NBC’s Chuck Todd could serve as a poster boy for the pathetic state of modern television news and opinion. A consistent champion of moronic both-sidesism, Todd is a flagship network personality who occasionally writes pedestrian takes on President Obama that indulge Beltway groupthink and hosts occasional white power segments — qualities that apparently make him perfect for NBC’s new plan to make its MSNBC cable channel more like Joe Scarborough and less like Rachel Maddow.
In the latest sign of this disturbing Toddian trend towards fake, right wing-friendly news, this past Sunday’s Meet The Press saw a panel discuss the completely-discredited David Daleiden smear videos of Planned Parenthood as if they represent a factual reality of some kind rather than a fraud being perpetrated on the news-consuming public. Daleiden made sure that Republicans saw the videos early so they could be unified in their response, so of course Todd made sure to mention that unity of purpose as a sign of strength instead of foul play — and wondered aloud whether Planned Parenthood is doomed on this fallacious basis. Who cares if the evidence is a series of bald-faced lies? Only the drama is a subject worthy of discussion! Never mind the immense damage to American public health that would ensue if millions of low-income women lost access to prenatal care, pap smears, and contraception as the result of proven fabrications. Poor women dying of preventable causes aren’t an appropriate use of air time on Very Serious Programs, but fake videos are. See how that works?
Sadly, we are still frighteningly close to experiencing Nigerian yellowcake uranium and aluminum tubes all over again. When mainstream news has been fully Drudgified and Breitbartized, who will need lying White House neocons to start a war anymore? When vaccine deniers can drive the news cycle, is there any hope left for us? Hillary email nontroversies, Benghazi conspiracies, and a laundry-list of Bigfoot-style political sham issues stand to dominate yet another critical election cycle, blocking out honest discussion of important issues that have actual, real, not-imaginary impact on American lives. It has been six years since Deleiden’s rapetastic friend James O’Keefe destroyed the most important anti-poverty organization in the country with a similarly-contrived set of videos and a pre-arranged rapid Republican response, but our mainstream media organizations seem little better at screening out this smoke, and no more willing to fight these false fires, than they were back then.
Why is Daleiden treated like a rock star at the Koch brothers’ bill mill get-together? Because the right doesn’t care whether his videos are fake or not, and they know it won’t matter to Chuck Todd, either.
Consider the fact that Deleiden’s ‘Center for Medical Progress’ lied to the IRS in order to entrap Planned Parenthood on camera. Remember the manufactured controversy over IRS screening of nonprofit applications that consumed all the oxygen in Washington a couple of years ago? That whole episode makes more sense when you realize how toothless and castrated the IRS is today whilst right wing organizers invent a million malevolent uses for fraudulent nonprofit organizations that will never face scrutiny. Todd drew intense criticism from reactionary voices for even suggesting that phony scandal was anything less than Watergate in scope or meaning, but now he can’t — or won’t — close the cognitive loop for viewers in this situation. There’s no upside in making Townhall.com mad at him again by doing that.
Which brings me to the point of this post: we have to stop Chuck Todd before he destroys us all with false centrism. No, I don’t mean that an angry, pitchfork-wielding crowd of leftists should storm 30 Rock like the Bastille (although the visuals of that protest would be awesome). Rather, it is up to us gadfly bloggers to keep Todd accountable, because there really is no other ‘liberal media’ that can do the job anymore. After all, MSNBC surely won’t be holding Todd’s feet to the fire anytime soon, and they were once the most liberal news channel on cable. It’s going to take a Media Matters-sized effort to keep Chuck Todd from traipsing down a destructive right wing primrose path. It’s going to take countless listicles of ‘Twenty Times Chuck Todd Let Discredited GOP Talking Points Stand,’ data-driven criticisms of his editorial choices, and endless spilled electrons to do this important job, but somebody must, or else America is doomed.