Wild ‘Hardball’ Panel Calls Trump Presidency ‘Fake’; Supporters ‘Buying Into a Total Hallucination’

For those keeping score at home, this is the third post on Thursday’s Hardball, so that should tell you plenty about the straight jacket-worthy craziness that unfolded on MSNBC from start to finish. 

It began at the top with ringleader/host Chris Matthews setting a grim picture of the country’s future down to NBCNews.com’s Heidi Przybyla seeming to question the intelligence of those in flyover country for not understanding the ramifications of the Russia probe.

 

 

Matthews set the tone in his opening lines: 

This week, President Trump proved he's willing to destroy this country's law enforcement institutions in order to protect himself from justice. Using a conspiracy theory to trash the Justice Department and the FBI, he's attempting to extort information about the investigation of him and his campaign. 

Mother Jones’s David Corn was another character of note, first ranting about how supposedly fake every story from unmasking to Uranium One was and concocted by “Donald Trump and all his minions, including people in Congress, Republicans creating alternative realities” that was all so reckless that “[t]o just call it a conspiracy theory is to give too much credit.”

Corn went on a tangent about how “Russia attacked this country” and the Trump White House has, somehow, kept American from getting to the bottom of what happened:

Just fake facts to get out there to distract from the core issue, Russia attacked this country and while Russia was attacking this country during the 2016 campaign, the Trump campaign was sending out positive signals to Russia and denying to the public that this attack was under way and every moment they throw up one of these, you know, confusing narratives, it distracts and keeps us from talking about the real thing itself and now it's degrading the Justice Department.

Matthews showed his habit of not realizing the irony in his statements when he moved to Przybyla and, while condemning the President’s ugly birtherism beliefs, suggested that Trump “is running a fake presidency” that “doesn’t exist.”

The MSNBC pundit also took aim at conservatives, talk radio, and Trump supporters by observing that, on the claims of Trump campaign surveillance, “they’re eating it up” and “buying into a total hallucination and that scares me.” Well, when you put it that way, it sounds like it’s time to run down to an old nuclear fallout shelter.

As for Corn, behold this incredible level of hypocrisy on the issue of civil discourse:

How had do you break through that? How do you have a set of facts that you can talk about and deal with them and have a true national discourse? Trump is doing everything possible to make sure we can't have an honest debate because he can't survive one. 

If Corn wants to go down this road of incivility, let’s do that. Here’s a sampling of NewsBusters headlines from over the years with Corn playing a starring or supporting role in spewing venom:

Finally, Przyzbyla took a page from Showtime’s Alex Wagner by lashing out at Trump having “a far-right media echo chamber” unlike Richard Nixon with supporters not sharing the same feelings as the liberal media about the Russia investigation affecting our daily lives (click “expand” to read more):

Chris, I was in the heartland this past week in Cadillac, Michigan, and every place that I walked into had those chryons up at the bottom of Fox News talking about spies infiltrating the Trump campaign. No matter what they say, 30 percent of the people are going to believe it and this is why it's working, Chris, because at the end of the day, no matter what Mueller's recommendations are, it's not up to him to take action. Who is up to? It's up to Congress. Congress will have to look at those findings and decide whether or not to impeach. You have that question out there still about whether you can indict a sitting president. That leaves it to Congress. So, if they can throw up enough of a fog and just exhaust people about what the truth is, they've succeeded because when the findings come out, 30 percent at least will not believe them.

Yeesh. Tell us how you really feel.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on May 24, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
May 24, 2018
7:00 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Trump at his worst. Let’s play Hardball. [HARDBALL OPENING CREDITS] Good evening. I'm Chris Matthews up in Boston. This week, President Trump proved he's willing to destroy this country's law enforcement institutions in order to protect himself from justice. Using a conspiracy theory to trash the Justice Department and the FBI, he's attempting to extort information about the investigation of him and his campaign. Today, in an apparently effort to placate the President, the Department of Justice took some steps to yield to his demands. In two separate meetings, top Justice Department and intelligence officials met with Trump's congressional allies and other lawmakers to go over confidential materials about the use of an FBI informant in the Russia probe. Afterwards, speaking on behalf of the Democrats, Congressman Adam Schiff said there was nothing in the briefings to support the President's conspiracy theory. 

(....)

7:03 p.m. Eastern

DAVID CORN: Well, it’s extraordinary but it's a continuation of what we've seen for over a year now. First they said unmasking was the real scandal. It wasn't. Then they said Obama bugging Trump was the scandal. No, it wasn't. Then it was FISA warrant, Uranium One and now it's this phony baloney story about a spy on the campaign. This is Donald Trump and all his minions, including people in Congress, Republicans creating alternative realities. To just call it a conspiracy theory is to give too much credit. Just fake facts to get out there to distract from the core issue, Russia attacked this country and while Russia was attacking this country during the 2016 campaign, the Trump campaign was sending out positive signals to Russia and denying to the public that this attack was under way and every moment they throw up one of these, you know, confusing narratives, it distracts and keeps us from talking about the real thing itself and now it's degrading the Justice Department. 

