When You Start Making Maureen Dowd Look Classy By Comparison…

 

BarnicleI’ve never much liked the “you won’t believe what the liberal media just said” game. Don’t get me wrong: I’m glad other people are doing it. It’s just never been a big part of my portfolio. It seems a little too easy. If — like me and, I’d imagine, many of our readers — you find most of the Left’s more prominent talking heads these days to be intellectual flyweights, it rarely feels worth the candle.

That said, I do harbor a longstanding vendetta against pundits who feel no compunction about shoehorning their ideology into other people’s tragedies. Last year, for instance, I posted about Paul Krugman trying to score political points off of Tom Coburn’s cancer, as well as Maureen Dowd’s shameless attempt to get a column on Hillary Clinton out of Robin Williams’ suicide, both efforts I found utterly tasteless. Well, MSNBC’s Mike Barnicle — who, the few times I’ve seen him on TV, has struck me as crazy but not MSNBC crazy — rounded out the triumvirate this weekend. Barnicle’s newest Daily Beast column starts out as a seemingly thoughtful reflection on last week’s shooting in Charleston:

A week filled with terror and trauma carried out by a sociopath, a 21-year-old racist named Dylann Roof seemed to conclude with a prayer in the form of the simple, eloquent words of Nadine Collier, whose 70-year-old mother, Ethel Lance, was one of nine dead among the pews of the Emmanuel African Methodist Church Wednesday night in Charleston, S.C.: “You took something very precious away from me,” Ms. Collier said to the killer in a courtroom where a bond hearing was held for Roof. “I will never talk to her ever again. I will never be able to hold her again. But I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul.”

What is forgiveness? An emotion? A coping mechanism? An element of deepest faith? A way for the heart and soul to combat the type of hate, anger, rage and a thirst for revenge that could ultimately consume a person? All of those and more?

That could be the opening of a serious analysis of one of the most profound moral exercises human beings are capable of performing.

Could be.

Only three paragraphs later, however, we’re here:

Politicians in Washington work in a small, sheltered world where they lurch from crisis to crisis that they create, nurture and use as ideological triggers in their selfish pursuit of re-election. The country stumbles forward, slowly but surely, only because the people are so much better, stronger and more capable than those we elect.

Barnicle’s hangup here is that guns are too easy — and treatment for mental illness too hard — to access. It’s a little gauche, to be sure — and it’s not helped any by the dumb, empty-calorie populism — but at least you can see the connective tissue.

Here, however, is where we end up in the final three paragraphs of the piece. I repeat — the very same piece:

Within days, perhaps this week, the United States Supreme Court will decide whether health insurance subsidies currently offered by the Affordable Care Act to people in 37 states can continue. If the court gives it a thumbs down, the law dies and millions will be stripped of health insurance. This will be viewed as a huge victory for many Republicans and conservatives who have fought endlessly and mindlessly to kill a law, kill anything really, with Barack Obama’s name attached to it.

The fiercest opponents of more people getting greater access to health insurance coverage have offered no real alternative. But this is nothing new for them and it extends beyond health care. Their goal is to obstruct. Their result is carnage and chaos and a governing system that is broken. And they have a succeeded.

In Charleston, S.C., one woman—Nadine Collier—in an incredible gesture offered forgiveness to a man filled with evil. Nobody knows if history will offer forgiveness or even understanding to those public people who have dropped their duty to a country in need of many things but perhaps most of all, simply a dose of common sense.

Oh. My. God.

It is a feat that Barnicle is so intellectually double-jointed as to even work out the mechanics of constructing such an essay. But then to marry that to the sort of moral blindness that thinks, “This mass slaughter is the perfect filter through which to discuss a Supreme Court case on statutory construction”? That’s crassness at a positively Olympian scale.

For his sake, it’s probably a good thing that Mike Barnicle got a head start on thinking about forgiveness.

 

There are 28 comments.

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  1. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    You are just trying to make me mad, aren’t you?

    • #1
  2. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    Troy, you have nuthin’. Nuthin’ I tell ya. Behold the epic crazy of a fully armed and operational Barnacle encrusted WordStar:

    Cardinal Raymond Burke is a 66-year-old guy who lives in Rome, dresses like Queen Elizabeth, and talks like someone who majored in misogyny at some bogus, backwoods, Bible-banging tent school. Until Pope Francis stripped him of the powerful Vatican post Pope Benedict had handed him, Burke behaved like the Catholic Church’s version of Ted Cruz, operating with an ego and an attitude that proclaimed him to always be right on matters of doctrine and dogma.

    All of the letters appearing in that last paragraph have appealed to the United Nations for refugee status and armed relief from the Kurds.

