What Price Maddow?
Right now, left-leaning mainstream media is getting flogged, and they deserve it for their dishonest reporting on the Trump/Russia conspiracy theory. Mass firings and a month of apologies by Jeff Zucker and Rachel Maddow would not be sufficient to mend the harm these organizations have done to America’s trust in news reporting.
But the folks who truly deserve to be put in their place and totally humiliated are the viewers of these pretend news shows. At what point do the Wellesley and Williams-educated elites look in the mirror and accept the fact that they have been taken for fools? They have enabled progressive media to manufacture rotten journalism. They never turned the channel.
Most people got a glimpse of Rachel Maddow’s ringmaster act when she ran the elephants around a circle for forty-five minutes entertaining the masses with the promise that Trump’s tax returns would shortly be shot out of a cannon. As the fuse burned and Rachel Maddow whipped the crowd into a frenzy, insinuating that she had caught the tax cheat, MSNBC producers were madly counting the gate.
Slate Magazine writes: “There was, of course, the mid-month burst of global attention surrounding the program’s unveiling of President Trump’s 2005 tax return, a scoop that yielded a series-best audience of just over 4 million viewers.”
Then suddenly… Boom! - “TRUMP PAID HIS TAXES IN FULL!!!” Whoops. Cut to commercial.
For a nanosecond, media critics seemed embarrassed. Slate called it a “mini-backlash among critics who accused Maddow of overhyping the discovery.”
But the ringmaster understood that nobody listens to the critics. What mattered most was the act: the bearded lady would be on the show the next day and the mob would show up.
The Trump tax return debacle, in certain ways, was a game changer for progressive media.
The fallout from the Trump tax return show was that network news producers tossed their journalistic ethics out of the window. The ghost of Walter Cronkite could finally be ignored -- the news legend’s white privilege delegitimized his legacy. News organizations found themselves free to manipulate or willfully lie to their audience every single day.
And nobody seems to care. Certainly, Maddow’s audience doesn't care -- they show up every night. Network news producers understand that now. In today’s world, it’s no longer the New York Times’ laughable and pretentious axiom “All the news that’s fit to print” that matters, it’s Randy Newman’s tune, “It’s money that matters,” that news media organizations dance to. Just ask Rachel.
Forbes writes: MSNBC, in a news release, proclaimed a sweeping win for Maddow: "MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show Dominates Cable News in February 2019, is #1 in A25-54 [the demographic group prized by advertisers] for 3rd Straight Month."
Maddow now makes $7 million dollars a year, more than enough to pay for trout fishing vacations.
The Russia/Trump collusion story became the “Greatest Show on Earth”. Money, prizes, and careers were up for grabs. The circus act took off and P.T. Maddow became a star, a rating behemoth and a gigantic moneymaking machine for MSNBC.
For two years of the Russia/Trump act, mainstream media clung to some measure of journalistic integrity, having discovered a treasure trove of useful idiots in the United States Congress -- Rep. Eric Swalwell, Rep. Adam Schiff, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, to name a few, who were willing to say anything to get their faces on television hoping to advance their profiles.
But now, Donald Trump’s total vindication of the charge that he colluded with the Russians to win the presidency has starkly revealed an ugly corruption between important institutions of the United States. Politicians and news media organizations joined forces in pursuit of money and blind ambitions and their conspiracy hurt this country badly. Will they be punished? Will there be a reckoning? Will Maddow pay a price? Would a heart surgeon pay a price for sending patients to the morgue every day for two straight years without a single survivor?
We can be sure of one thing: the perpetrators of the Russia conspiracy theory, the politicians and the journalists, will not police themselves. It will be business as usual unless voters understand that being lied to by powerful institutions is a lot more dangerous than “climate change.”
But don’t hold your breath. The expensively educated folks who blindly watch Rachel Maddow spin her web of nonsense will be the last people on earth to admit they were duped.
As Mark Twain said: ‘It’s Easier to Fool People Than to Convince Them That They Have Been Fooled.”
Stephen Ryan is the author of the Amazon bestselling political thriller The Madonna Files and is the founder of MysticPost.com, a Catholic online news magazine.