Legacy media have fallen on hard times. With the hiring of former Trump lackey Mick Mulvaney, CBS has gone from the Tiffany network to the Tiffany Trump network. And that is why CBS News is malaka of the week. (I’m slightly tense about using the singular tense in this context, but I make the rules around here.)
Institutional malakatude can be hard to pin down. In this case, it’s down to the heads of CBS News one of whom was recorded explaining the hire to staff:
“If you look at some of the people that we’ve been hiring on a contributor basis, being able to make sure that we are getting access to both sides of the aisle is a priority because we know the Republicans are going to take over, most likely, in the midterms,” CBS News’s co-president Neeraj Khemlani told the staff of the network’s morning show, according to a recording of his comments obtained by The Washington Post. “A lot of the people that we’re bringing in are helping us in terms of access to that side of the equation.”
Is there anything more sickening than access journalism? I’m old enough to remember when crossing over from working for politicians to commenting on them was verboten. In 1997, there was a huge stink when ABC hired my diminutive countryman George Stephanopoulos after he left the Clinton administration. In that instance, it was because a line had been crossed. By 2022, that line had been erased. Hell, past malaka of the week Corey Lewandowski is on CNN. Bernie Shaw weeps.
Why Mick Mulvaney? He’s not even one of the more colorful Trumpers, he’s a mousy little man who still has the Impeached Insult Comedian’s footprints all over him.
M is for Malakatude, Mulvaney and Mendacity. Here’s the WaPo’s Jeremy Barr on some of Mick’s greatest hits:
In February 2020, while serving as President Donald Trump’s interim chief of staff, Mulvaney said that media coverage of the growing coronavirus pandemic was meant “to bring down the president.” He also infamously defended a Trump administration decision to withhold military aid from Ukraine for political purposes, and predicted in a Nov. 7, 2020, Wall Street Journal opinion column that Trump would gracefully accept electoral defeat.
He’s not only a liar, he’s been wrong time and time again. His lies about Ukraine signaled the Kremlin that the Trump Regime was willing to sell-out Ukraine in exchange for dirt on the Bidens. That makes Mulvaney unfit to even take a tour of Black Rock, let alone work there. Murrow, Sevareid, Cronkite, and Rather weep.
Network news used to be the only game in town. We were a CBS News house when I was growing up. My father had an almost supernatural respect for Walter Cronkite and the others who covered World War II. Edward R. Murrow was gone by the time I was sentient but his protege Eric Sevareid still did commentary for CBS. He was an imposing man who looked like an Old Testament prophet as he delivered his elegantly written commentaries.
Can you imagine any current anchors or reporters getting their own stamp?
I’m not nostalgic for the days when three networks controlled television news and white men got all the airtime. I like today’s diffuse and diverse news environment courtesy of the internet. I wouldn’t be a pundit without it.
I am, however, nostalgic for the days when access journalism was a dirty word and the likes of Murrow, Cronkite, Sevareid, and Rather weren’t obliged to treat the likes of Mick Mulvaney like an oracle. And that is why CBS News is malaka of the week.
The last word goes to dissident CBS Late Show host Stephen Colbert. The Mulvaney part of the monologue begins at around the 8:40 mark.