The struggle to maintain “group think” on MSNBC continues. The subject for today: John McCain chose Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate on the Republican ticket for the U. S. Presidency.
Since the passing of Tim Russert, there has been evident strain within the on-air staff in the NBC news family. MSNBC has positioned itself as the uber-liberal news network with Fox News as its nemesis. Especially during the evening lineup, the network is in the tank for Obama. Moderate, conservative and/or Republican voices are on the chopping block. Dan Abrams has already had his program axed. Keith Olbermann ushered Rachel Maddow into the time slot formerly occupied by Abrams. Pat Buchanan and Joe Scarborough alternate between conforming to “group think” and asserting diverging views. Pat Buchanan appears to be next on the chopping block, as Rachel Maddow, the rising star of the network, has already aired her grievances against Pat Buchanan, with Chris Matthews tag-teaming.
Tonight, Chris Matthews was playing more than “Hardball.” I think he was trying to play “beanball,” trying to hit somebody with his hardest pitches. He was practically unhinged, acting as if the McCain camp had played a dirty trick on him, and he was out for blood. Chuck Todd chimed in with charges of “gimmicky” to reinforce the dirty trick notion. Chris Matthews tried to tie Sarah Palin to Pat Buchanan’s most xenophobic cultural views in an attempt to assassinate both her character and build the case to give Buchanan the pink slip. Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, and Rachel Maddow are working hard to demonize Buchanan as much as possible, perhaps hoping to make him look worse than Ayers and Rezko so that tying Palin to Buchanan appears more horrific than the ties between Ayers, Rezko and Obama.
Just like saying there’s no difference whatsoever between McCain and Bush is irresponsibly dishonest, so is equating Palin with Buchanan, and that is exactly the political hatchet job that Matthews was trying to pull off on his “Hardball” program. Only Andrea Mitchell tried soften the bludgeoning blows that Chris Matthews was trying to land on Palin.
Matthews has also dishonestly overstated Palin’s views on homosexuality and abortion as being cruelly in violation of human rights, since that’s how Matthews was trying to characterize Buchanan. Matthews is portraying Palin as a devout Buchanan disciple. Unfortunately, there are no checks and balances at NBC to reign in Matthews excesses.
Olbermann is often seen as the one who really pushes the envelope for the extreme left on the network, but he softens his commentary with humor. Matthews and Maddow have recently cut out the humor and have unveiled a downright savage demeanor.