Tag Archives: MSNBC

Believe in the system

James Comey has come out of a form of hiding by writing a book of fiction and today was on the air promoting that book.

I want to discuss briefly, though, something that the former FBI director told an MSNBC interviewer about the lengthy, complicated and elaborate examination of allegations leveled against Donald J. Trump.

Comey said today that he believes in the system that is seeking the truth behind the insurrection of 1/6 and on the issue of those classified documents that Trump took with him to Florida when he left office.

The 1/6 insurrection might — or might not — result in a criminal indictment against Trump, according to Comey, who then added that he would accept a “no indictment” decision. Why? Because it’s his belief in the system.

I happen to agree with Comey’s belief in the system that is at work. I have stated already on this blog that if special counsel Jack Smith’s team cannot produce enough evidence to indict Trump on the insurrection — and it is a complicated case, to be sure — then we should prepare ourselves for the possibility that the ex-POTUS won’t be charged.

Now, to be clear, that doesn’t in any way suggest that Trump will walk away from the classified documents probe. Comey said today what others have been saying for some time, that the documents case is the stronger one that Smith is finishing.

We also have the Fulton County, Ga., probe into election interference and the indictment already delivered by the Manhattan, N.Y., grand jury involving the hush money payment to an adult film performer who says she and Trump had a fling in 2006, but that Trump paid her 130 grand to keep quiet … about an event he denies ever occurred! Go figure.

I am not going to join the conspiracy chorus that suggests only an indictment would satisfy them. Do I think Trump should be prosecuted for the insurrection I believe he instigated? Yes!

However, the probe is being handled by seasoned, experienced and hard-bitten pros. It’s their call exclusively. Therefore, I will place my trust in them to come to a just conclusion … even if I disagree with their findings.


Why are we talking about … Trump?

A TV talking head vented a good bit of frustration this morning and since I was awake early, I tuned in to listen to it.

The venting had to do with Donald Trump. The talking head was Mike Barnicle, a regular on an MSNBC talk show. He wants to know:

Why are we still talking about Donald Trump? Why is it that whenever the subject of the “Republican Party” comes up, the conversation turns to Trump, a guy who has delivered more damage to our democratic process than any politician alive today?

You know what? I share Barnicle’s frustration!

To be sure, I continue to devote a good bit of my energy to talking about Trump on this blog. I don’t apologize for that. After all, the dude is still making news. He gets in the way of every damn thing there is to discuss.

The only justification I can attach to this is that the individual is, after all, a former president of the United States. As much as it pains me to acknowledge that fact, his status as a one–time commander in chief does more or less require those of us out here to take notice when he pops off.

I do share Barnicle’s frustration, though, with the media’s fixation with Trump. If only we could rid ourselves of this toxic presence among us.


Cultists need help? Uh, yeah!

“I’ve got to say if you’re out there and you believe those lies, even after they had been disproven, you’re stupid and you may want to call somebody — try to get in touch with a professional and see if you can be deprogrammed from the cult you’re now in.”

Who said this? Joe Scarborough said it. He’s a one-time Republican congressman from the Florida Panhandle. Scarborough is now an MSNBC morning talk show co-host; his wife, Mika Brzezinski is the other host.

He calls himself a conservative and I suppose he is. I mean, when he served in the House, he voted to impeach President Bill Clinton for lying about the seedy relationship he had with the White House intern.

He’s also a “never Trumper,” a guy who takes a great deal of joy out of firing rhetorical shrapnel at the ex-POTUS.

And … I have to say I agree with what he said about the “cultists” who adhere to The Big Lie repeated constantly by Donald J. Trump.

The Big Lie that says the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump has been disproven repeatedly. There was no “widespread vote fraud.” There was no electoral theft, at least not as Trump has tried to define it.

The cultists out there? Get some help. You frighten many of us.


Psaki should step down

Those critics of the Biden administration have a point in calling for press secretary Jen Psaki to resign her job as White House flack while awaiting a formal announcement that she is returning to cable TV news.

Psaki reportedly is close to signing a deal to join MSNBC as a commentator. Now, is that in itself a bum deal? No. It isn’t. However, she cannot perform the parallel role as spokeswoman for President Biden’s administration while waiting for new employer to make official what reportedly already is well-known among the Washington, DC press corps.

I believe Psaki has done a creditable job as press secretary. She has sought to give straight answers to straight questions. When she doesn’t know the answer, she has been fond of telling reporters that she is willing to “circle back” when she obtains the answers they seek. Nothing wrong at all with that.

