July 20, 2019

Can Rachel Maddow Cope with the Mueller Report?

“On Monday night, the first night that MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show aired after Attorney General William Barr released his four-page memo on the Mueller report, Rachel Maddow was skeptical. Like, extremely, extremely skeptical. In fact, she had 15 questions worth of skepticism about the “the Barr Report,” which she displayed in remarkably tiny font behind her head. The questions started with the basics—Had Robert Mueller expected the attorney general to jump in and make a no prosecution, no collusion announcement? Was it appropriate for the attorney general to make that kind of determination at this point in the process?—before taking sudden swerves into the conspiratorial. Robert Mueller had chosen not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment in his report. “Well,” Maddow wondered, “why did Mueller make that determination and was it, in fact, a choice?” Was it possible that the special prosecutor had not explicitly described the president’s behavior as a crime in his report because there were plans to indict him as soon as he left office?

Since Donald Trump’s election, Rachel Maddow has climbed to the top of the cable news ratings with a resistance bullhorn and a conspiratorial vision of the Trump presidency. She has traded the No. 1 slot with Fox’s leading conspiratorialist Sean Hannity, the flip side of her cabal-spotting coin. (In the days since the Mueller investigation concluded, Maddow’s ratings have dipped significantly while Hannity’s have risen.) Hannity, the president’s phone a friend, is widely understood to be a propagandist for the administration—perhaps even by his own audience, MAGA devotees who would never hold such a thing against him. Night after night he pushes deranged “factual” interpretations—Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is an actress, not a congresswoman; the Mueller investigation is an attempted deep state coup—that turn the world into a wall of crazy targeting the Trump regime.

But Maddow too, has turned the universe into an intricate web of intersecting plots that all lead to one conclusion: collusion. In the days since the Mueller report was sent to Barr, Maddow has held fast to her faith that Mueller is some kind of avenging hero, who will get Trump in the end. “As we await the Mueller report,” she said on Tuesday night, “we are left with this incredibly provocative set of unexplained behaviors.” Then she cued up “the mystery sound,” a not particularly eerie ding she used to introduce a long digression about a still-active “mystery case,” in which a “mystery company owned by mystery country” has resisted all attempts to testify about some mystery topic at the special prosecutor’s request, which she then tied to a number of other still active parts of the Mueller investigation, which she intimated could still result in something damning.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"The likely successor to British Prime Minister Theresa May, Boris Johnson, has plans to subsume the government department overseeing development aid into the foreign office, effectively eliminating it. That will destroy a post-Brexit United..."

"Gerard Baker, editor-at-large at the Wall Street Journal (no reflexively anti-Trump publication) recently wrote a piece decrying Donald Trump and his foreign policy as a fount of erratic unpredictability. This essay will give the counter view...."

"On Wednesday, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar announced that she will be visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories in the coming weeks. Omar will be accompanied by Rep. Rashida Tlaib. The two freshman congresswomen have become a focal point of..."

"Netflix may have lost US subscribers for the first time since it began making its own shows, but that didn't stop the streaming giant from dropping new figures about how many people are sucked into its Adam Sandler vortex. (Spoiler: More than..."

"A few years ago, Amy Balliett, CEO of a Seattle-based design and marketing firm, noticed that as the work week slogged on, her employees’ energy and productivity wilted. “That would slump to such an extent that the same task on Monday would..."

"Over the last few days the #faceappchallenge has taken over social media. This “challenge” involves downloading a selfie-editing tool called FaceApp and using one of its filters to digitally age your face. You then post the photo of your wizened..."

"Although there are plenty of irrational aspects to life in modern America, few rival the odd fixation on lawns. Fertilizing, mowing, watering — these are all-American activities that, on their face, seem reasonable enough. But to spend hundreds..."

"Can a book change the way we think? I don’t mean that in the sense of a reader’s opinion or ideology shifting—of course the right literary work can do that. But can a book rewire the brain itself, literally changing the way one particular mind..."

"It’s our job to let kids know we see and hear them, but we’re not necessarily going to solve siblings’ conflicts for them (or else they never get the practice). When squabbles start, imagine you’re a sportscaster and describe what you see in..."

"Magali Trejo-Martinez, a 22-year-old living in Salem, Oregon, recently went on a date that was rather uninspiring. “I had dinner, had a couple margaritas, and then went home,” is how she recapped the evening. This outcome wasn’t entirely..."

"The first lunar landing was many things — a D-Day-like feat of planning and logistics, a testament to the power of man's will, an ostensible propaganda coup for NATO. It was also, I think, one of the most misunderstood events in the history of..."

"THE FIRST TIME Bernie Sanders ran for president, he didn’t talk much about being Jewish. In fact, he didn’t talk much about himself at all. His 2016 primary campaign, like his whole political career, was relentlessly focused on one topic: income..."