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The Theater Critics

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Maria Bustillos on Chuck Todd’s already infamous “this was bad optics” tweet:

After former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’ testified before the House Judiciary Committee this morning, Chuck Todd managed to demonstrate, with uncharacteristic brevity, his basic misunderstanding of the requirements of his job…


Todd’s focus on the “entertainment” aspect of politics coverage is often in evidence—for example, in his own recent performance as moderator in the Democratic presidential debate. He managed to talk more than all but three of the candidates, even as he demanded that they keep their own answers brief.

And it’s not just Todd. Other MSNBC anchors reacted to the Mueller hearings similarly, finding fault with the Democrats’, and Mueller’s, lack of pizazz as performers. Brian Williams referred to “the caffeine gap” in the Judiciary Committee’s questioning. I can’t help pointing out that excessive concern with caffeinated pizzazz can warp a journalist’s judgement pretty severely, and is best avoided.

Relatedly, Julian Sanchez on a couple Times reporters speculating about how other people will respond to the hearings, and then claiming that they’re just reporting facts when called on it:

Mark Halperin may be gone, but his spirit lives on!

In closely related news, “we should impeach Trump because it’s the right thing to do” is a reasonable argument. “We should impeach Trump because we can be confident it would damage him politically” requires ignoring how the actually existing press covers this stuff.

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