Courageous truth teller. Those were the three words that I once used to describe Rachel Maddow. This was back during the Bush years, when Maddow regularly took the Bush administration to task, called out the immorality of GW’s war of choice and highlighted the malicious nature of Bush’s economic policies. Rachel was my hero; the first time I tuned into her show and realized how she was able to weave narrative with well timed dead pans and flashy graphics, I was hooked! For an hour each night, whatever anger and antipathy I was feeling was soothed by the Rachel Maddow Show.
Oh what a difference a decade makes. Even though I kept following Maddow after Bush was replaced by Obama, the fervor and zeal I had to tune in to MSNBC every night at 9:00 PM was suddenly lost. The anti-hero Bush was no longer there and Obama, my then hero, replaced whatever animus I had towards Republicans with a hope that things would be different in DC. Even though Obama would go on to prove that he was no different than Bush, and in fact in the realm of economic policies and immoral wars he was actually worse, I nevertheless was too blinded by partisan loyalty and political hackery to dare question dear leader and “my” Democratic party. It was a dance with reality’s harsh kicks and getting mugged by indigence that shed my partisan blinders and let me see the bullshit of this left vs right divide.
So it is with this wisdom gained through hindsight that I present this assessment of the Maddow debacle last night in ways that few in the mainstream media will ever talk about. The rage and outrage that Maddow acts out, and I did say act on purpose, is nothing but a reality show and one big circus. First off, the happiest people in the world when Trump got elected were the established media for they knew immediately that they have a carnival barker who draws ratings through his infantile rantings. So the outrage the likes of Maddow and the left leaning journalists have about Trump is one big charade—they are thanking their gods on a nightly basis that Trump is president for Trump is a gift that keeps giving back. Why do you think the MSM gave Trump over $200 million in in-kind political contributions by way of “earned media” during the 2016 campaign? That was an investment the mainstream media made in Trump and you are now witnessing them reaping their profits.
Maddow and the yellow press journalists at MSNBC, CNN, Washington Post, Huffington Post, New York Times, Fox News and the rest of the prevaricating cabal have a codependent relationship with Trump. Trump needs them because he is an insecure prick and a narcissistic ogre who is willing to sell his soul in order to garner headlines. For a mental midgets like Trump, fame and infamy are one in the same—as long as he gets top billing it doesn’t matter to Trump whether he is the hero or the villain. And for the mainstream media journalists, they are willing to sell their own mothers down the river in order to maintain their status as opinion leaders as they pretend they are Cronkite 2.0.
In reality, these journalists from Maddow, Hannity, O’Reilly, Zakaria to your favorite vacuous pundit are more like a cross between Tokyo Rose and Baghdad Bob. To call them a journalist is to call Pee Wee Herman the next coming of Aristotle. All of them pretend to be selling hard news with their breaking stories when in reality they are breaking the fourth estate and journalism by peddling smut and half-truths. Our mainstream media would make Joseph Goebbels, the inventor of modern propaganda, proud for these empty suits in news rooms are nothing more than corporate lackeys who do the bidding of their corporate owners. You don’t have to take my word for it, watch this video about a media insider as he reveals how news rooms time and time again quash stories when their media sponsors object.
This is the problem with our mainstream media; they are beholden to the corporate agenda for their money and profits are derived from corporations. This is one truth that you can take to the bank, when people are forced to choose between their livelihood (read money) and principles, the overwhelming majority of the time people will choose income over their moral compass. So when pundits on TV and in the media as a whole are paid high six figure salaries and more and more making millions of dollars, what makes you think they will choose honor over cash? How many of us stay at jobs we hate because of mortgages and rent? Well imagine that dilemma by factors of hundreds when these media blowhards are faced with the choice of doing something honorable and risk losing their jobs. After all, paychecks make slaves out of many men and women.
Let’s discuss last night’s supposed “bombshell” that Maddow hyped up for almost a week only to deliver a stink bomb. The smoking gun ended up being a pee shooter as Maddow presented a two page tax return as if she was showcasing the Pentagon papers. The tax fillings had nothing of substance; it showed Trump paid his taxes and that he does the same thing that all rich assholes do—he gamed tax laws in order to pay an effective tax rate less than most blue-collar hard working Americans. Maddow ended up helping the cause of Trump because the two page “dossier” did not contain anything damning. By presenting an over-hyped story, Maddow just gave cover to Trump’s more sinister ploys he has deployed for decades in order to enhance the fortunes that he inherited from his father.
