I tend to like The Rachel Maddow Show. I don't generally like that she often spends the first nine minutes on a history lesson, which often has little to do with the actual news story. And I don't like that she often repeats herself endlessly to make her point clear. So that her point is clear, she will repeat herself. Endlessly. Often, she will repeat herself -- repeat herself. Endlessly. So that her point is clear. Perfectly clear.
I understand why she does it. And I have no problem with offering history for perspective, nor a problem with clarity. But there are limits to how its done. Which is why I usually record it and start watching after about 20-30 minutes, so that I can fast-forward though these excursions. Still, I pretty much like her show, and find it bright, thoughtful, and opinionated but very fair.
But last night, I was gnashing my teeth and found it irresponsible. And grateful I could fast-forward.
She rightly spent much of the entire first segment dealing with Donald Trump dropping out of the Republican debate. And she did another full segment on Mr. Trump holding an alternate event at the same time as the time as the debate, detracting attention from the debate and under the pandering guise of a supposed fund-raiser for veterans -- putting into perspective the last time he did this, when the "veterans group" was really just a one-person organization that soon after got shut down. In fact, one of her guests was Paul Reichkoff, respected founder and CEO of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America organization, explaining eloquently why he had announced that his group wouldn't accept any funds, if offered, from Donald Trump's event making vets a political pawn So, the broadcast was very good for much of the first part.
So, when Donald Trump's fake-charity event started, what did Rachel Maddow do? It's not that her show referenced that it was starting -- which was unnecessary, since generally TV shows don't deal with speech schedules whenever a candidates decides to speak. Nor did the show cut to Trump's arrival and opening comments. No, what The Rachel Maddow Show did -- after they had spent two long segments bluntly slamming Donald Trump for avoiding having to debate his opponents and after they criticized the Trump event in detail for its shameless pandering to veterans -- was...it aired Donald Trump speaking alone for 13 minutes!
I was boggled. The news show gave Donald Trump everything he was hoping for, after criticizing him for almost 20 minutes those very things. They gave him the attention he wanted, they gave him the chance to speak by himself without debating, and they gave him the opportunity to appear faux-patriotic hiding behind a largely-fake veterans benefit. And they gave him a remarkable 13 minutes of this.
What were they thinking???
Not the show's most shining moment.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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