Meet the Press

Something About the Way She Swoons

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton addresses delegates during the fourth and final night of the Democratic National Convention at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 28 July 2016. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Dante Chinni’s unfortunate obsession with a swooning Hillary Clinton frames an interesting context that does not inherently detract from any assetion of wisdom about the NBC News analysis―

The key word for 2016 poll-watchers this week has been “tightening” as a series of national and state polls have shown Donald Trump drawing nearer to Hillary Clinton.

But look at the numbers closer and any tightening looks more like a mini Clinton swoon, than a mini Trump boom.

―but does, in fact, frame an interesting context by cheapening the whole thing to better suit Meet the Press in the Chuck Todd era.

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The Ben Carson Show (Liar)

Something about epistemic closure goes here. That is to say, here is another part of the Ben Carson Show―and, to a certain extent, a larger Republican motif and malady―that seems hard to comprehend in the context of how conservatives expect this part to work:

Amid a giant uproar over his comments on “Meet the Press” that he would be uncomfortable with a Muslim being elected president, Ben Carson is trying to recast what he said by using that most-convenient of scapegoats: the media.Republican presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson officially launches his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in Detroit, Mich., on May 4, 2015. (Photo: Rebecca Cook/Reuters)

Carson insisted Tuesday that he was talking about radical forms of Islam, not the religion more broadly. “It’s on the record on NBC. On ‘Meet the Press.’ Did anyone pick up on that? Of course not, because that wasn’t the juicy story,” he said at an event in Ohio.

And, you know, with a setup like that, there is only one place for Chris Cillizza to go:

So, Carson said what he said. (And, it appears to have won him plaudits from many on the right.) His blaming of the media is smart―he’ll get a double bounce from people who agree with him on a Muslim being president and from those who hate the media.

But, it’s just not accurate.

It’s a double death-pang, so to speak; a fierce voice for Christian advocacy wallows in sin. Dr. Carson would lie to us, and in order to turn his back on his own word.

Or, maybe, you know, he’s a politician.

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Image note: Source photo ― Republican presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson officially launches his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in Detroit, Mich., on May 4, 2015. (Photo: Rebecca Cook/Reuters)

Cillizza, Chris. “Sorry, Ben Carson, you weren’t misquoted about a Muslim president. That’s ridiculous.” The Washington Post. 22 September 2015.

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.

The Donald Trump Show (Coattails and Kid Gloves)

Donald Trump announces his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination in New York City, New York, 16 June 2015.  (Photo: Justin Lane/European Pressphoto Agency)

Why is it always Donald, Donald, Donald?

Over at The Hill, it seems a fine way to spend a weekend:

Oh, yeah …: The Hill staff offer an overview of the Sunday interview shows, including notes about Donald on Trump, Lindsey on Trump, Carly trying to hop on Trump’s coattails, and a strange reminder that former U.S. Senator Jim Webb is running for the Democratic nomination.

Speaking of Sunday shows: Mark Hensch reports on Meet the Press attempting to consider a nexus of ideas: Donald Trump and flip-flop.

Imagine that: And Alexander Bolton explains why the obvious advice for Jeb Bush is to “walk a fine line” in dealing with the Donald, or, as the headline has it, “Treat trump with kid gloves”.

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Image note: Donald Trump announces his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination in New York City, New York, 16 June 2015. (Photo: Justin Lane/European Pressphoto Agency)

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.

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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