Here's the burning question for media to get their head around: Is it more important to investigate the clear wrongdoing of this godforsaken "president" and his "administration" or should everything be viewed through the lens of public relations?
I wonder, was Chuck Todd so worried about Republicans muddled "messaging" when they were investigating the very bogus IRS "scandal," or the seven separate Benghazi investigations? No? I'm shocked, so shocked.
But right now, Chuck and his Gang of Three are very, very, very worried about all the investigations Democrats have been forced to open because of the utter craven malfeasance of the current occupant of the White House. As if it somehow their fault that the Trump crime syndicate is operating in plain view of everyone.
In Chuck Todd's eyes, everything is about PR. He starts by mocking the House Oversight Committee's contempt vote, even as he says he's not mocking it. DUH, Chuck, of course you are.
"I'm not trying to mock it," Todd said, mockingly. "I think they're serious allegations but there's a PR problem."
The only PR problem is a lazy Beltway media who doesn't seem to want to be bothered with the truth of a thing.
From there, we get former Senator Claire "Progressives Are Mean" McCaskill weighing in, before Republican-but-never-Trumper Charlie Sykes gets a whack. Rounding out the "views from Wisconsin, Missouri and Illinois," Chicago reporter Rick Pearson jumps in with his opinion.
I don't need to quote them because they all nod in serious agreement with Chuck Todd. Yes, there is a PR problem. McCaskill helpfully leaps in to remind everyone that people are having trouble paying for insulin, forgawdsake, and could Dems just stay on task because you know those investigations aren't going to shake insulin from trees.
Oh, for the love of all things just and true, can someone explain to me how it is that this corrupt crime syndicate of a Trump administration gets a pass for everything it does because the "messaging" is muddled as a consequence of the sheer volume of transgressions they commit daily?
Toward the end of this Dem-bashery, McCaskill observes, "So we're losing. It is like a bed of nails. If you add one sharp object, it would hurt. A bed of nails, people are getting comfortable with it."
To which Oracle Chuck Todd answers, "Yeah. That's the problem. That's the story of Donald Trump's professional life, by the way. People get comfortable. Whether it is loan sh--, guys that are bankers, Republican party officials, you name it. Anyway, you're describing Donald Trump's success story in sort of one fell swoop there."
Sweet baby Jesus, Chuckles. Do you think perhaps your pearl-clutching over appearances has anything at all to do with why Trump gets to keep applying this sick formula for success? Maybe, just maybe, proper oversight into every single one of Trump's transgressions is a way to keep folks UNcomfortable.
If only there were some political commentators who could help clarify the message for viewers. If only.
Full transcript below:
TODD: So Claire, let me start with you. This is your party. I know you would be outspoken if you were still sitting in Congress right now about this. So I know you'll be outspoken about it now. But I have to say, sitting back, especially not being in Washington for a day. You sit here and go, all right. Bill Barr has been held in contempt. What does this have to do with the Mueller report? This is the census? I'm not trying to mock it. I think they're all very serious allegations but I think they have a PR problem.
MCCASKILL: There's no question there's a problem of discipline of message here. Nancy Pelosi has a hard job. But she's going to have to be a better traffic cop on the timing of hearings. I thought the announcement was very powerful that Cummings made about zero cooperation on anything. That should have been front and center all by itself for a day.
TODD: No Donald Trump Jr. No Hope Hicks announcement. None of that.
MCCASKILL: No holding in contempt. The American people need to understand, he is not just blocking questions about the census. He's blocking everything. And that's a really important message and it totally got stomped on.
TODD: Charlie Sykes? You know, how is it playing in Wisconsin?
SYKES: Well, I think you're right. Eyes are glazing over. People are tuning out. You do need a score card to keep track of all this. And it is not just that they lack message discipline. There is no message. Rolling out John Dean. Who thought that was a good idea? There's going to be a window here. But it's going to be closing. And they're going to have to decide. Are they going to go ahead with impeachment? Will they get Robert Mueller out there in these televised hearings? Otherwise, they have lost this and it is over in terms of the messaging war.
TODD: Let me put this in Chicago terms, Rick. Chicago politics has its own reputation. In some ways, there is part of me think thats, oh, please, this is nothing.
You want to talk about interference in an election. I'm being facetious. I'll get the email.
I'm going to get the email. We're not like that anymore, and I believe you're not.
PEARSON: Rolls his eyes.
TODD: I say this. Do democrats need to be careful basically, as outraged as they are. They're just outraged by all politicians these days.
PEARSON: I think they have to be very careful. I do understand why Nancy Pelosi is trying to keep a handle on this. It is very difficult when you have the various elements of a party more progressive than ever coming out for impeachment. Nevertheless, for the most part, it is not something you hear the regular voters talking about. It is still bread and butter issues.
TODD: Claire, you were screaming that during your campaign.
TODD: Nobody is talking about this stuff. They're not happy about it. If you ask them, they want the president to cooperate. It's not that they don't want these things. So how do you better explain it?
MCCASKILL: I think we've got to make sure the bubble that is around Washington gets busted up a little bit.
TODD: I'd argue the bubble is thicker in New York.
MCCASKILL: Probably both places. The point is, people out there can't afford insulin. People out there are really worried about whether or not they can afford to retire. And those kinds of things are not getting talked about in all this. They have the majority in the house. They'll have to figure out how to tackle this thing in a way that makes more sense. Just doing something more on the Mueller report. People haven't read the Mueller report. So we're losing. It is like a bed of nails. If you add one sharp object, it would hurt. A bed of nails, people are getting comfortable with it.
TODD: Yeah. That's the problem. That's the story of Donald Trump's professional life, by the way. People get comfortable. Whether it is loan sh--, guys that are bankers, Republican party officials, you name it. Anyway, you're describing Donald Trump's success story in sort of one fell swoop there.