It makes you wonder what MSNBC might think of as evidence.
The Rachel Maddow network has never made any pretense of objectivity or fairness, so the see-no-evil stance taken by daytime host Ali Velshi on the complex topic of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s dealing with Ukraine when he was vice president might not have been a surprise.
But the ground Velshi picked to fight on — the basis he used to insinuate President Donald Trump is a liar — was astonishing to anyone who’s been following the Beltway buzz.
Apparently, that doesn’t include the staff of MSNBC.
On Monday afternoon, Velshi and co-host Stephanie Ruhle were doing a little remedial tutoring to bring their dwindling viewers up to speed on the Ukraine “scandal” that currently has Beltway Democrats pretending they’re outraged. That’s when Velshi blundered a key fact of the story.
“President Trump had repeatedly suggested without evidence that Joe Biden used his VP position to pressure Ukraine to fire the country’s top prosecutor,” Velshi said. (Emphasis added.)
There’s not only evidence, there’s a fairly well-known video of the former vice president not only admitting he used his influence but actually bragging about it.
The video itself is kind of pathetic. Biden’s braggadocio — about basically running as Barack Obama’s errand boy — is almost embarrassing.
But as the words Biden spoke — at a Council on Foreign Relations event in January 2018 — clearly show, there is a great deal of evidence that “Joe Biden used his VP position to pressure Ukraine.” In fact, the evidence is from Joe Biden himself.
“I said: ‘We’re leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor’s not fired, you’re not getting the money,’” Biden said he told Ukrainian officials. “Well, son of a b—-, he got fired.”
That’s not in dispute. The dispute is over whether Biden did it to help a Ukrainian energy company that was paying his son, Hunter, $50,000 a month.
Of course, it’s a lot to expect an MSNBC personality to be on top of a story — especially if it would also mean acknowledging that the man in the Oval Office might be right about something.
But even MSNBC viewers have a right to expect a modicum of professionalism. And this was obviously a presentation that took some time to prepare, it wasn’t an off-the-cuff remark.
Given the low degree of actual engagement a regular MSNBC viewer must have, it’s entirely possible Velshi’s mistake went completely unnoticed by those watching. But there were plenty of people outside who caught it, including the Trump War Room.
MSNBC’s @AliVelshi says “President Trump had repeatedly suggested WITHOUT EVIDENCE that Joe Biden used his VP position to pressure Ukraine to fire the country’s top prosecutor.”
IT’S ON TAPE.
Roll it! pic.twitter.com/itpEw2M0dY
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) September 23, 2019
Talk about willful blindness.
— Bertram (@BigBertieT) September 23, 2019
Ali? Are you on drugs? If not, you should be. BIDEN bragged about this! You know it, Now YOU are just lying to the 2% of the population that watch.
— CAPTAIN ATLANTA (@CAPTAINATL) September 23, 2019
He is just the DNC mouthpiece repeating a lie.
— Curtis Mullins (@mooncop1) September 23, 2019
That last one might overstate it. It’s doubtful Velshi knew he was warping the facts — if only because the truth is so readily available.
However, it’s not a long shot to think that, in journalism as practiced in 21st century America, the truth is not that important.
This should not even be a matter of debate, anymore: The vast majority of outlets in the mainstream media are propaganda purveyors for the liberal world view, which translated realistically into support for the Democratic Party. No honest person in or out of the media can seriously dispute that — and in that environment, screw-ups like Velshi’s have become almost expected.
Basically, as awful as it is, there’s nothing extraordinary about MSNBC in principle. Like the rest of the mainstream media — The New York Times (see Kavanaugh coverage), The Washington Post (see Covington High School stories) — MSNBC is more interested in the “narrative” of the moment than the actual facts of the news — as long as that “narrative” serves the liberal agenda.
These are the institutions of journalism that abandoned the real cause of journalism years ago – while vainly trying to imbue the Obama presidency with the glory of Lincoln, the success of FDR and the glamour of JFK’s Camelot.
After debasing themselves for eight years, they received the colossal insult from American voters who rejected a Democratic successor to Obama — and basically tossed his “legacy” into the dustbin of history.
They’ve neither forgiven nor learned from the experience.
Since the Trump presidency began, the evidence has mounted that Obama’s tenure was a completely unnecessary disaster visited on the American economy and its social fabric.
From the Obama nadir, Trump has brought the country a roaring economy with record-low unemployment, but MSNBC doesn’t see that either, of course.
Makes you wonder what does count as evidence over there.