MATTHEWS: Heidi, how do you as a straight reporter keep the focus on reality away from this bogus reality that Trump keeps creating? He, in many ways, is running a fake presidency. This doesn’t exist. This whole thing doesn't exist any more than the birther thing existed. It's made-up stuff, all the stuff David just mentioned is fabricated, fake. And yet, it's covered because the President of the United States deserves daily press coverage. How do you stop covering what is fake itself? Is it possible?

HEIDI PRZYBYLA: And if no one is stopping in his own party, Chris, and that is why is this is continues to happen and now Rosenstein is doing his level best. He’s making a calculation here that he's going to try and in the end, save this investigation by mollifying this President in terms of even agreeing to this meeting in the first place. But what happened? As soon as he agreed to the meeting, Chris, a day later is when the President began this whole Spygate tweeting conspiracy. And so the President, what he's doing, is taking any and every advantage when that sliver opens in the door to throw up the fog like David said. This is round three. We saw the wiretapping allegations, we saw the unmasking allegations. All of it bogus. And today, now no one coming out of that meeting and saying that there was any credibility to these accusations there was a spy in his campaign. On the contrary, what was confirmed by James Clapper was that someone, an informant, was needed because of evidence-based investigation showing that there was a need for someone to go into the campaign and find out what the heck was going on with the Russians trying to communicate with the potential future President of the United States. 

(....)

7:09 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: David, let's go back to something we've been before — been through together this [sic] and that's the ability of a president to create reality, to create something because he is president that people begin to believe must it be sort of real. So had you Bush getting us into the war in Iraq based upon whatever, a cold creation of stuff he created where he never really admitted his own motive so he came up with a motive for the country, something called WMD and how they had it and blah, blah, and there were meetings in Prague, blah, blah, blah and all kinds of stuff and Cheney lied and all that and they created a reality. Here's a President who uses words like spy and Spygate and people out there in the talk shows, I just know they're eating it up. They’re eating it up the columnists on the right. They’re buying into a total hallucination and that scares me. What are we going to do in our democracy as we move forward to prevent presidents from not — from creating something out of nothing just for their political survival? 

CORN; Trump is doing something new here. You and I have been through a bunch of scandals whether it was Watergate, Iran-Contra, even the Monica Lewinsky stuff and the campaign finance scandals of the Clinton years and, of course, WMD stuff and there never was a dispute over some basic realities. There was a break-in at Watergate. Arms were sold to Iran and money given to the Contras and people accepted these things once they emerged. People tried to keep them hidden, but once they came out, and the question was who knew what, was there a violation of law. There time around, Donald Trump has, I guess learned the lesson of marketing that the truth doesn't matter. So he gets out there and says there was no attack. You know, it's all a hoax. It's all a witch hunt and he knows 30 percent of his people, the people who he said would stick with him even if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue will accept his and I heard this frustration in Heidi's voice when she spoke a few minutes ago. How had do you break through that? How do you have a set of facts that you can talk about and deal with them and have a true national discourse? Trump is doing everything possible to make sure we can't have an honest debate because he can't survive one. 

(....)

7:12 p.m. Eastern

PRZYBYLA: But to the previous point of why this is different, I want to address that, Chris. What Nixon did not have was a far-right media echo chamber

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

PRZYBYLA: — that is allowing this to happen. Chris, I was in the heartland this past week in Cadillac, Michigan, and every place that I walked into had those chryons up at the bottom of Fox News talking about spies infiltrating the Trump campaign. No matter what they say, 30 percent of the people are going to believe it and this is why it's working, Chris, because at the end of the day, no matter what Mueller's recommendations are, it's not up to him to take action. Who is up to? It's up to Congress. Congress will have to look at those findings and decide whether or not to impeach. You have that question out there still about whether you can indict a sitting president. That leaves it to Congress. So, if they can throw up enough of a fog and just exhaust people about what the truth is, they've succeeded because when the findings come out, 30 percent at least will not believe them. 

MATTHEWS: Well, the question arises when is the party of Lincoln going to be represented by someone like Lincoln? And loyal to that tradition. Asked whether the meeting today was appropriate, House Speaker Paul Ryan backed calls to investigate the investigators and defended Trump's actions in the name of transparency.

NB Daily 2016 Presidential Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals Trump-Russia probe MSNBC Hardball Video Government & Press Chris Matthews Heidi Przybyla David Corn Donald Trump
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