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RNC Chair Reince Priebus speaks at CPAC 2013.
You let Reince Priebus walk all over you? Now that's just sad.
It was expected that the MSNBC network heads would roll over, when the Republican National Committee vowed to "boycott" the network because a mean tweet had hurt their feelings. It was also to be expected that rolling over would accomplish exactly nothing, other than giving the least effective political voice in America a chance for gloating:
Priebus gave MSNBC president Phil Griffin credit for apologizing, but the RNC chairman still delivered a stern warning to the channel: we've got our eyes on you.

"So, look, this was a first step. It was the first time I talked to Mr. Griffin. He reacted pretty quickly, and now we have to stay on top of it," Priebus told conservative pundit Sean Hannity.

"So, you know what? It's sort of like being on probation, I guess. But the fact of the matter is we're here, we're watching them and it's our responsibility — and it's mine in particular, I think —also to stand up for our party. That's what I did today, and I'll do it again. I promise you that."

Of course they'll do it again. Doing it again is what they do. You can't show movies about Hillary Clinton, you can't have some backroom staffer tweet something insulting about the 'rightwing,' you can't have certain people on your network if the 'rightwing' doesn't like them, and you'll be put on probation even if you humiliate yourself in every demanded way—but other than that, hey, independent, professional news outlet, baby!

There's no way around it: Griffin got played. He got played badly, and worse, he got played by Reince Priebus, who is to American politics what the neighbor dog is to your front lawn. The actual power of Reince Priebus is limited to denying network access to a small stable of professional bullshit artists, which should be frightening only if you honestly can't think of any other professional bullshit artists in all of Washington to fill their shoes, which a quick glance at the ol' network programming suggests is not, in fact, any sort of problem at all. Furthermore, the premise that Reince Priebus would be able to hold himself back from an invitation to appear on television for any span longer than a week is (1) a hilarious premise and (2) something I would love to see. Reince Priebus' job is to spout bullshit on television. Reince Preibus refusing to spout bullshit on television would cut Reince Priebus off from the only part of his job that proves to the people paying his checks that he is doing anything at all.

And all of this, of course, rests on the rather dubious premise that paid professional bullshit artists are such essential voices to the public that the threat of withholding some very small subset of them is, in fact, an actual threat. As opposed to, say, a glorious opportunity to not expose your audience to paid professional bullshit artists.

Yes, yes, the original tweet noting that the American 'rightwing' (not Republicans, mind you, but Reince did the banner job of conflating the two for us, embracing the very term that most of his predecessors considered it their sacred duty to avoid) continues to have issues with racism—that was a very naughty tweet, and should have gotten someone a stern talking-to. It was fine to pull it. It was fine to apologize for it. It was less fine to apologize for it multiple times, and fire someone, and call the least powerful political figure in America on the tellyphone with your ---- in your hand to plead for forgiveness for J. Random Staffer being mean to racists, i.e. Republicans, i.e. Reince Priebus. No. You tell the 'rightwing' it was dealt with, you tell the 'rightwing' you are sorry for hurting their fee-fees, and then you move on with the important task of coordinating which professional bullshit artists will appear on which shows to spout which condescending bullshit and which flagrant lies, same as any other day.

Let us let the networks of America in on a little-known secret. The 'rightwing', as they call themselves now, are a bit insincere in their outrages. A 'rightwing' pundit is allowed to call the political opposition outright racists as much as they want—in fact, you can even make a decent living among the 'rightwing' by putting out books declaring Liberals To Be Like Hitler, straight-up—and all the nice networks will stumble over themselves in their efforts to promote said pundits, forevah. Lord help the poor peon who in any capacity points out 'rightwing' racism that actually goddamn happened, as covered by your own network, however. That person will become the new Bill Ayers, or the new ACORN, or the new general of the newest Agenda 21-driven United Nations-backed secret army that Obama has installed in all of America's colleges and newsrooms and trendy restaurants in order to wound the 'rightwing' via an extended underground campaign of Pointing Shit Out.

Please—just once, can we skip this part? I have no stake in this, personally—it is no skin off any of our noses if any particular big important news outlet gets themselves publicly humiliated, yet again, in yet the same way it always happens—but it is embarrassing. It's hard to watch. It's Charlie Brown and Lucy and the football, and Charlie Brown is too damn old and has too nice an office to be falling for this stuff.

Originally posted to Hunter on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 10:45 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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