Green With Envy: Knives Come out for Rachel Maddow?
Give Jack Schafer credit: he is very skilled at talking out of both sides of his mouth. Of having it both ways.
His headlines reads:
“Maddow Goes Mad!”
“Why MSNBC’s big-league hype of its tiny Trump scooplet doesn’t bother me.”
Glad to hear you’re not bothered.
But here’s the meet of his piece:
“So why am I fine with Maddow’s tax-story grandstanding? Oh, I could do without the maddening community theater dramatics she brings to every show—the eye-rolling, the sarcasm, the faux earnestness, the annoyingly conversational style that assumes that you’re a passenger on her news bus. But there’s a long sensationalist tradition in American journalism of using a 400-ton metal stamping machine to extract every drop of juice out of an important scoop, then grinding the remaining pulp and feeding those tailings to the audience.”
“Unlike your standard bad sensational news story, Maddow’s puffed-up piece contained no mention of sex, no bloody murder, no crime and no violated social norm. She took a timely story of great importance—do we have evidence that Trump is a tax cheat?—and answered it. Well, answered it repeatedly in the negative, but I don’t hold the repetition against her, either. If Trump appears to have been on the level when it comes to his 2005 taxes, that’s good to know, even if you don’t like him.”
“I’m even fine with all of Maddow and Johnston’s heavy conjecture about how Trump’s 2005 tax return might fit into the Russia puzzle, or should I say question, of whether he’s captive of Russian oligarchs. As the late Timesman Tom Wicker once wrote, and I can’t stop repeating, a little speculation can help unstick a political story from the mire and move it to realms where new proof can be gathered, and the story advanced. The muckrakers of the past century specialized in this sort of news inflation that widened the scope of their reporting but didn’t mispresent it. Trump has invited our speculation about where his money has come from and where it goes by spurning the decades-long tradition of presidential candidates disclosing their tax returns, thus obscuring any potential or real conflicts of interest. Maddow and Johnston were well within their rights as journalists to note that Trump’s 2005 tax story merely starts with the two disclosed pages. Scores of pages from his return, not yet disclosed, would give us real grounding for our speculations.”
“If you think Trump’s money is relevant to his presidency—and who does not?—then it follows that we need to make a feast of whatever scraps fall our way lest we starve. As media scholar Jack Breslin wrote in 2008, a sensational story can be defined by both the nature of the story itself and its presentation. In the case of Maddow’s scoop, there’s nothing sensational at all about the tax information she and Johnston corralled. Had she wanted to, she could have written—or broadcast—a sober PBS NewsHour-style account of the two-page document. It was the foam that she tossed atop the story that makes it sensationalist. But shouldn’t this be OK, too? Breslin notes that the historical defenders of sensationalist journalism applauded it for the way its practitioners drew attention to societal problems. Maddow’s sensational news delivery has the potential of informing readers and viewers who might not have been following the Trump tax story closely in the New York Times and Washington Post, a point she hints at in her interview with the Times.”
“There’s no denying that sensationalism exists to conjure audiences where they’re sparse. But is Maddow’s hotdogging any less audience-grubbing than the ads the Wall Street Journal has been running for itself, the similarly vain New York Times ad campaign, or the Washington Post’s “Democracy Dies in Darkness” motto? Sensational times sometimes justify a little sensational journalism. But please, Rachel—a little less eye-rolling.”
He sure takes a lot of shots at Rachel for being fine. Here’s the thing. I for one, very much like her style. She keeps me riveted every night. I speak to fellow Democrats on Twitter all the time who feel the same.
He was more than critical of what she did last night, he criticizes her style. This suggests that this was about more than just last night-this has been building.
What’s really going on? Rachel has been on a tear. She showed that Fox News is not unbeatable recently, when her Russian special beat Fox and blew away CNN.
There’s some professional jealousy going on here. Add to it, she’s a very intelligent, successful woman, a lesbian woman, and one can’t help but wonder if this isn’t similar to the Hillary Derangement Syndrome we saw from the Jack Schaffers of the world against Hillary for the last 25 years.
Say what you want about Maddow’s style, Mr. Schafer, But green eyed jealousy is also not a great look.
P.S. As we saw this morning, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.