Kooky Late-Night MSNBC: Trump Is Like Kim-Jong-un, Journalism Is Having a ‘Renaissance’

Two days after informing viewers that his “job...actually is to scare people to death” about war with North Korea, MSNBC host Brian Williams and guests served up more kooky thoughts on Thursday’s The 11th Hour by comparing President Trump to Kim Jong-un and swooning over a “renaissance” in American journalism.

Oh, and that was all within the show’s opening segment, aka the A-Block. As we saw during the 2016 conventions and on election night, late-night MSNBC is a strange place.

“We have made it to Thursday. Good evening once again from our NBC News headquarters here in New York. Day 203 of the Trump administration was wide ranging. It started out with great stress over the tensions with North Korea, including this new talk of war, and the day is ending that same way,” the mortified fake news anchor began.

In teeing up guest and New York Times Washington bureau chief Elisabeth Bumiller to follow him down into the bunker of liberal bias, Williams made the media’s latest comparison between Trump and Kim: “[C]an you remind the good folks watching just how unusual this kind of wording from an American president is? Almost borrowing the vocabulary and nomenclature of the North. Say nothing of this a daily event now?”

Bumiller responded just as a Times reporter would, claiming that the bureau thought about the President’s words before concluding “that this was the most militant language we have ever heard from an American president, and especially the doubling down.”

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Williams has frequently praised his comrades in the media (like here), so it wasn’t surprising when he touted the newspaper industry to Bumiller for all their work (after an eight-year vacation):

Elisabeth, it strikes me we have representatives of The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and yet, the difference is, you're kind of management, so I’ll ask you this question. Can you remember an era like this for the American newspaper and print journalism business? 

Bumiller responded that she couldn’t recall one “in my lifetime” and despite “the President refer[ring] to us as the failing New York Times,” she ruled that business has been “good.”

Now here’s the punchline. Bumiller swooned that “[w]e feel a sort of renaissance of journalism, and it's focused us on the mission of journalism, and also there's just no lack of news.” 

After years and years of dismissing or ignoring scandals during the Obama administration, it’s no surprise that journalism has emerged from the wilderness like Hillary Clinton to complain about how she should have won the election. With liberal elected officials shrinking in numbers, the media have taken on the status as the opposition party (whether they admit it or not).

“I mean, this morning, I came to the office and, you know, it's August in Washington. The President's on vacation. Congress is out. There's always a certain scrounging for stories in August, and, you know, by about 4:00 this afternoon, that was — we had our hands full,” she concluded.

“Another unbelievable day,” Williams replied.

Earlier in the block, Williams hailed Washington Post White House bureau chief Phil Rucker for questioning Trump at each Q&A session, claiming that “[w]e were cheering at the sound of your voice at not one, but both venues today.”

Here’s the relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s The 11th Hour with Brian Williams on August 10:

MSNBC’s The 11th Hour with Brian Williams
August 10, 2017
11:00 p.m. Eastern

BRIAN WILLIAMS: We have made it to Thursday. Good evening once again from our NBC News headquarters here in New York. Day 203 of the Trump administration was wide ranging. It started out with great stress over the tensions with North Korea, including this new talk of war, and the day is ending that same way, but along the way, during the afternoon, the stress over any possible conflict on the Korean peninsula was interrupted by a thrill ride. As the President making two rare on camera appearances for his working vacation, decided to take questions from reporters at his golf resort in New Jersey. He proceeded to take reporters on a tour of his mind and his world from Manafort to Mueller to McMaster to McConnell to the Middle East to Michigan. The latter as he relitigated his victory over Hillary. From Putin to transgender Americans in the military, from our southern border to the DMZ, from coal to leaks to nukes.

(....)

11:06 p.m. Eastern

WILLIAMS [TO PHIL RUCKER]: We were cheering at the sound of your voice at not one, but both venues today. Give us what we like to call the atmospherics. What we couldn't see because we weren't there. What a responsibility on you members of the small pool of reporters covering the President today because, in effect, you conducted the longest press conference since February. 

(....)

11:09 p.m. Eastern

WILLIAMS: Elisabeth, first of all, great to see you again. Welcome to the broadcast. I think we’ve elected you Dean of this press pool, and having said that, can you remind the good folks watching just how unusual this kind of wording from an American president is? Almost borrowing the vocabulary and nomenclature of the North. Say nothing of this a daily event now?

ELISABETH BUMILLER: Right. We looked back and the reporters at the Washington bureau of The Times, looked back and decided that this was the most militant language we have ever heard from an American president, and especially the doubling down, and we know the first time he said fire and fury, that — it was not scripted. He had said it in private, but his aides weren't expecting him to say it and there was scrambling afterwards to try to explain it and they tried to explain it the last couple of days. There was differing interpretations from the secretary of state and from defense secretary, and then today we have, as you have all said, we have the president again repeating it, but going even further today.

(....)

11:14 p.m. Eastern

WILLIAMS: Elisabeth, it strikes me we have representatives of The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and yet, the difference is, you're kind of management, so I’ll ask you this question. Can you remember an era like this for the American newspaper and print journalism business? 

BUMILLER: No. Not in my lifetime. You know, as we all know, the President refers to us as the failing New York Times.

WILLIAMS: Of course.

BUMILLER: But, you know, that it’s been good for The New York Times in one case because it’s been — there’s — we feel a sort of renaissance of journalism, and it's focused us on the mission of journalism, and also there's just no lack of news. I mean, this morning, I came to the office and, you know, it's August in Washington. The President's on vacation. Congress is out. There's always a certain scrounging for stories in August, and, you know, by about 4:00 this afternoon, that was — we had our hands full. 

WILLIAMS: Another unbelievable day. 

CyberAlerts Foreign Policy North Korea Media Bias Debate MSNBC The 11th Hour with Brian Williams New York Times Video Government & Press Brian Williams Elisabeth Bumiller Donald Trump Kim Jong Un
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