Nobody’s favorite conservative pundit, Rich Lowry, wrote a piece in Politico titled “Rachel Maddow’s Deep Delusion,” and apart from missing the mark by about three million popular votes, I think it exemplifies something that’s wearing on in the minds of many Republican pundits and Republicans on Capitol Hill – fear.
Lowry repeatedly refers to Maddow’s famously trenchant analysis of the facts as having a “conspiratorial” hue, saying too that she practically fetishized covering this saga. He essentially criticizes her and her team’s exemplary journalism for being too detail-oriented. He then proceeds to misinterpret reality further by saying that the Roger Stone indictment “should have been the final indication, demonstrating in detail how the Trump campaign was on the outside looking in on the WikiLeaks operation … yet [Maddow] still hasn’t truly grappled with the fact that Mueller came up empty on collusion.” His conclusion: she’s deluded.
Here’s the thing about Maddow: she reports the facts. She goes where the facts point her, and she doesn’t spin them. It’s remarkably easy to fact-check Maddow because she cites virtually every source by name during her show, often displaying the source or some form of it on the screen. Conflating enthusiasm with imprudent glee at the tribulations of the Trump administration is his partisan spin on playing the victim, something conservatives are often taught before they can even speak. It’s their signature go-to “defense.” Lastly, saying that Maddow can’t grapple with the fact that Mueller didn’t find evidence of collusion is, as we know, patently absurd. We don’t really know what Mueller said, but we know what AG Barr said.
Lowry’s delusion here was a predictable one: conservative pundit writes pro-conservative piece on liberal woman’s reporting on conservative leader’s corrupt dealings while employing typical conservative defenses of distorting reality and playing pseudo-victim. In effect, he’s saying that Maddow is delusional for reporting facts and adhering to reality. Why do this? Fear.
Lowry, his ilk, and the conservatives in DC are riding their defenses hard now to poison the well of public opinion. Barr’s report came out first and came to a shamelessly pro-Trump conclusion. The public heard it, took note, and some will surely be skeptical when we get more details about what really lies in Mueller’s report. When the headlines change, people get suspicious. Some will buy into a “deep state” explanation, which Trump will almost certainly roll out again. That gets us to the reason they’re afraid.
Robert Mueller “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” What Mueller is saying here, in somewhat lawyerly speak, is that there was insufficient evidence established at the time to come to that conclusion. When Mueller says that the findings didn’t exonerate Trump or prove him guilty, it doesn’t mean no crimes were committed. That’s for Congress to decide. This isn’t over, and that’s why so many conservatives are taking this lull in developments to defend, deny, and sow some deep delusions.
Democracy thrives in snarkiness