Out-of-Control MSNBC: ‘Hatred,’ ‘Vitriol’ Toward Clintons Is Why They’re Not Transparent

Somehow, MSNBC felt on Wednesday night that it needed even more of a reason to show their undying commitment and love to the Clintons that they brought on biographer David Maraniss of The Washington Post during the Republican National Convention (RNC) to blame the “hatred” and “vitriol” from Republicans for why the Clintons aren’t transparent with the American people and decry the “25 years” of “hostility.”

The entire conversation (which you could see later this year at the MRC’s Dishonor Awards or Best of Notable Quotables) began when co-host and disgraced ex-NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams bemoaned that one could “draw a bright line between hatred of the Clintons as a thing, as a duo, certainly to begin with, through the creation of entire news networks.”

Naturally, Maraniss pinpointed the rise of disgust toward the Clintons as going back “25 years” but really kicking into gear in “1991 and 1992 to the Whitewater affair which is sort of the same length of time investigating it as Benghazi with the same nebulous results to Mrs. Clinton saying that you buy one, you get one free when you elect her husband as president.”

RNC coverage co-host Rachel Maddow soon intervened to pile on the case against Republicans and brushing off Clinton scandals like Whitewater and the Rose Law Firm with each further exasperating the “antipathy and vitriol toward Hillary Clinton”:

When you talk about Whitewater, you raised that as an analogy to Benghazi. We think back, we were talking last night about the Rose Law Firm and the land deals and all the stuff that was investigated through Clinton years and part of it feels like that was the cause of a lot of the 25 years later antipathy and vitriol toward Hillary Clinton and her husband still, but part of it feels like that was already a symptom like they wouldn't have been doing those investigations. They would have been trying to pull those threads and accusing of them of those things if the hatred wasn’t there even before then. 

This teed Maraniss up to claim that “the hatred” actually “goes back to 1974 when Bill Clinton first ran for Congress in northwest Arkansas Fayetteville and people were denouncing him as a libertine or a homosexual or both.” 

He further lamented that “they've just become easier and easier targets for the hostility of Republicans” and that they are to blame for Hillary in particular having “a certain defensiveness that has built up over those decades because of the attacks, so that makes her less transparent.”

Closing out this insanity that any opposition to a political family is akin to “vitriol,” Maraniss concluded that “the rhetoric was actually uglier then it is now” on the right but and “undercurrent of violence.”

The relevant portions of the transcript from the 7:00 p.m. Eastern hour of MSNBC’s Republican National Convention coverage on July 20 can be found below.

MSNBC’s The Place for Politics 2016
July 20, 2016
7:15 p.m. Eastern

BRIAN WILLIAMS: And David Maraniss. First of all, good to see you, second, let's do some forensics. You could argue that could you draw a bright line between hatred of the Clintons as a thing, as a duo, certainly to begin with, through the creation of entire news networks. It goes way back. 

DAVID MARANISS: You know, it goes back 25 years, a quarter of a century what are the longest spans for any couple or person to be in national politics for that long. So I think that you're all right that it’s facile to say this is just normal blood sport. It certainly went beyond that, but the roots of it do go back to 1991 and 1992 to the Whitewater affair which is sort of the same length of time investigating it as Benghazi with the same nebulous results to Mrs. Clinton saying that you buy one, you get one free when you elect her husband as president to all of that from that period to her feminist roots and saying that she was not just going to stay home and bake cookies. The hostility toward for Hillary Clinton has been there from 25 years. 

RACHEL MADDOW: David, I'm struck by the — I’m struck by the sort chicken and egg problem. When you talk about Whitewater, you raised that as an analogy to Benghazi. We think back, we were talking last night about the Rose Law Firm and the land deals and all the stuff that was investigated through Clinton years and part of it feels like that was the cause of a lot of the 25 years later antipathy and vitriol toward Hillary Clinton and her husband still, but part of it feels like that was already a symptom like they wouldn't have been doing those investigations. They would have been trying to pull those threads and accusing of them of those things if the hatred wasn’t there even before then. 

MARANISS: You know, actually on, a state scale, the hatred goes back to 1974 when Bill Clinton first ran for Congress in northwest Arkansas Fayetteville and people were denouncing him as a libertine or a homosexual or both. It goes all the way back to that point. So you're right, but I think that over the course of these years, they've just become easier and easier targets for the hostility of Republicans. Part of it of their own doing, much of it not. So it is just, it’s unavoidable now, but Hillary plays into it to the extent that she has a certain defensiveness that has built up over those decades because of the attacks, so that makes her less transparent and sort of in contrast to Donald Trump who will talk anybody and say anything. 

WILLIAMS: Also, David, Steve Schmidt, reminds that there really never was a clean, genteel period in American politics. Yes, there was a button that said my bike likes Ike, but underneath that, there was always skullduggery and you know, they've said so much about the Lincoln era and the political attacks in the 1860s. 

MARANISS: Well, go back to Hamilton and Jefferson in that era and John Adams. It was, you know, the rhetoric was actually uglier then it is now, but I think there is something about the sort of undercurrent of violence. Not just violent rhetoric, but something beneath that that makes this such a dangerous period in our political history. 

WILLIAMS: David Maraniss, Pulitzer Prize winner, Washington Post and biographer of Bill Clinton among others. Thank you, David. Always good to see you. 

MADDOW: Great to have you here.

WILLIAMS: Thanks for your contributions.

Tell the Truth 2016 NBDaily Convention Watch Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Events 2016 Republican Convention Media Bias Debate Political Groups Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats MSNBC Other MSNBC Video Government & Press David Maraniss Brian Williams Rachel Maddow Hillary Clinton Bill Clinton
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