigns would be without highlights. Watching Chuck Todd try to equivocate until his brain rebels and tries to crawl out his ear would certainly be an unfortunate spectacle, like the time in junior high when two kids from the special education classroom got into a fight in the hallway and everyone just stood around, watching, because, well, yeah, you just had to see it, you know?

But that is also where the question of cruelty arises. It was not enough for some classmates to simply watch the spectacle; they felt some need to labor and set a kid up for embarrassment. And such craven greed is, indeed, a chilling sight unto weary eyes.

Still, though, after watching the media pander to John McCain in 2008—he’s just a bit grumpy for an old man without his morning coffee, and who cares if this icon of foreign policy has no idea who our military is actually fighting against? it just shows how smart he is!—or scramble to keep Mitt Romney in the 2012 race by simply playing stenographer to whatever his campaign wanted to say, watching any number of otherwise respected and respectable journalists destroy themselves trying to throw Donald Trump (or the Nuge, at that) enough bones to keep the race close would be a better end than those reporters and halfwit commentators deserve.

Really, the only downside to a Trump candidacy would be if he actually won, which in turn would still serve a useful purpose in establishing that American society has officially gone “post-society”, and then the everyday working folks who have believed in this American Dream can rest assured that they no longer need to put the effort into a job they have already resigned.

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Taibi, Catherine. “Donald Trump Is STILL Saying He Might Run For President In 2016”. The Huffington Post. 20 October 2014.

Hendrix, Steve. “Shooting from the hip: Ted Nugent rocks politics”. The Washington Post. 2 July 2013.

Why Chuck Todd Should Resign or Be Fired

Chuck Todd, host of NBC News' Meet the Press

“Chuck Todd does not get it. Once he becomes the news in this manner he has failed as a journalist.”

Egberto Willies

Maybe it is difficult for some to recall the days when journalism as an industry was raised on a pedestal as the Fourth Estate, the Guardians of the People against Tyranny.

Really. Was a time. Technically, it’s why we have a constitutional provision guaranteeing free press.

Journalism has, of course, changed. One would hope the industry has evolved, but the question remains whether the Fourth Estate has evolved with it, or “evolved to extinction”. While it is easy enough to pick on, say, FOX News in this manner, NBC’s Meet the Press has long been viewed as a fixture of the Fourth Estate.

And whatever we might think of David Gregory’s embarrassing watch, Chuck Todd seems determined to use the helm to run Meet the Press into the rocks. Or, as Egberto Willies explains for Daily Kos:

Daily KosChuck Todd does not get it. Once he becomes the news in this manner he has failed as a journalist. A few days ago Alison Lundergan Grimes was interviewed by the Louisville Courier-Journal editorial board. They asked her whether she voted for President Obama in 2008 and 2012. She justifiably refused to answer.

The talking heads and pundits claimed she was not prepared for the question. The lack of sophistication of the traditional media is astounding. It was evident that she was prepared for the question and she intended not to answer it. It was evident that her team likely thought the downside was worse if she answered.

Chuck Todd in another case of irrational verbal diarrhea said that her answer “borders on disqualification.” One wonders how not answering an inconsequential and silly question borders on disqualification yet he never said such on the various substantive lies and misstatements by Mitch McConnell (e.g, implying that Kynect is not Obamacare, etc.).

It is a fair point, indeed even a necessary question. Observing that employers cannot ask job applicants who they voted for as a prerequisite of hiring, we can at least consider the principle in the question of politics. Willies notes that Grimes’ refusal to answer “denied Mitch McConnell’s team a sound bite that would have been replayed ad naseum in a state where President Obama is less popular than dog meat”. Tactically speaking, he has a point that, “In a low-information, sound-bite driven society, denying that sound bite was likely the better move”.

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How Chuck Todd Can Do His Part to Save Journalism From Itself

To: Chuck Todd

re: Excuses, excuses, excuses

Michael Calderone of the Huffington Post reported earlier today:

“Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd stood by his recent comment that Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes “disqualified herself” by refusing to say who she voted for in the last presidential election, a remark highlighted by her Republican opponent, Mitch McConnell, in a new ad.

