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The Specter at the Banquet That Didn’t Bark in the Night



Here's a funny thing.

Ms. Ana Marie Cox -- who has worn many media hats over the years -- now has a podcast called "With Friends Like These" which is built on the premise of having “uncomfortable conversations” with people who have a different point of view.

Ms. Cox's podcast is a Big Podcast in large measure because it exists under the umbrella of Crooked Media -- a Liberal podcast collective about which you may have heard.   It is big enough to be her chyron tag on the Morning Joe teevee show --


-- and big enough to be her one-line bio at the Washington Post:
Ana Marie Cox is the host of Crooked Media's "With Friends Like These."
It is clearly very good to have friends like these.

Anyhoo, it just so happens that, in addition to being Stephanie Miller's newest BFF and the co-host of his own teevee show on The MSNBC, Mr. Joe Scarborough is also enough of a Beltway media macher to rate his own Washington Post column.

So, y'know, very, very good to have friends like these.

And today, these two Washington Post columnists got together on Mr. Scarborough's teevee show to parse Ms. Cox's article in the Washington Post, which is entitled:
Al Franken isn’t being denied due process. None of these famous men are.
This is a performance that is mutually beneficial to both Mr. Scarborough and Ms. Cox.

For his part, Mr. Scarborough' primary professional goal these days is to eradicate all memory and mention of the fact that he has been a typical peevish Republican boor and whiny asshole for his entire career, and that before Donald Trump threatened to out Mr. Scarborough's affair with his co-host, Mr. Scarborough was only too happy let his longtime pal, Donald John Trump, use his teevee show as the launching pad for his political ambitions.  So on-air bonding with Ms. Cox helps him burnish his newly-minted resume as Mr. Enlightened Independent Guy.

For her part, Ms. Cox has fallen from a high place to about as low a place on the media food chain as possible.  Podcasting.  Which is basically one step above gleaning the fields of Moab for a living.  However, because she has friends like these and a Big podcast, she can swing a column in the Washington Post, which in-turn translates into face-time on Mr. Scarborough's teevee show.

From the video you can see that Joey Joe Joe Junior very much does not like being interrupted and contradicted by mouthy ladies --


-- but he  and Ms. Cox nonetheless danced grimly and uncomfortably around each other like matter and anti-matter trying to tarantella without actually touching.

Because the Circle of Beltway Life, don'tcha know.

And they talked and they talked about Al Franken and Roy Moore and Al Franken and Roy Moore and Donald Trump and Al Franken and Roy Moore.

But here's a funny thing.

You see this picture?


That guy at the opposite side of the semicircle from Ms. Cox is named Mike Barnicle, about whom I have, in the past, written some unflattering-but-true things in the spirit of having “uncomfortable conversations” with people who have a different point of view.  

(Brief driftglass aside/ For the record, Mr. Barnicle has never reciprocated my invitation to have an “uncomfortable conversation” about, say, the ubiquity and toxicity of the Both Siderism that is the only thing propping up his career. Nor has Michael Gerson, Peggy Noonan, David Frum, David Brooks, Rick Wilson [a frequent guest of Ms. Cox], Matthew Dowd, Hugh Hewitt, Chris Hayes, Ezra Klein, Bret Stephens, Joe Scarborough  [a new BFF of Stephanie Miller], Michael Steele [another new BFF of Stephanie Miller], Tom Friedman, Harold Ford Junior, Kathleen Parker, Ron Fournier, Jonah Goldberg, Bill Kristol, Andrew Sullivan, Rich Lowry, Ross Douthat, Peter Beinart, Jonathan Chait, John Podhoretz, Ben Shapiro, George Will, David French, Erick Erickson, Chris Cillizza and Chuck Todd to name just a few.  In fact, on many, many occasions, my overtures to these media personages to have an “uncomfortable conversation” has gotten me blocked.   So either I'm doing this all wrong, or there is something really, really important about having Friends Like These./ End brief driftglass aside.)

Anyway, back to Mike Barnicle.  And next to him, tangibly present but invisible to the untrained eye, hovers the specter at this particular banquet:  Mr. Mark Halperin.

And here's the funny thing.  The hilarious thing.

Smack in the middle of the article by Ms. Cox which occasioned her invitation onto Mr. Scarborough's show and which the panel is so dourly mining for a thin vein of ratings gold, we find this delightful paragraph (to which I have added some emphasis to guide your eye):
But those who decry what’s happening with Franken — and the #metoo reckoning writ large — as “moral flattening” are doing some serious steamrolling themselves, yoking together every corporate disavowal, every canceled contract and every defunct résumé line into the same tragic ending, such as Ziegler characterizing Franken’s likely return to civilian life as a “demise.” Or Gingrich equating the same move to dangling off the branch of a tree. (I am reminded of Mike Barnicle bemoaning the fate of his erstwhile MSNBC co-contributor Mark Halperin: “But does he deserve to die?”) Much as rape is not opportunistic groping and exposing oneself is not child molestation, there’s a whole scale of consequences available between death and “no longer having an extraordinarily prestigious and well-paying job.”
Well there sat Mr. Barnicle himself with the spirit of Mr. Halperin hovering palpably nearby, separated from Crooked Media's very own, branded "Uncomfortable Conversation" podcaster by nothing but 10 feet of Lucite table-top.

And...

And...

And not a word was spoken on the subject.  Not a word.

And that silence spoke volumes.
Gregory [a detective from Scotland Yard]: "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"

Sherlock Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."

Gregory: "The dog did nothing in the night-time."

Sherlock Holmes: "That was the curious incident."

– "The Adventure of Silver Blaze", Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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