She is now set to don some new proverbial attire as an MSNBC talking head. Psaki did work for CNN before joining the Biden administration in 2021, so it’s no big shakes that she would return to the fight with another network.

Psaki must not mix the two roles — as one who covers the news and one who on occasion makes the news. She is getting far too close to that line to make many of comfortable.


He takes ownership

(AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A brash and loud former TV commentator deserves high praise for the slow and careful re-emergence into the public eye after disappearing with virtually no warning earlier this year.

Chris Matthews, the retired MSNBC commentator and host of “Hardball,” has been seen on TV in recent days talking about the state of politics (of course) and the event that led to his sudden retirement from TV news and opinion.

Matthews was accused by a fellow reporter of making untoward remarks in her presence while they were preparing for a broadcast. Matthews has admitted in recent days that her accusation was accurate and that he acted boorishly.

He resigned from his “Hardball” gig on the air and then disappeared.

Matthews just now is beginning to return to the public discussion of politics and policy. He has told interviewers that he doesn’t deserve to be defended by those who stand with him. Matthews admitted to messing up. “Don’t defend me,” he told late-night host Stephen Colbert on Monday night.

He has taken full ownership of his transgression. I admire that about him. I also have enjoyed listening to his take on politics and policy over the years.

Now, though, Chris Matthews has demonstrated a trait we don’t always see in grown men who are caught behaving badly.

What kind of lowlife would do this?

I just cannot stop shaking my head in utter disgust.

Donald Trump continues to exhibit the traits of a disgraceful, despicable lowlife capable of defaming the characters of those with whom he has mere political disagreements.

His latest target happens to be an MSNBC talk show host, Joe Scarborough, a former Republican member of Congress who has since become a Trump critic.

The president of the United States of America has suggested several times openly that Scarborough had a hand in the death of a former congressional aide. Donald Trump has said Scarborough was responsible for the death of Lori Kaye Klausutis. Authorities have debunked anything of the sort.

Trump, though, keeps pitching that scurrilous lie. Not only is he seeking to harm the reputation of Joe Scarborough, Trump is brining untold suffering and pain to Klausutis’ family. Her widower has called on Trump to cease and desist. So has Utah GOP Sen. Mitt Romney, who has said “enough already” with the defamatory rhetoric.

When reporters ask Trump about the lie he keeps fomenting, he falls back on that lame “many people have said” defense.

To think, therefore, that this piece of sh** politician managed to get elected to the highest office in the land and that the individual masquerading as our head of state is continuing to conduct himself in such a reprehensible manner … while he should be focused exclusively on putting down a global pandemic that has killed 100,000 Americans.

Lori Kaye’s husband, T.J. Klausutis, has asked Twitter to take Trump’s tweets down. ā€œIā€™m asking you to intervene in this instance because the President of the United States has taken something that does not belong to him ā€” the memory of my dead wife ā€” and perverted it for perceived political gain,ā€ he wrote in a letter to Twitter. To date, the social medium has not done so, but it has put warnings out about the lies that Trump keeps fomenting.

Donald Trump is sickening in the extreme.

Trump sure to ramp up his war against ‘fake news media’

Donald Trump sought Monday to turn a White House “briefing” on the coronavirus pandemic into a campaign pitch for his re-election.

To their credit, two major cable news networks — CNN and MSNBC — decided that viewers did not need to see a propaganda video in place of what was supposed to be an analysis of the federal government’s response to the worldwide health crisis.

Fox News, of course, stayed with it, no doubt to Trump’s pleasure. That’s their call.

I want to applaud CNN and MSBNC for exhibiting sound news judgment in deciding that Trump’s self-aggrandization should not be part of a sober assessment of a health crisis that has killed more than 20,000 Americans and sickened more than a half-million of us; and be sure, those numbers might be far fewer than the reality, given the shocking shortage of testing equipment to determine the actual infection rate.

You can take this to the bank as well: Donald Trump is going to ramp up his war against what he labels falsely the “fake news media” outlets that refuse to pander to his every wish.

He doesn’t grasp — or refuses to grasp — the principle behind a “free press.” The principle that he ignores is that the media do not work for him; they work for the public.

That likely won’t stop the Imbecile in Chief from going ballistic against the media who, I hasten to add one more time, are just doing their job.

Public service vs. private enrichment

I know this happens to all of us. We hear someone offer an analysis of an important issue and we think: Dang, I wish I said that!

Thus, I cannot take credit for a thought I want to pass along on this blog. It came from Lawrence O’Donnell, an MSNBC talking head as he concluded an interview with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo has emerged as a serious superstar as he briefs the nation of the trouble his state is enduring from the coronavirus pandemic. New York has become the latest epicenter of the crisis around the world. Cuomo has been a giant of reason, of calm, of knowledge and of confidence as he has talked about the challenges he faces daily while his constituents are becoming and are dying from the virus.