In a Tuesday email to The Huffington Post, Todd said that “campaigns that try to make others the issue are usually trying to avoid their own scrutiny.”

“I don’t take back my analysis,” Todd continued. “But no journalist likes to be used in a TV ad. It is cheap and likely useless. And McConnell has hidden himself from questions for months. This is a highly cynical campaign we are witnessing in Kentucky. Very uninspiring debate.”

One would hope Mr. Calderone’s reporting is mistaken, because it would be really, really stupid for you to actually try to say something like that, Mr. Todd.

To put it bluntly: This is what you get when you try to make yourself part of the story.

Are you a reporter, or a participant? I mean, really, if reporters aren’t supposed to call out lies when a candidate is clearly lying, then what the hell explains a reporter deciding who is “disqualified” from running for office? It’s one of the reasons the press gets so little sympathy when reporters bawl about how mean the White House is being. You’re supposed to report the stories, not manufacture them.

It’s kind of like how the Roberts Court will write a random decision at odds with constitutional precedent, and then try to say they’re not setting a precedent, or their decision shouldn’t apply to anyone or anything else. We all know it’s excrement, and as we saw with the Windsor case, federal judges around the country have disregarded the Chief Justice. And for good reason.

People should also be disregarding you, Mr. Todd. And with good reason. You’re not a proper reporter or journalist; you’re a hack politician."Waaah!  It's not fair to hold me accountable for the words I say!  I'm just a poor, defenseless reporter!"

NBC News should have buried Meet the Press with Mr. Russert. But they wanted the product to live on, so they put it in David Gregory’s hands, and we all know how awful that went.

And now it’s yours, an outcome the American people will suffer for.

If you want to make a political splash and then cry when people use your words and you find yourself taking heat from real journalists, then quit pretending to be a reporter and just run for office.

It’s not that I loathe you, sir. To the other, if you keep asking that people should look so poorly upon you, then don’t complain when they finally do.

You have no business pretending to be a journalist. Please do the right thing and resign. Someone of your skills has plenty of suitable career opportunities. Maybe play press contact for a 2016 Romney run? I mean, really, they’re going to need someone of your ethics who is capable of doing better than Eric Fehrnstrom’s “Etch-a-Sketch” bit. And, you know, why wouldn’t he run? He’s already got plenty of other pretend journalists trying to “draft” him for a third run. They, too, are trying to manufacture a story. But none of them have yet whined that it’s cheap and useless to hold them accountable for their words.

Do the right thing, Mr. Todd. Resign from Meet the Press and retire from journalism. At least then, in having done the right thing for journalism, you could at least pretend that you care about the profession … and the rest of our society, too.

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Calderone, Michael. “Chuck Todd Defends Grimes ‘Disqualified’ Critique, But Says It’s ‘Cheap’ To Use In TV Ad”. The Huffington Post. 14 October 2014.

Rape Advocacy, Courtesy of Chuck Todd, Meet the Press, and NBC News

Chuck Todd, host of NBC's Meet the Press

To: NBC News, Meet the Press

re: Important stories, poor coverage

The important part here is that you’re doing it wrong.

Make the case? Okay, first of all, how about you explain the question: What part of affirmative consent does Chuck Todd find confusing?

“Is affirmative consent the best way to handle sexual assaults on campus?” To the one, why is affirmative consent not the standard?

Pretending there is a gray zone, inviting a rape defender like Matt Kaiser to argue on behalf of the plaguing number of rapists who aren’t really rapists but were just confused?

We live in a country where prosecutors have the discretion to ignore rape confessions because, well, the state (e.g., Colorado) thinks the victim deserved to be raped.

That Chuck Todd should pretend to be confused by the concept of affirmative consent is worrisome.

In a related issue, look, what is it with NBC News and trying to bury important stories? Providing a transcript for this particular Meet the Press endeavor just isn’t worth it to NBC News. Sure, we can get the transcripts of politicians reciting platitudes and talking points, but here you have a very important issue, and a guest trying to distill the argument in favor of rapists, and, well, maybe there’s a reason they don’t want that transcript on the record?

