Longtime readers may remember that for many years I wrote a regular, weekly vivisection of the network Sunday political/news shows (usually) under the heading "Sunday Morning Comin' Down".
The main reason I don't do that much anymore is because the Sunday shows are so utterly predictable. What should be weekly public forum for well-informed adults to debate the real crises facing our country stopped resembling anything like the "news" a long time ago.
Instead, every god damn week, the networks trot out the mindless, zombie corpse of what was once something worthwhile that has been trained to shamble through its soul-crushingly predictable paces.
It is a recurring, low-grade nightmare with the same goofs and meatheads reciting the same empty Beltway talking points over and over again, so I have a hard time convincing myself of the value in writing the 1000th essay on the subject of "It's all still horrible and all the worst people still have command of the public square."
But what I did not expect was that Chuck Todd would deliver to me, completely by accident, the distilled quintessence of everything that is f--ked-in-the-head about the Beltway media. This brief exchange between Todd and New York Times conservative climate-denying hack Bret Stephens is perfect, requires no emendation on my part, and I hope that future generations seeking to understand what went so terribly wrong with the American media find it a useful Rosetta Stone.
From Meet the Press yesterday:
CHUCK TODD: ... I think the best way to set up this conversation is I want to read for you Andrew Sullivan's take and Erick Erickson's take on the president this week. They both agree on one thing, that the president had erratic behavior. And that's as far as they get. Here is Andrew Sullivan. "If you can begin even to engage this bizarre, dangerous, deranged, and ignorant stream of consciousness, and try to discern some kind of logic or pattern, your brain will break." Here's Erick Erickson. "I’d rather a president whose behavior makes other people feel comfortable being braying jackasses than a Democrat who wants to take away my healthcare while giving healthcare to illegal aliens. "The President may be nuts in his behavior, but I’ll take his crazy over the insanity the Democrats would unleash on the United States." Bret Stephens, I feel like it's an interesting -- in the Erickson rationale, I thought I heard a little bit of that rationale, a bit, in Mr. McIntosh.
BRET STEPHENS: It's extraordinarily Manichean. I mean, let's see who the Democrats wind up nominating. The real issue, for Republicans, is simply to call out the fact that the president does not stand, in any way, for the traditional, conservative economic principles that have defined the party for the better part of the last 70 years...
I have nothing to add.
Republished with permission from Driftglass