Russiagate queen reigns no more: Rachel Maddow ratings tank after collusion narrative implodes

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Once a shining beacon of hope for Russiagate true believers, it looks like Rachel Maddow has left her best days behind her; MSNBC’s conspiracy queen has seen her show plummet to fifth place in cable news ratings. What happened?

You rise fast and fall hard in the fickle world of television. Just last April, Maddow overtook Fox News’ Sean Hannity to claim the title of most-watched host across cable news. She had become a reliable source for Russigate aficionados to get their daily dose of crazy.

Sadly for Maddow, the latest data released by Nielsen shows her show in fifth place with a total audience of 2.4877 million viewers for July – behind Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and The Five (all Fox News shows).

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Top 5 Russia-conspiracy fails of Rachel ‘highest-ratings-ever’ Maddow

For context, in January this year, Maddow still boasted an audience of nearly 3.3 million, which means she shed around 800,000 viewers in just six months. Maddow was also in fifth place among viewers in the 25-54 age range – the group most-favored by advertisers.

Ouch.

Once dubbed “the smartest person on TV” by Forbes (really), this is certainly not the big payoff Maddow was expecting, having dedicated three years of her career to breathlessly covering every twist and turn in the anticlimactic Trump-Russia “collusion” drama.

There’s no question that Maddow lost a major component of what had made her show so popular when former special counsel Robert Mueller showed up in March having found no evidence of conspiracy or collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.

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As former MSNBC host Krystal Ball noted last week in candid criticism of her former network colleague, Maddow had “built segment after segment, show after show, on building anticipation for a big reveal” that never materialized. Indeed, Maddow became something of an expert at promising her audience bombshells that never amounted to anything.

Recall the dramatic teaser tweet she sent out in March 2017 one hour before her show, claiming: “We’ve got Trump tax returns. (Seriously).” When the story turned out to be a big nothingburger (all she had was one boring form which revealed nothing particularly interesting), Maddow lashed out at her own viewers, saying people had “leapt” to conclusions.

Ball also accused Maddow of doing damage to the left, having become “swept up in the ratings bubble” that was being sustained by “feverish Russian conspiracy theories.”

It’s true. Seemingly convinced that the Russiagate story would end with Donald Trump being dragged from the White House in a dressing gown with shackles around his feet, Maddow had abandoned major issues that are important to the American left and trafficked in mental conspiracies and outright fear-mongering instead.

How about that time she suggested that Russia might kill the power in Fargo during a polar vortex and let everyone freeze to death? Or the time she spent three whole minutes dramatically building up to ‘reveal’ that Russia and North Korea share a border – followed by 15 more minutes trying to prove that Vladimir Putin had orchestrated and secretly controlled the Singapore summit between Trump and Kim Jong-un.

A study of her coverage by the Intercept last year showed that 53 percent of Maddow’s segments focused only on Russia over a six-week period between February and March.

Of course, there were no slaps on the wrist for Maddow at MSNBC HQ for getting stories drastically wrong or failing to deliver on her promises of Trump-destroying bombshells. In fact, it seemed the more dramatic and off-the-wall her coverage became, the more she was celebrated for it. This staggering fall from ratings grace can be her comeuppance.

Boo hoo, Rachel. If you need to cry, you could always use the piles of money you made from lies as tissues.

Danielle Ryan

Danielle Ryan is an Irish freelance writer based in Dublin. Her work has appeared in Salon, The Nation, Rethinking Russia, teleSUR, RBTH, The Calvert Journal and others.

 

MSNBC’s FBI Expert Panics: Why Is AG Barr Doing Interviews?

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Deep State goon terrified of Barr’s candor and transparency

By Newswars.com

A former FBI agent expressed his dismay on MSNBC over Attorney General William Barr’s string of televised interviews explaining the Department of Justice’s actions in investigating the origins of the Deep State Russia witch hunt.

Speaking on “AM Joy” on Saturday, expert Clint Watts lamented Barr’s network appearances, claiming he’s “advancing” Trump’s “conspiracy” that the Deep State tried to overthrow him with the FBI’s Russia probe.

“Why is the Attorney General doing interviews?” Watts asked. “The Attorney General answers questions, he doesn’t raise them. So every time he goes out and does one of these interviews, he is advancing the conspiracy without evidence.”

“The attorney general’s job is to present evidence on the basis of cases. A year ago, when he’s out in the private sector and he’s hanging out and he wants to write a 19-page memo, he has the right to do that.”

“He doesn’t need to be asking questions and sowing a conspiracy,” Watts added.

Interesting take, considering the media and Democrats, in a massive propaganda effort, have been pushing the conspiracy theory for over two years without evidence that President Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election.

 

Brennan: I’m Still Waiting For Republican Rats To Realize The Trump Ship Is Sinking

By Tim Hains

Former CIA Director John Brennan warned Republicans who support President Trump that they are on a sinking ship, in an appearance Wednesday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” 

“I’m waiting for the Republicans to realize that the Trump ship is a sinking one,” he said.

