WARNING FOR FAMILY TYPES: Post contains f-bombs. You’ve been warned.
When she was still alive my paternal Grandmother loved to watch a show called Club Dance. It was her favorite show and she would keep her television set tuned to TNN (or whatever the network was called then) all day to make sure she didn’t miss any of the 4+ episodes that would air during the day. Every single time an episode would start, my Grandma would say the same thing:
“I just love this show. I know all the dancers. I know who’s seeing who and who got in a fight with who and sometimes I get up and try to do the dances and my gosh, I just love this show.”
It was adorable and is something that we still giggle about.
A (long) while ago, on a phone call with my Mom, I was complaining about one of my favorite MSNBC hosts, Ronan Farrow, losing his show. I had opinions about this change in lineup and was ranting about how Farrow’s show was axed but another host’s show was still going strong even though it was infuriating and poorly researched.
“You sure do have a lot of opinions about a television channel.” My Mom said.
“Well sure, I love MSNBC! I turn it on in the mornings to get the headlines and then I’ll watch this host’s show and that host’s show and then I know I can take a break because these couple of hosts are awful but I need to be back in time to see these other hosts because they always do a good job. I like to keep up.”
“Okay Grandma.” My Mom said and started laughing.
And you know what? Guilty. I’ve always been open about the fact that most of the time I have MSNBC on as background noise during the day. It’s the only news channel that doesn’t make me want to set my hair on fire. I know that this is because they often tend to have a liberal lean to their reporting (it’s hard to hate reporters who agree with you) which is why I like to get my headlines from them but follow it up with my own research. I also like that, typically, MSNBC anchors aren’t afraid to fact check or challenge their interviewees in real time. I mean, my god, have you ever watched Chris Matthews do an interview? There’s a reason he has a reputation for shouting. And Rachel Maddow is a goddamn national treasure and I will fight you if you try to disagree with me about this.
But then last night’s dumpster fire “Commander in Chief Forum” happened. I had such high hopes for this event. I was looking forward to substantive questions and real answers. And even when it came down that Matt Lauer (whose name is going to be a dirty word in my house for a while) would be hosting instead of someone more qualified, I thought: “It’s MSNBC. They do good work. It’ll be okay.”
It was not okay.
If we’re being completely honest here (and why not), I am still livid about how the event was conducted. Holy fuck, what a disaster.
The clips from the forum are up on YouTube so you can watch the event yourself. I won’t go into specific quotes or anything like that because honestly? The candidates’ responses weren’t really news. They were mostly predictable.
What makes me angry–angry all the day down into the depths of my soul–is that last night’s forum really highlighted just how differently Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are treated by the press.
It’s a thing I’d noticed sometimes in passing, sort of in the larger “Jesus Christ, what does Hillary have to do to make you people happy?!” sense but last night was different. Last night Matt Lauer didn’t even try to look like he was approaching the candidates equally.
During Hillary’s half hour at the microphone, Matt Lauer repeatedly interrupted her, tried to cut her off, disagreed with her and even patronized her. Hillary was trying to give thoughtful and substantive answers to important and complex questions and Lauer wasn’t having any of it. He focused almost half her time on her emails instead of on military issues (though he did bring up her vote for Iraq).
When Donald came up to bat, it was all smiles and easy questions. He let Trump go on at length about his secret plan to fight ISIS and why he was keeping it secret. Lauer didn’t say a single word when Trump mansplained a woman’s question and got his numbers wrong. And his questions—first year middle school journalism students would come up with better stuff. “What are you reading to prepare?” REALLY?! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME, LAUER?
There are rumors about Lauer being chosen instead of any of the infinitely more qualified journalists on the NBC networks because Trump wanted to make sure he wouldn’t get any tough questions. Even so—does Matt Lauer live in Trump Tower or something? Did Trump promise him a position in the cabinet if he wins? I do not understand how or why he conducted the forum last night the way he did. Even thinking about it makes my blood all boily.
I had hoped that today’s MSNBC shows would help soothe the irate beast that was rising up within me but, um, not so much. Now, granted I slept badly and woke up late so I wasn’t in the best of moods anyway but today on my beloved MSNBC I saw hosts say things like “If Hillary behaves toward Donald Trump in the debates like she did last night, he’s going to win.” And “She really should use a softer touch with him” And can I just say?
NO SHE FUCKING SHOULDN’T. THE MAN WANTS TO LEAD THE GODDAMN FREE WORLD. HILLARY CLINTON DOES NOT NEED TO SOFTEN DOWN. DONALD TRUMP NEEDS TO TOUGHEN UP.
There were hours of air time today devoted to talking about the lie Donald Trump keeps telling about his support for the Iraq war. This is a subject that has now been debunked dozens of times, but it got more air play than all of the other completely and outrageously terrible lies he told last night put together.
I watched as Chuck Todd, someone I usually think does an okay job, not only allow his male guests completely trample is lone female guest but encourage them. Every time they interrupted her, Todd would shift his focus to them and follow up on what the interruptor said. There wasn’t a single “hold on, let her finish” or anything of the sort.
And then! Then! Chuck Todd devoted an entire segment of MTP Daily to whether or not Donald Trump would legally be allowed to run his businesses from the oval office. It turns out? That legally speaking, he is allowed to remain at the head of his organizations. And there was zero pushback from Todd.
This is about when I started yelling at my TV set because GAH! THE HYPOCRISY!
Hillary Clinton, a woman who never let the work of the Clinton Foundation interfere or inform her work as Secretary of State (we’ll talk more about this at a later time because I have VIEWS) has been under tremendous pressure not just to step down from that foundation but to abolish it altogether.
The pundits have all agreed: to avoid any appearance of potential pay for play, one of the greatest and most successful humanitarian organizations in modern history has to be completely destroyed. A few have relented slightly to say, basically, “okay the Clinton Foundation’s work can still exist but it can’t be called the Clinton Foundation and nobody who has anything to do with the family should be able to have anything to do with the foundation if Hillary Clinton wins the Presidency. Because optics.”
Contrast that to: “Yeah, he can totally keep running his businesses, I mean he’d have to be careful not to play favorites, but legally it’s fine.” So a woman who has followed all the rules and done nothing wrong has to destroy one of the best things she helped build or she can’t be President because it will prove that she’s corrupt. But the man who has been proven to use his organizations to buy his way out of legal trouble with high ranking officials in multiple states can totally keep doing that even if he wins the election? And it’s fine?
How the flying fuck is this fair?!
How can these stories be run within days of each other and the pundits still claim that they aren’t holding Hillary Clinton to an absurdly different and impossible standard than Donald Trump?
Why is it that Hillary Clinton is condemned over and over again for her lack of omnipotence while Donald Trump is heaped with praise for finally learning how to read a teleprompter and not taking a dump on the stage?
MSNBC, I’m disappointed in you.