Rachel Maddow understands the utility of a good old-fashioned riot.
While not exactly born and bred in the rough-and-tumble inner city (unless the green pastures of Stanford and Oxford count), Maddow has a wonderful vantage point—from her MSNBC news desk in New York City—to observe the little people and their affairs. Sadly, on Tuesday night, Maddow did not stop at mere observation or (despite what she frequently claims) straight reporting.
Around 10 p.m., as the Baltimore riots burned to an ember, a reflective Maddow waxed philosophic with her counterpart, Toure (himself a graduate of Milton Academy, Emory University, and Columbia University), on the virtues of violent rebellion.
Toure: To speak to something that you said earlier that was very interesting…when the protests escalate to something violent then, yes, the national media comes and the world pays attention…but it becomes hard to create a broad coalition of national sympathy for your position when you are being violent…you are taking one step forward but three steps back…
Maddow: Right, it’s the great strategic conundrum: violence builds nothing, but it does get you a heck of a lot of attention…right now people are saying [we] would not be here had there not been violence in the community…I think they’re right, I think they’re right, and the question is how to build a constructive, forward thinking…movement in a way that still gets them the attention they need…
The comments by Toure and Maddow are shameful and should be condemned. In very explicit terms, the MSNBC hosts are pointing to, and advocating for, the utility of violence to call attention to social or political issues. In this exchange, both Toure and Maddow speak of violence in terms of a pre-condition that must be fulfilled before (presumably non-violent) change can occur.
Normally, this kind of riot-mongering would cause me greater consternation, but, thanks to the fact this was MSNBC’s lowest rated month in 10 years, I’m sure no one paid any mind.
President Barack Obama's top adviser, Valerie Jarrett, went around the table and kissed reporters before an interview this morning on MNSBC's Morning Joe. The moment was briefly captured on live television before the network cut away to a commercial break.
President Obama is holding a closed-door White House meeting with "immigration advocacy leaders" this morning, the White House announced. Later today the president will hold an immigration townhall in Miami, which will be broadcast on MSNBC.
"In the morning, the President will meet with immigration advocacy leaders to provide an update on the Administration’s immigration accountability executive actions. This meeting in the Roosevelt Room is closed press," the White House schedule reads.
An MSNBC reporter asked Rick Perry in an interview that aired this morning whether the Texas governor is "smart enough to be president of the United States." Perry responded that "running for the presidency is not an IQ test."
Joe Klein of Time defended Israel's military actions in Gaza on MSNBC's Morning Joe Thursday. Klein, a self-described critic of Israel's support of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, nonetheless argued that Western media needed to do a better job of telling Israel's side of the story, a point he debated with NBC News's Andrea Mitchell.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough got in a heated debate with colleague Chuck Todd Thursday morning over whether the father of recently released POW Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl should be subject to criticism over his actions. Scarborough criticized the Obama administration for including Bob Bergdahl in a Rose Garden announcement on Saturday to announce the release of Bowe in exchange for five Taliban officials who had been detained at Guantanamo Bay.
“Joe, Joe, let's not. Don’t criticize the parents,” Todd replied. “Don’t criticize the parents in here."
Things have been a bit of a mess at MSNBC lately. The network’s fortunes are tied to the fate of liberalism, and with Obama’s undeniable incompetence the preeminent political topic for the last few months, this has sent the network off on an increasingly desperate search for right-wing villainy to discuss. The results have not been pretty.
On Tuesday night, Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner debated MSNBC host Chris Hayes and former Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke over the question of the religious freedom and Obamacare's mandate that employers provide insurance that covers contraception. Watch the video below:
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida congresswoman and chair of the Democratic National Committee, told viewers of MSNBC Tuesday that Americans were not "myzled" by President Obama when it came to being able to keep their health plans under Obamacare.
"At the end of the day, Americans were not only not myzled [sic] by the president, the overwhelming majority of Americans are already insured," Wasserman Schultz said, apparently mispronouncing the word "misled."