“There are still rats on that ship, and there are individuals who are not going to separate themselves from Trump. They do so at their own peril. They need to fulfill their obligations, irrespective of their political affiliations. This is now the presidency and institutions of government we rely on to keep us safe and secure.”

MIKE BARNICLE: Last week, there was another continued swipe ordered by the president of the United States, who whatever he says is a megaphone and resonates throughout the country because of the way it is carried, in which he basically said that people like you and several other people in the intelligence community were responsible for trying to participate in a coup, to undermine the presidency of the United States and to remove the president of the United States. What does it do — nevermind to you personally — what does it do to institutions like the NSA, the CIA, the FBI.

JOHN BRENNAN: It continues to show Mr. Trump’s disdain for the intelligence and law enforcement communities, who are trying to do their jobs irrespective of political winds that might be blowing in Washington. It really is demoralizing for Mr. Trump to continue to say there is this “deep state” that tried to launch a coup, and that he is trying to “clean the swamp,” while in fact, it is those professionals within the intelligence community, law enforcement community, who are trying to carry out their duties and responsibilities to the American people. Mr. Trump just continues to go down this road. I think it is having a very damaging impact.

WILLIE GEIST: What do you think, Director Brennan, happens from here? I think people watching want to know. They say, okay, Mueller didn’t like how the report was characterized by the attorney general. Fine, on the issue of obstruction of justice. Now, what? Is it Mueller sitting before the Senate and answering specific questions about what is inside the report? What is the outcome of this?

JOHN BRENNAN: Barr has to be interrogated.

WILLIE GEIST: That starts this morning at 10:00.

JOHN BRENNAN: And then Bob Mueller has to get in front of Congress, then Congress has to do its job.

And I’m still waiting for the Republicans to realize that the Trump ship is a sinking one. There are still rats on that ship, and there are individuals who are not going to separate themselves from Trump. But they do so at their own peril. And they need to fulfill their obligations, irrespective of their political affiliations. And to do it now rather than to allow this continued sinking of not just the presidency, but of these institutions of government that we rely on to keep us safe and secure.

As obsession with Trump tanks CNN ratings, network doubles down

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The pioneer cable news network is getting crushed in the ratings, coming in below Home and Garden TV, and has recently downsized and changed freelance payment terms – but shows no interest in changing the tone of its programming.

Both CNN and MSNBC have allowed themselves to be defined by hostility to both the administration and President Donald Trump personally since the 2016 election, breathlessly pushing the ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy theory.

While this strategy has largely worked for MSNBC – at least until special counsel Robert Mueller was forced to admit Russiagate was bogus – CNN has struggled to attract an audience beyond those trapped at hospitals and airports.

‘You’re called fake news’: Lavrov shoots down CNN’s ‘fake question’ on Venezuela

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Nielsen TV ratings for May show Fox News dominating for the 35th straight month with 1.3 million total day viewers, MSNBC lagging behind with 909,000, and CNN in the eighth place with 552,000.

CNN wasn’t even in the top 15 primetime spots (for comparison, HGTV came in fifth), and its three main primetime shows – hosted by Chris Cuomo, Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon – ranked 25, 26, and 35, respectively.

Could this have anything to do with the network’s obsession with Trump and his administration that no longer bothers hiding naked partisanship? No way, says CNN leadership, insisting they are “real news” and claiming to be victims of Trump’s “attacks” on “free press.”

In the real world, CNN offered buyouts to 100 or so people at its Atlanta, Georgia headquarters, earlier this month, including CNN International executive vice president Tony Maddox. Since then, it has also laid off a number of people from its Health division and drastically cut back production at its London bureau.

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Furthermore, the network’s parent company Warner Media recently sent out a notice to contractors that it is changing payment terms beginning in June, from 30 days to 90 days – essentially asking anyone it contracts to wait three months to get paid.

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But hey, have you heard that the US government now owns a condominium in New York City’s Trump Tower, because of the Mueller probe? Priorities, people!

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The twist is that CNN boss Jeff Zucker is laughing all the way to the bank, because CNN’s annual profits have doubled to $1.2 billion during his tenure. Some 70 percent of the network’s revenue comes not from advertisers but from carriage fees charged from cable and satellite operators. Some 90 million US households pay these fees every year, effectively subsidizing CNN and giving the network very little incentive to change its ways.

Pulling a Comey: How Mueller dog-whistled Democrats into impeachment of Trump

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Robert Mueller is special counsel no more, but he fired a parting shot during his televised statement that has sent Democrats into a frenzy of calls for impeaching President Donald Trump, whether by accident or by design.

At a remarkable press conference on Wednesday – at which he refused to take questions – Mueller sank the theory that Attorney General William Barr somehow misinterpreted his report, and sent a clear message to House Democrats eager to have him testify about the probe that “the report is my testimony.”

