Must-see TV

I may have, on occasion, professed that I rather like Rachel Maddow, and I’ve more than once posted here about her. This one, though, isn’t just fangirl squee, trust me.

Maddow knocked it out of the park last night with this Tom Ridge interview. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s worth your attention. The clip below is one of three, the other two are on her showsite. She devoted over half the program to the conversation with Ridge, starting with the topic of whether politics influenced DHS terror alerts, whether Ridge has backtracked on statements to that effect made in his new book, then moving on to Iraq intelligence and the failured FEMA response to Katrina.

It’s a remarkable bit of broadcasting, not just for what Ridge says or doesn’t say, and not just for Maddow’s tenacious questioning. What really struck me as I watched it was that somethingreal was happening here, something we don’t see very often. By “real” I obviously don’t mean Ridge is telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. Rather that, as the interview unfolds, there’s a palpable sense that we, along with Ridge, really don’t know where it’s going to end.

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6 thoughts on “Must-see TV

  1. Dan says:

    I saw it last night and thought it was above average but fairly run of the mill stuff – until the end. When she politely but directly confronted him on the failure of the GOP to own up to its mistakes, and said straight out that Republicans would stay in the wilderness until they moved off the “intelligence failures” meme on Iraq, it became absolutely riveting.

  2. BuggyQ says:

    Does anyone else find it odd that he used the phrase, “Via the YouTube video of it…”?
    DHS has a YouTube channel?
    Srsly, I never thought Ridge was the brightest bulb, and this interview did absolutely nothing to change my mind. Pretty much non-stop, “I know I wrote that, but obviously the guy that wrote that was talking out of his ass.”
    On the other hand, I always thought Rachel was amazing…and this video did absolutely nothing to change my mind. I think she got further with the respectful attitude than she would have with an adversarial one, which is one reason I think she’s such a good interviewer across the board. My favorite moment, though, was “You don’t think they had any role in skewing the intelligence to a foregone conclusion–you think it was an intelligence community error and not a politicized decision–*really*?”

  3. pansypoo says:

    it’s the ‘do it again’ that shows their incompetence.

  4. mdh says:

    I saw on another site that mentions Ridge sniffs after each ‘dubious statement’.

  5. HarDeeHarHar says:

    I don’t even remember the last time the color-coded threat level chart was used. Clearly, the usefulness of the scare tactic is very limited.

  6. spocko says:

    I found the, “In their hearts they were doing it to protect America” argument interesting. This is about intention. Gee that’s swell, but as Rachael points out, the whole forgone conclusion in the lead up to the war was part of it.
    We KNOW Cheney was looking for the data that would support this. And he would ignore the data that didn’t.
    The ending, “I’m not going to convince you and you aren’t going to convince me.” bit was interesting. But who really needs convincing? Did, in this case make me believe him more? No. But I think that I believe that Ridge’s desire to think the best of Cheney, Rummy and Bush says something.
    What if you found out in some secret video/tape Cheney saying, “We will be able to control the oil this way.” Or Rummy saying, “All the good targets are in Iraq” or Bush saying, “It’s Got to be Saddam!” after 9/11.
    That’s not safety, that’s Money, Glory and Revenge.
    I remember Melanie M organ saying, after finding out something was patently untrue, “I know in my heart…” Gee, great. The facts are wrong. The people lied to you. The intentions were base. Yet if you know it, “In your heart” well then it’s fine.
    Frak that.

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