The segment was a disgrace. Meet the Press is a disgrace. And Chuck Todd certainly didn’t help NBC News’ reputation. Is mutual consent the best approach? Well, what would be better? Individual consent, disregarding of the other? Good one, Chuck.

Sexual assault is a horrible thing, whether it’s on campus or not. And, obviously, as a society we need to figure out a way to respond to that.

Asking colleges to do this, it isn’t fair to schools, it isn’t fair to the people who are accused, and it isn’t fair to the women who suffer through this.

(Matt Kaiser)

It really does sound like rape advocacy: It isn’t fair to schools to expect that they not make excuses to aid and abet criminals. It isn’t fair to accused rapists that they should know they have permission to have sex with another person. It isn’t fair to rape survivors because … er … ah … well, it just isn’t fair to rape survivors. Because Matt Kaiser says so!

So let us invite Meet the Press and NBC News to answer a straightforward question: Is rehashing toxic excuses the best way to handle anything?

The school still has an incentive to find the man responsible. If the woman is found to not be credible, if the woman is found to be lying, if she has been treated in any way she objects to, she can run to the Department of Education. She can run to file a civil lawsuit against the school. And schools know that.

Mr. Kaiser seems to be arguing that it would be unfair to expect a school to actually do the right thing, but they can be held accountable if a rape survivor has enough money to hire a lawyer to sue the hell out of the school.

This is starting to sound more and more like the Ken Buck school of law enforcement:

The secret recording by the victim, provided to The Colorado Independent, reveals Buck telling the woman the details appeared to show she consented to the sexual encounter, though he admits the woman “never said the word ‘yes’.”Deutsch-20141009-detail

The recording stems from a December 2005 case in which a woman alleged she was raped while drunk by a former lover whom she had invited over. Buck declined to prosecute the man, telling the Greeley Tribune in 2006 that “a jury could very well conclude that this is a case of buyer’s remorse.”

The victim, who was a 21-year-old college student at the time, agreed to an interview with the left-leaning news site after a liberal Colorado group reached out to her again recently.

“That comment made me feel horrible,” she told the Independent. “The offender admitted he did it, but Ken Buck said I was to blame. Had he [Buck] not attacked me, I might have let it go. But he put the blame on me, and I was furious. I still am furious,” she said.

By Matt Kaiser’s logic, she has no right to be furious, since affirmative consent would be unfair to rapists.

Congratulations, Chuck. Good show, MTP. Thank you so much for trying to set the discussion back a few years for the sake of clickbait. Your efforts are noted.

‘Drive-by journalism’ is not really journalism.

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NBC News. “Make the Case: Is Affirmative Consent the Best Way to Handle Sexual Assaults on Campus?” Meet the Press. 9 October 2014.

Catanese, David. “Rape case haunts buck in Colorado”. Politico. 11 October 2010.

Deutsch, Barry. “Rape and Consent — Affirmative Consent Explained”. Ampersand. 9 October 2014.

When Jon Met Krusty, and Said No

Jon Stewart

“They drove a dump truck full of money up to my house! I’m not made of stone!”

Krusty the Clown

Right. For those who need the update:

New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman managed to get media observers all hot and bothered yesterday when he splashed a pretty great scoop from behind the scenes at NBC News. As Sherman reports, when NBC News’ president Deborah Turness was pondering “Meet The Press'” transition from the David Gregory Era to its current Chuck Todd-issance, she briefly paused along the way to sound out “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart on whether he might want to take over as the “MTP’s” host. According to Sherman’s source, NBC News was richly baiting the lure: “They were ready to back the Brink’s truck up.”

http://www.snpp.com/episodes/8F24aObviously, this courtship was ultimately unconsummated. And for everyone involved, this is probably for the best. (For example, NBC News still has that Brink’s truck, which is nice.)

The person who really dodges a bullet here is Stewart himself, by not allowing this truck full of Peacock ducats to tempt him into taking a job that he’d not only really, truly hate having, but also would probably have damaged the legacy he’s built for himself as an outsider critic. There’s something genuinely Faustian about this attempted assignation: How much money would it take to convince a man to become the thing he’s always despised? In this case, the answer would appear to be “more than you can put in one armored car.”

(Linkins)

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