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Tags: maddow | msnbc | wallace

It's Going to Be a Long Four Years

talking back to your television

Dennis Kneale By Friday, 22 January 2021 02:19 PM EST Current | Bio | Archive

It’s a good thing I live alone.

Do you talk to your TV, especially the news?

I always have, in my head or out loud (and to the irritation of anyone else watching with me).

The inauguration made it clear my unfortunate habit will get worse.

The event marked a jubilant day for millions of Americans who voted for Joe Biden.

It was a sad day for supporters of President Trump.

Biden appealed to them for unity: "We must end this uncivil war." Me: That’s a great line.

Albeit unity is a big ask after the Democrats spent four years opposing Trump with some of the most divisive, vituperative tactics ever deployed.

Set aside whether Republican voters can forgive and move forward.

The bigger question is whether Democrats can do so.

The fatuously liberal pixel pundits at MSNBC are the canary-in-a-coalmine on this point.

Yesterday, they failed to get Biden’s message.

They sought to demonize, ostracize, and retaliate.

They doubted unity is possible, suggested President Trump should be excluded from future public events, and repeatedly described Trump voters as "radicalized" and "extremists."

They conflated all Trump supporters with a few hundred would-be "insurrectionists," if you can even call them that.

The attackers on Capitol Hill stopped for selfies, were ushered into the interior by police, and left after four hours. Yet on MSNBC, the mini-riot by a bunch of jerks is solemnly being called "One-Six," for the date on which it occurred. As in 1/6 — as in 9/11.

Me: Now, that’s a bit overdone.

Other bites made me want to rise up from the sofa and pontificate at the flat-screen:

MSNBC anchor Joy Reid: "Isn’t it kind of remarkable that Donald Trump bookends this very bizarre, hurtful four years with two radically historic presidencies, both of which included Joe Biden?"

Me: Who got hurt? Unemployment fell to all-time lows among Blacks, Latinos, Asians, and women before the virus crisis. Oh, you must mean your feelings.

Nicolle Wallace: "It points to how far the Republican Party has traveled down toward the bottom, and whether they follow Mike Pence or George Bush to a more peaceful, less radicalized place is the open question of the hour."

Me: You guys despised Pence and Bush up till now.

Rachel Maddow: "To the extent that Trump is excluded from these sorts of events where former presidents show themselves, the question is whether or not Trump supporters also feel excluded."

Me: Hmm, yes, yes they will.

Maddow: "When you’re dealing with extremism, that’s part of the security challenge. I mean, when you deal with extremism you are dealing with that very sentiment. People on the outside have become radicalized, and I worry about that, too."

Me: Keep pounding that mantra, “extremism” and “radicalized.”

Maddow: "To the extent Mike Pence can speak to or for the Trump phenomenon, to the base, I don’t know that that’s possible, with the president siccing that mob on him two weeks ago."

Me: Rachel sure likes "to the extent" a lot. Siccing? Really?

Nicolle Wallace then points out that Kevin McCarthy and other Republicans milling about after the swearing-in should be grateful that Biden’s "grace" allowed them to be there, "walking around what still is a crime scene." Wallace also said, "That grace and his commitment to unity is what allows the Republicans — who should be ashamed of themselves and ashamed of their conduct on that day — it allows them to move about comfortably in their workplace today."

Me: Right, because otherwise they should be rounded up.

Joy Reid responds: "You know, Nicolle, I was thinking the exact same thing… Seeing Ted Cruz there, there’s something blood-boiling about it. These people tried to reverse the election and then show up for this somber ceremony as if they’re statesmen. And Joe Biden clearly is a much better person than I, because I would not have had them there."

MSNBC contributor Jason Johnson chimes in to say that he was "moved by Joe Biden’s speech, because it was coherent, and it wasn’t violent, and it wasn't’ vulgar, and, after four terrible years of what we went through with Donald Trump, it was nice to actually just hear someone be reasonable and sound."

Me: Vulgar? It must have been horrible for you.

Johnson, on a roll now: "But I have to say that, ultimately, I’ve never been overly convinced by Joe Biden’s call for unity, because I don’t think you can really have unity with the current version of the Republican Party."

Me: Big sigh. Long pause. It’s going to be a long four years.

Dennis Kneale is a writer and media strategist in New York, after six years as anchor at CNBC and Fox Business Network and 25 years at The Wall Street Journal and Forbes. He helped write "The Trump Century: How Our President Changed the Course of History," by Lou Dobbs, published in September 2020 by HarperCollins. Read Dennis Kneale's reports — More Here.

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Do you talk to your TV, especially the news? I always have, in my head or out loud (and to the irritation of anyone else watching with me). The inauguration made it clear my unfortunate habit will get worse.
maddow, msnbc, wallace
Friday, 22 January 2021 02:19 PM
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