Just how deep does this MSNBC rabbit hole go?


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When MSNBC host Chris Hayes used his show earlier this week to falsely characterize the Joe Biden allegation as “credible” and “corroborated” even though the evidence overwhelmingly shows the opposite, few were surprised that he was the one to do it. Hayes has made a living out of pandering to the wildest delusions of the “Bernie or Bust” crowd, and this phony Biden scandal came straight from that corner.

Joe Biden put the whole thing to bed by appearing on MSNBC Morning Joe two days later and denying the allegation in a manner that most people found highly believable, and โ€“ more importantly โ€“ by calling on the National Archives and Senate archives to release whatever reports that Reade claimed she filed. Once they confirm that no such records exist, it’ll prove that Reade was lying about a key aspect of her story. So that should have been it, right?

But after the Biden interview aired, Chris Hayes used his show that night to take a sort of victory lap. Even though the “Fire Chris Hayes” hashtag had been trending on Twitter for twenty-four hours straight, and his audience was outraged at him and demanding that he fix his false story, he mocked the hashtag instead. Then Ali Velshi happened.

Ali Velshi’s goal at MSNBC has always apparently been to be on the air as many hours per day as possible without offending anyone. He’s understated, dependable, nobody’s favorite or least favorite. But this morning Velshi started pushing the phony Biden scandal arguably as aggressively as Hayes โ€“ to the point that Velshi’s name ended up trending on Twitter. As the day went on the AP reported that Reade is now admitting she never even filed a sexual assault complaint against Biden, meaning her story is toast. Yet when Velshi had his second go-round this evening, he pushed the fake Biden scandal more obnoxiously than ever.

So why did Ali “Clark Kent” Velshi feel so emboldened to hype this phony tabloid level story so obsessively today? It’s the opposite of his brand. It’s hard to imagine that he would have felt safe doing it unless he was confident that he had the approval of the MSNBC higher-ups. Come to think of it, why did Chris Hayes respond so smugly after such a large chunk of his audience told him to go to hell? It’s interesting how Hayes’ stunt managed to immediately land MSNBC the interview with Biden it wanted about the topic. You’d almost think MSNBC orchestrated the whole thing to force Biden’s hand.

In any case, this all keeps getting stranger. Rachel Maddow, the network’s most popular and influential host, refused to touch the phony scandal during her Friday night show. Al Sharpton, who’s powerful enough in his own right that he doesn’t need MSNBC, did a long-scheduled interview today with Joe Biden but didn’t spend more than about a minute on the phony scandal before moving on to asking Biden about real topics. Yet some of the more vulnerable MSNBC hosts have decided to use this phony scandal to set themselves on fire. Whatever is going on here, it’s disturbing, unfortunate, and dangerous. This “scandal” is over. When will MSNBC drop it?

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