CBS’s ‘Madam Secretary’ Politicizes NFL and Violates Hatch Act

October 31st, 2016 2:01 AM

In Sunday night’s Madam Secretary on CBS, the episode titled “The Dissent Memo” shows a flagrant violation of the Hatch Act while politicizing the NFL. A two-for-one!

Madam Secretary Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni) a.k.a. Madam Hillary is sent to Cleveland to help put President Dalton on the ballot as a third party candidate and that requires a change in that state’s election law. So, the Secretary of State conveniently goes on TV to tout the “NFL Diplomacy Initiative” in an interview with NFL commentator James Brown.

During the interview, Brown works in the fact that Ohio law will have to ‘evolve’ so that Madam Secretary’s boss, the president, can be on the ballot. The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees – including the Secretary of State – from taking part in partisan political activity. Secretary McCord does the wink, wink, nod, nod when her staff questions this move. Sounds like current election shenanigans, right? The rules only apply to some people, not all.

Nadine: And we've added the NFL Diplomacy Initiative in Cleveland, ma'am.

Elizabeth: Yeah, the President is stepping off the campaign trail. I'm just gonna fill in.

Jay: As in, campaigning?

Elizabeth: No, no. It-it's just a little...Pre-game interview about...Football and diplomacy. Yeah. Well, Russell Jackson insists it's legal.

Matt: Hey, wait. Who's doing the interview?

Nadine: James Brown.

Blake: Oh, I thought he was dead.

Jay: No. That would be, uh, fellow diplomat and ambassador of soul, James Brown. This would be CBS Sportscaster James Brown. J.B.!

Nadine: And what exactly is it that Russell Jackson would like you to say? Legally.

Matt: What about this? Um, Dalton's not on the ballot because of the sore loser law, right? Just recently, the NFL changed the extra point rule...

Daisy: Yeah, too many kickers were making it, so they moved it back to the 15 yard line.

Matt: Right, and just as the NFL can change the rules, to make the game fair and competitive...

Daisy: So Ohio can reexamine its policy in this historically unprecedented third party run. Yes!

Elizabeth: Oh, that's good. Oh, I like that. I like that. Give more of those.

Nadine: Okay, moving on...

Brown: When will we see NFL football in, say, France?

Elizabeth: Well, that... That's a... That's a tricky question. I think, uh, every country loves its game just as much as we love ours. And change is hard. 1906, football fans were scandalized by the invention of the forward pass, and now it's a definitive signature of the game. So rules do need to evolve.

Brown: Now, President Dalton is looking to make a few changed in the upcoming election, too, isn't that right?

Elizabeth: Well, I'm... I'm happy that you brought that up. Uh... Because as much as President Dalton is supported and trusted by the American people, certain rules will need to evolve to accommodate this historic third-party run.

Brown: Well, with that being said, we're gonna take a little break, but, Secretary Mccord, thank you again for taking the time.

Elizabeth: It's my pleasure. Go, Browns!

But it wasn’t as though Secretary McCord didn’t have international emergencies to attend to in Washington. The corrupt president of Angola was about to steal the election from his opponent – a woman. The secretary just happened to meet a young tech mogul – he created a messaging app – when she did that NFL show interview and was able to use his skills to bring Internet access back to the people of Angola after their president cut the service just before the election. All the pieces fell perfectly into place and the first woman president was elected in Angola.

Note that this episode aired just nine days before the first woman president might be elected in the U.S. Just a coincidence, I’m sure.