Can MSNBC's Rachel Maddow go a single day without descending into laughable hackdom?
Any previous doubts about this were erased by her show last night. Mere seconds after she was introduced by colleague Chris Hayes, and after Maddow offered a chirpy "happy snow day" to viewers (this during one of the most brutal winters in memory), Maddow began her show with this -- "The administration of Republican North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has just been subpoenaed in conjunction with a federal criminal investigation." (Video after the jump)
What's this, you say, McCrory's a Republican? How odd indeed, considering that only one night earlier, Maddow "reported" on two other politicians hit with something a tad more serious than a subpoena -- convictions on federal corruption charges. One of the two, ex-New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin, is staring down the gauntlet of a possible 20-year prison term. He's the guy who decided to leave scores of school buses idle instead of deploying them to shuttle residents out of his city as Katrina took aim at New Orleans. Guilt on corruption charges may have be the least of his sins.
The other mayor, Tony Mack of Trenton, defiantly remains in office even after he's been convicted. Maddow depcicted Mack as a roguish ne'er-do-well who enjoys nothing so much as cutting loose with local seniors at his city's annual Christmas party.
What Maddow studiously neglected to mention is that both these corrupt pols are also Democrats -- though in the same segment, she was quite conscientious about citing the GOP party affiliation of ex-Connecticut governor John Rowland. If his name doesn't ring a bell, it's with good reason -- he too was convicted for corruption ... nearly 10 years ago. Rowland is now being investigated by another federal grand jury for possible campaign finance violations involving -- Maddow's words -- a "fellow Republican."
Sweetening the deal in Maddow's segment on Nagin (party affiliation, unmentioned), Mack (ditto), Rowland (Republican!) and Connecticut state lawmaker tied to Rowland (fellow Republican!) was perpetually besmirked NBC anchor Brian Williams reporting on Rowland getting convicted back in December 2004 -- and Williams also mentioning that Rowland was a Republican.
At what point does a person ask if this eerily predictable pattern is actually one of design? Is there a stylebook in the MSNBC and NBC, uh, "newsrooms" that offers specific instructions for reporting on politicians suspected or nailed for wrongdoing? To wit, if he or she is a Democrat, the purported journalist at MSNBC or NBC should play dumb (fortunately this isn't a challenge for most, particularly Meredith Vieira) and not mention party affiliation. But if the corrupt pol is a Republican, mention it ASAP. Within seconds of the start of your show, if at all possible. So important in setting tone.
So while Maddow wasted little time last night in pointing out that McCrory is a Republican, she could not bear to cite the awkward political affiliation of the man investigating McCrory's administration -- Thomas Walker, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, appointed by President Obama in 2011.
If McCrory were a Democrat and the U.S. attorney investigating one of his agencies had been appointed by George W. Bush, is it remotely possible to believe Maddow would neglect to tell her viewers? Just the opposite -- she'd obsess on it for weeks, as she's done with the Bridgegate scandal she fervently hopes will derail Chris Christie.