The Marjorie Taylor Greene Normalization Tour

This shouldn’t be considered normal politics.

Marjorie Taylor Greene was on August Respectable Media Program 60 Minutes to be interviewed by Celebrated Journalist Leslie Stahl.

How’d it go? Ask Marge herself…

The Tweet included no accusations of pedophilia or a child sex trafficking ring in the basement of the CBS News offices, so without even watching it, I got the feeling it was a depressing fluff piece. I also saw the framing in the Tweet from the 60 Minutes Twitter account, which described her insane, hateful opinions as “intense” and “in your face.”

And yet at the end of watching it, I realized it was even worse than I expected. For starters, in a voiceover as the interview began, Stahl described Greene as “smart” and “fearless.”

One of those “intense,” “in your face” opinions that got Greene labeled as “fearless” is that Democrats are the “party of pedophiles.” Okay, so Stahl really took Greene to the mat on that one, right?



That is one example of what 60 Minutes described as an “in your face” opinion offered by a “smart person.” Another example was when she called a Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg “little Hitler.” Or when she called for the execution of prominent Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi in 2018 and 2019 on Facebook. You really could go on and on.

There has been a pretty hard drive at normalizing Greene since January. Salon writer Amanda Marcotte noted this at the beginning of the year, lamenting that many in the mainstream media will drive it. If you doubted this or wrote it off as “the left being hysterical again” then the Stahl interview would hopefully give you some pause.

However, Stahl had her defenders. Joe Scarborough, co-star of MSNBC’s Hit Marriage Comedy Morning Joe (And Mika Too!) put it out there this morning that “sunlight is the best disinfectant” and noted that 60 Minutes has interviewed all kinds of Worst People Ever, such as Charlie Manson. I absolutely respect that take. And points to Joe for putting MTG on the same level as Manson, but the problem with that defense is you need the interviewer to be a lot tougher than what Stahl was during the interview.

So why are they doing this? It is really hard to say. It could be that despite having eight or so years now to learn how to deal with a new political reality where one party is completely unhinged and does things like lie repeatedly on 60 Minutes, many in the media still cling to old models where you trust both sides are good faith. The media, to be clear, is in no way a homogeneous organization, as there are many different outlets and journalists who are pretty upset over this interview at the moment. But for a well-respected media show like 60 Minutes to appear this out-of-touch with what is really happening is rather disturbing.

Another theory is simply that Greene now has power, given her leadership role with the Republican Party, so she is now “part of the club.” It doesn’t matter how insane she is, what really matters is she is now a power broker so “we” must take her seriously. So crazy things like accusing your political opponents of being pedophiles are “in your face” and “strong opinions” that are “fearless.”

The darkest theory is that being run by wealthy people, they either see Greene as a means to an end (MTG is a Republican so that means passing things that rich people want to be passed), or deep down they love the anti-semitism and attacks on Democrats. None of these theories is good news, but that one would be the worst outcome for America.

They ended the Greene segment with a strange pondering by Stahl, where she wondered if Marge could “expand her brash MTG brand beyond the right-wing populist base.” That is not a mere “gosh what if Governor _________ could appeal to voters outside their state and go national” type of question to ask when it is regarding Greene. That is genuinely frightening.

People might bring up how Edward R. Murrow took down Joe McCarthy and destroyed his 1950s Commie witchhunt as an example of why it is good to have this kind of person on major news shows. But it is imperative that the interviewer, especially one as seasoned as Stahl, is a lot tougher. This is not just the left saying this, but as I have shown above, people like Tom Nichols are as well.

As far as that brand appeal…if this brand appeals to people outside of her base, I cannot understate how much our country is in trouble:

The last word goes to The Hold Steady, who has a wonderful new album out, “The Price of Progress” that features Craig Finn’s unique speak-sing style of storytelling. One of the songs is a good last word for this post, “Distortions of Faith,” a ballad about a desperate musician on the downside of her career playing a gig for a dictator to pays them millions. Oh, the parallels…


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