The Incomprehensible Irresponsibility Of Chris Matthews And MSNBC
People will do anything to get on television. Literally. They willingly make complete asses out of themselves for a few minutes of air time on "reality" TV shows, and there is no form of public embarrassment to which wannabe celebrities won't ravenously commit themselves. This is a given. This is not a secret. It doesn't take psychological or sociological or anthropological sophistication to know this. The bosses of network and cable television understand it very well. They count on it. Their accountants count on it!
Once upon a time, pathetic nitwits began running onto the fields of televised athletic events, hoping to catch even but a few moments of public attention. It didn't take long for the producers and directors of such televised events to realize that the best way to encourage such displays of desperation was to give these sad souls the attention they so craved. So, it became policy not to give them such attention. Cameras would be turned away. Commentators would give brief mention to the disturbance, then talk of something else, until the games could resume. These television people were professionals. They figured out an obvious way to deal with the obvious. And it mostly worked. Such disruptions rarely occur, anymore.
So, one had to wonder what was going on in the minds of Chris Matthews and those who produce and direct his political blither at MSNBC, yesterday. A lunatic with a gun showed up outside an event where the president of the United States was speaking about health care reform, and Matthews and his team decided the man had to be put on television. Where he promptly proved himself not only a lunatic, but a liar, as well. And even though a mere blogger at Lavender Newswire managed the minimal research necessary to prove that the lunatic lied about his involvement with an extremist birther group, the supposedly professional ostensible journalists who work for Matthews and MSNBC couldn't even manage to do the same.
But this isn't about the absence of journalism in corporate medialand, this is about the incomprehensible irresponsibility of putting this armed lunatic on the air, in the first place! It wouldn't have mattered if Matthews had had all the facts, had used them, and had spent his time ridiculing and humiliating the lunatic. Because all that matters is that Matthews and MSNBC put the lunatic on the air! One right wing lunatic already has called for acts of violence against proponents of health care reform, and here another showed up at a health care reform rally armed with a gun! And Matthews and company decide to put him on TV. The man is not an expert on health care or any other political issue- and how many thousands of legitimate experts never have been and never will be invited to appear on Matthews' show? The man has done absolutely nothing to suggest that his opinion has any value at all. But he carried a gun to a rally at which the president would be speaking, which is the only reason anyone not misfortunate enough to know him personally now knows he exists. And for Matthews and MSNBC, that alone made him worth elevating into a much wider public consciousness. Even as low as our expectations are, with Matthews, this is truly mind-boggling. Because having set such a standard for what it takes to get invited to appear on television, what do Matthews and MSNBC think will happen inside the addled minds of others who hate this president, who own guns, and who think it would be really neat to be on national television?
Matthews and MSNBC understand what they are doing. They're not simply wallowing in the most acrid depths of the foulest reeking human sewage, in hope of improving their show's deservedly dismal ratings; they're encouraging people who are desperate for attention to seek it in the most dangerous possible ways. This man brought a gun. To a health care rally. Where the president was speaking! And rather than concluding that what such a person truly needs is access to quality mental health care, Matthews and MSNBC decided, instead, to reward his lunacy by literally putting him in the spotlight. So he could be seen and heard. As he wants to be seen and heard. As an example for others with similar qualifications and similar psychological issues who also desperately want to be seen and heard.