On the other hand …

We have the president of the United States, Donald Trump, who’s been haphazard, incoherent, vacillating, confused and confusing as he tries to bluff his way through what the federal government response has been to date.

O’Donnell wanted to congratulate Cuomo for his leadership. He did so by telling us all that the difference between Cuomo and Trump is that the governor has spent the vast bulk of his adult life in public service; Trump spent his entire adult life — prior to becoming elected president — seeking to enrich himself.

Therein, said O’Donnell, lies the difference. Cuomo worked for his father, the late Gov. Mario Cuomo; he worked as housing secretary in the Clinton administration; he has served as New York attorney general and now as governor.

Trump parlayed a multimillion-dollar stake from his father into building a real estate business. He has launched several failed enterprises, declared bankruptcy several times, played host to a reality TV show, owned and managed beauty pageants ā€¦ all while exhibiting boorish conduct that is still on display even while he serves as president of the United States.

You want a juxtaposition that explains it all? There it is.

I wish I had said it first. I didn’t. Thanks for saying out loud, Lawrence O’Donnell, what many of us have thought all along.

Matthews’ departure comes into sharper focus

I admit readily — and I have done so many times — that I am not the most intuitive guy in the world.

People say things that zoom straight over my noggin and I barely take note of how offensive their statements might seem to others, such as, oh, women or minorities.

When I heard last night from Chris Matthews himself on TV say that he was leaving MSNBC immediately and ending his two-decade run of “Hardball,” I was flummoxed initially. What the hell just happened? I wondered.

Then I heard about the things he said to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, questioning whether a woman she quoted in a Democratic presidential debate could have been lying about something Michael Bloomberg allegedly told her. It didn’t dawn on me in the moment, when Matthews and Warren sparred over that exchange, that women took serious offense to the questioning that Matthews was leveling at Warren.

Then came reports about Matthews hitting on women on his show, telling one of them how he had failed to “fall in love” with her. She reportedly took offense at the seeming come-on.

Matthews quit suddenly while admitting that times have changed from when the now 74-year-old was coming of age. Things that men said back then are no longer acceptable, he said. He apologized for what he had said.

I have commented already how I will miss his commentary. Yes, I have enjoyed watching him spar and joust with politicians. I have admired his ability to challenge those with whom agrees politically as readily as he does with those on the other side of the fence. To be candid, I didn’t pick up on the issues that others have identified as offensive.

When he wondered aloud about Bernie Sanders’ win in Nevada was akin to the Nazi conquest of France during World War II, I thought: Oh, that’s an interesting analogy. I didn’t cringe as others have done.

So now he’s gone from the air. Matthews could be abrasive, brash and loud. I heard all of that. It didn’t phase me.

I don’t know if any of this will sharpen my intuitive instincts. Maybe it will. If it doesn’t, I want to apologize in advance for any offense that I won’t take when someone pops off.

Thanks for the memories, Chris Matthews

Now that I have caught my breath — more or less — I want to say a word or two about a stunning announcement that hit me like a slap in the chops as I waited to hear from one of my favorite TV commentators.

Chris Matthews instead came on the air and said he was leaving a show I’ve been watching for the past two decades. That would be “Hardball.”

Matthews is gone. Just like that.

Well, my first reaction was: What in the name of unwelcomed surprises was that all about ? It turns out that Matthews and his MSNBC bosses thought they should part company over some on-air and off-air missteps.

Tonight the host apologized for saying something complimentary about a woman’s appearance, which someone must have thought was inappropriate. He earlier apologized correctly for invoking a Nazi Holocaust reference to Bernie Sanders’ stunning Nevada caucus victory.

Now he’s gone.

He spoke of the many fans of his who have enjoyed watching his commentary on the air. I am one of them. I long have gotten much about this man’s snappy, staccato rhetoric that he delivered at times over the voices of his guests. Still, this guy always has something interesting to say and he says it in a sort of regular-guy sort of manner that I find so amazingly appealing.

Matthews is no stranger to politics. He wrote speeches for President Carter, worked as an aide to House Speaker Tip O’Neill. He’s been at the center of power for decades. He has reported on the center of power as a reporter and columnist for the San Francisco Examiner.

The man’s knowledge is obvious. His love of politics and his belief in politics as a noble profession is equally so.

I am going to miss Chris Matthews’ perspective, which he delivered to us nightly with courage and ferocity.