Talk about a lack of irony. Hardball guest host Michael Smerconish on Thursday lectured Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and the GOP to avoid "retreating" to "echo chambers" such as Fox News. Smerconish did this on MSNBC, the home of Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O'Donnell, Chris Hayes and Ed Schultz.
Smerconish, with no sense of self awareness for his own network's echo chamber, scolded, "And this is how you [appeal to more people]? By shutting out news outlets and retreating to your own Fox News echo chamber. If [Priebus] gets his way, it isn't new voices that the party will be hearing and reaching, just their own." On this concept of partisans talking to partisans, Smerconish threw a question to the deeply liberal Joan Walsh. [UPDATED: See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Mentioning the day after the 2012 election, the guest host wondered, "Joan, I used the words echo chamber...[Conservatives] didn't see it coming. They really didn't recognize that it's a big country out there."
Walsh smugly agreed, "Because they were only talking to each other and they were only watching Fox News, and they were only listening to Rush."
The whole discussion was based on the news that
Priebus is moving to ban NBC and CNN from hosting 2016 debates, should they go forward with friendly, pro-Hillary Clinton movies.
How often does Joan Walsh talk to conservatives who disagree with her? It's true that former RNC chairman Michael Steele was on the program, but he only partially disagreed with Smerconish and Walsh.
A partial transcript of the August 8 Hardball segment is below:
MICHAEL SMERCONISH: Priebus is wading dangerously into an ideology which even he has warned against. That would be party isolationism. And here's the proof, speaking to conservative radio host Andrea Tantaros , he endorsed an idea to let the far right control the debates and this is that plan.
SMERCONISH: Now, here's the irony. Priebus led a massive GOP autopsy to figure out why they got crushed in the last election. The results? The party needs to, quote, learn to appeal to more people. And this is how you do it? By shutting out news outlets and retreating to your own Fox News echo chamber. If he gets his way, it isn't new voices that the party will be hearing and reaching, just their own.
SMERCONISH: Joan, I used the words echo chamber. And what I was thinking of the when I said that was the Wednesday morning after 2012's election when those who were paying attention only to Drudge, only to talk radio and only to Fox, it was like a truck had hit them. They didn't see it coming. They really didn't recognize that it's a big country out there.
JOAN WALSH: Because they were only talking to each other and they were only watching Fox News, and they were only listening to Rush.