And herein lies the hustle between so-called journalists and the powers they are supposed to keep in check. The era of muckrakers, who used to follow tips and hit the pavement chasing all leads is long dead and over. Journalistic standards are non-existent and with it the profession of journalism has gone the way of Blockbuster. What we have now is a cohort of gossip mongers and cackling fools who push sensationalism as news and who are acting as enablers of the very same people they are supposed to keep honest. The endless use of blind sources and having conversations with politicians and policy makers on background has created an industry of intentional leaks and whisper campaigns where we as a people are unable to assess the veracity of stories since rarely are we told the source of the news we are being presented.
In all likelihood, it was a Trump insider that “leaked” the tax information to Maddow since Rachel’s story has been a boon for Donald. And more than likely, Maddow knew it was a Trump insider that presented the papers but she went right on ahead and made it seem like we are dealing with a modern day Watergate. If Maddow really wanted to blow the cover off Trump, it would take just one reporter dedicated to following leads and connecting paper trails in New York to come up with a scandal about our president that would shock our conscience. Trump’s depraved lifestyle in New York is legendary, the public record of his thrice divorce, the weird ways he has sexually fawned over his own daughter Ivanka and the way he objectifies women is enough to let us know that we are dealing with a man who has a pathology that even Freud would blanch over. Trump is pure id, what Freud defined as the part of the mind that acts on impulse and seeks satisfaction in accordance with the pleasure principle.
How perfect, we have an idiot president who is all id being purportedly checked by a mainstream media which is all ego. And this is why our country is going to the dogs because we are letting a self-centered hyena president taunt human decency with his Tweets and then turning to bought and sold new jackals like Maddow to be entertained by the idiocy of it all. The truth is that news has become all entertainment all the time as journos chase sensationalism and outrage in order to garner ratings, eyeballs and clicks. See, when the news becomes dependent on sponsor ads and revenue from commercials, news ceases to be news and instead becomes infomercials. The ego is bad enough on its own, but when media personalities tie in their egos with profit motives, what is destroyed is journalism and what we have instead is this farcical fourth estate led by Maddow and her cadre in expensive suits.
I look back at the time I used to lionize Maddow, Olbermann, Hayes and the rest of the demagogues at MSNBC and CNN and realize they were playing all of us for suckers the same way Obama played us for schmucks. The outrage over the Iraq war was one big production meant to divide America in half for they quickly left their rage and morality at the door when Obama went on to start the same immoral wars in Syria, Libya, Yemen and perpetuated the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Oh, you think the Iraq war is over because Potus DroneUS Obama said so? Well tell that to the families of Iraqis who keep being extinguished at the hands of our monsterously overgrown military-financial complex which takes resources of nations in the name of profits and continues to end innocent lives of both foreign civilians and our young men and women in uniform. Obama is a continuation of this cancerous military-financial complex which the mainstream media is every bit a part of.
Perhaps though we, the people, are the problem. For it is our continued support of this foolish endeavor that is driving the market. If we refuse to support the idiocy at MSNBC, CNN Fox News and the rest of the corporate funded mainstream media, they might actually be incentivized to act like adults instead of chasing retweets on Twitter and peddling nonsense. Here is a radical idea even if it is a bit self-serving, why not support independent journalists who refuse to take a cent from corporations and are pursuing the profession of journalism because they want to speak truth to power instead of earning their paychecks from power.
I get it, it’s easier to bark at outrage than it is to fight for justice. This is why we tune in to the mainstream media; it’s not for the sake of edification but for the sake of being distracted and to yipe at the catnip of scripted narratives, well place deadpans and flashy graphics. But just know this, even as we get kicks out of concurrently laughing and being outraged by injustice, Maddow, Trump and the rest of the narcissistic journalists and politicians are all laughing at us. As for me, I realize now that Maddow is just another hack who uses our pains and injustice as a shtick to get ratings and maintain her currency just like Limbaugh and the rest of the hounds on “the right”. Beware the march of ids, they stack their money and accumulate their accolades at our collective misfortune. #MarchofIds
Those who feed and flourish at the cost of others suffer malnutrition of the soul.
Teodrose was born in Ethiopia the same year Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed by the communist Derg junta. The great grandson five generations removed of Atse (emperor) Tewodros Kassa II, the greatest king of Ethiopia, Teodrose is clearly influenced by the history and his connection to Ethiopia. Through his experiences growing up as first generation refugee in America, Teodrose writes poignantly about the universal experiences of joys, pains and a hope for a better tomorrow that binds all of humanity.
Teodrose has written extensively about the intersection of politics, economic policies, identity, and history. He is the author of "Serendipity's Trace" and newly released "Soul to Soil", two works that inspect the ways we are dissected as a people and shows how we can overcome injustice through the inclusive vision of togetherness.