‘Case closed!’ Trump tweets nothing’s changed as resigned Mueller says charging him wasn’t an option

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Despite years of work, millions of dollars and near-unlimited powers, Mueller’s special prosecutors found zero evidence of collusion or conspiracy – and absent that underlying crime, no grounds to charge the US president with obstruction of justice, even as they wrote up 240 pages of tortured reasoning as to why they wanted to. Case closed, conspiracies put to bed, lots of people with egg on their face, time for the republic to move on, right?

Wrong!

Did you honestly expect people who have gone all in on a conspiracy theory about Russia somehow “stealing” the election from Hillary Clinton – investing not just the past three years, but their entire political and media capital into it – to give up just because there isn’t a grain of truth in it? Instead, they latched onto Mueller’s carefully weasel-worded declaration:

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That was no mere misstep, either. Mueller followed that line up with a passage about how his office did not make a determination whether Trump committed a crime because the standing policy of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) is that a sitting president cannot be indicted. Not their fault, you see, they had no choice.

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Except they did, and they had the avenue to make their claim – but chose not to, knowing that Barr would shoot it down, because he disagreed with their interpretation of obstruction laws long before he became AG. But those are details known to lawyers and honest legal analysts, not the propagandists and conspiracy-peddlers who have spent years whipping the American public into a hysteria not seen since the 1950s.

Mueller’s was a weasel statement, worthy of former FBI boss and his personal friend James Comey – who actually admitted to Congress that he hoped to force the appointment of a special counsel by leaking the memos of his meetings with Trump to the press.

It also seems to have been a dog-whistle to Democrats, who have been arguing ever since the Mueller report was published that it totally proved obstruction of justice and gave them the pretext for impeachment. A variety of party luminaries, such as House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-New York), presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and firebrand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), now doubled down on the claim.

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What happens next is anybody’s guess: Democrats may hope enough Republicans will break ranks to successfully impeach and convict Trump, though that’s no more likely to succeed than any of the schemes to overturn the 2016 election result so far. Or they might hope that impeachment proceedings will mobilize their voters for 2020. Either way, the opposition party and the media aligned with it are determined to keep flogging the dead horse of Russiagate, hoping it will deliver them victory.

Those who believe Mueller’s mission was to “get Trump” will no doubt be happy with the former special counsel’s last move. But Americans who hoped he would clear the air clogged by endless conspiracy theories have every right to feel disappointed.

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‘Putin has a Mueller pee tape!’ Waiting for the most insane takes from Special Counsel’s statement

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After Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered a public statement standing by the findings of his final report, liberal commentators began reading between the lines. How long before Putin is accused of getting to Mueller?

Mueller delivered his public statement on Wednesday, and offered very few surprises. His final report, which cleared President Donald Trump of colluding with Russia in 2016 and found insufficient evidence to bring obstruction charges against the president, “speaks for itself,” Mueller said. The Special Counsel also stated that Attorney General William Barr has already “made the report on our investigation largely public,” and that he would not testify on anything beyond the publicly available information.

Pulling a Comey: How Mueller dog-whistled Democrats into impeachment of Trump

So a bland statement of Justice Department policy? On the surface, yes. But that didn’t stop Democrats from clamoring for further investigations, or viewing Mueller’s declination to prosecute as a dog-whistle for impeachment.

Journalist Mark Ames joked that “Putin has a Mueller pee tape,” a reference to one particularly lurid tale presented in the ‘Steele Dossier.’ Ironically, the Steele Dossier – though completely uncorroborated – was used by the FBI to justify surveilling the Trump campaign and played a central role in kick-starting the investigation that Mueller eventually took over.

Ames added: “If Maddow doesn’t air a segment tonight claiming Putin has a Mueller pee tape, it can only mean one thing – Putin has a Maddow pee tape.”

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Actually, the idea that Maddow would air such a segment on Mueller is not a far-fetched one.

In the two years since Mueller took over the ‘Russiagate’ investigation, Maddow has flung dung-heaps of conspiratorial Russian nonsense at viewers every night. There was her warning that the Kremlin could “flip the off switch” on the US power grid and freeze Americans to death last winter, the suggestion that Trump personally paid for the services of “Russian hackers,” and the insistence that Vladimir Putin would use the (then debunked) ‘Pee Tape’ to force Trump to withdraw US troops from Eastern Europe (the exact opposite happened).

Fake news takedown: Journalist shreds Rachel Maddow’s Russiagate conspiracies

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Of course, Maddow is not the only peddler of Russian hysteria out there. Nor is MSNBC the only outlet to do a little mind-reading in its coverage of Mueller’s statement.

“He seems to think that the president committed a crime,” one talking head offered on Wednesday, adding that perhaps “future prosecutors” should re-examine the president’s conduct once he leaves office.

CNN correspondent Sara Murray weighed in with her own Mueller lip-reading: “Mueller was telling everybody ‘Look at what I’m saying, I couldn’t do it (prosecute), because the law would not allow me to, but, even if the law did not allow me to charge him, I still could not clear him and I am telling you that.”

No idea is too wild or unbelievable for Maddow or the CNN talking heads to entertain. Tune in, but bring the tinfoil hat and the rubber sheets.

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