    • #2
  3. user_184884 Coolidge
    user_184884
    @BrianWolf

    I am in awe of the utter insanity.  My head hurts deeply.  How can someone like this get himself to think this way all the time?  How does he keep himself going day in and day out?  Wow.

    • #3
  4. user_82762 Thatcher
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Troy,

    Yes I agree the Mike Barnicle piece should be up for the mendacity story of the year award. Let’s see one psychotic young killer, one unbelievably strong relative of the victim and one gigantic bloated, ineptly designed & administered, fraudulently sold, government program. All rolled into one in the banal useless brain of Mike Barnicle.

    Fabulous.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #4
  5. user_1065645 Podcaster
    user_1065645
    @DaveSussman

    What’s shocking is that we are still shocked.

    You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.

    Rahm Emanuel

    • #5
  6. user_348375 Inactive
    user_348375
    @TrinityWaters

    This is far less important than Obama’s recent use of the now pejorative “n” word in a public address.  Astounding, truly.

    Barnicle’s pseudo-inellectual, or using the new term intellectualoid, blathering would have never been seen by me, but you snuck it by the censors, somehow.  Like has been said several billions of times before, you just can’t make this stuff up.  On the positive side, I’ve now had my yearly minimum requirement of progressive nonsense.

    • #6
  7. Crow's Nest Inactive
    Crow's Nest
    @CrowsNest

    I’m sometimes tempted to wonder whether the Good Lord decides to exercise His sovereignty of the universe on a lark every now and then by making men’s personalities correspond so closely to the accident of their given names that He nearly proves His existence simply by the demonstration of such sublime irony.

    • #7
  8. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    I spent a good part of the weekend (far more time and energy than I would care to admit) in a debate on Facebook (!) with a liberal over whether Fascism was inherently left-wing, or inherenty right-wing.  Leaving out the fact that anyone could have told me this was going to a fruitless endeavor which would leave me angry and frustrated, let me just say that the whole endeavor was both without point and quite infuriating.

    In the end, while I was quoting Nazi’s making statements about socialism to give evidence to my position, my opponent was telling me that the whole world disagreed with me and so did God.

    I come away from that encounter and the comments by Barnicle reassured about one thing:  they really are that stupid.  And by stupid I don’t mean lacking intelligence.  I mean stupid the way you mean it when the umpire calls a guy out at home plate, when it was plain to everyone else that the guy was safe.

    • #8
  9. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @TonyRyan

    To be fair to Barnicle the “tie everything to race to deflect from Obama’s incompetence” manoeuvre has worked pretty well for the last 6 years. Why not keep hammering away at it while it still has legs?

    Also, how apt is the name “Barnicle” for a political hack? Pity everyone in the political sphere didn’t have such an appropriate name. Would anyone vote for Jeb BS or Hillary Chancer?

    • #9
  10. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    well, Troy…  I think I’d be a bit hypocritical to agree with you 100%.  Inasmuch as virtually every essay I write on this site begins with some observation or anecdote and then ties it around to some other semi-related political point.  Sometimes, that’s just the way to write.  You start thinking about something and then you go where it leads you.  While I agree that the article you cited is particularly awful, and I’m having a bit of trouble even making that connection [presumably, this lady offered forgiveness and that applies to republicans and obamacare because they will require forgiveness], I don’t entirely disapprove of taking one thing to start your article and then ending up somewhere totally different with it.

    Or am I wrong?  Is there a more classy way to go about doing this?

    • #10
  11. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    And yet we continually surrender the narrative to these people. Truly, I think sometimes we deserve Obama and the Democrats. We deserve to be ruled by them.

    • #11
  12. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Douglas:And yet we continually surrender the narrative to these people. Truly, I think sometimes we deserve Obama and the Democrats. We deserve to be ruled by them.

    Who’s we?  Got a mouse in yer pocket?

    • #12
  13. Ricochet Moderator
    Ricochet
    @OldBathos

    I think there should be a prize for the first article that blames the shooting on Right Wing opposition to climate change legislation, gay marriage, tax increases and Hillary’s stonewalling on Benghazi. Maybe have a trophy called the Golden Gaper.

    • #13
  14. Troy Senik, Ed. Contributor
    Troy Senik, Ed.
    @TroySenik

    Ryan M:well, Troy… I think I’d be a bit hypocritical to agree with you 100%. Inasmuch as virtually every essay I write on this site begins with some observation or anecdote and then ties it around to some other semi-related political point. Sometimes, that’s just the way to write. You start thinking about something and then you go where it leads you. While I agree that the article you cited is particularly awful, and I’m having a bit of trouble even making that connection [presumably, this lady offered forgiveness and that applies to republicans and obamacare because they will require forgiveness], I don’t entirely disapprove of taking one thing to start your article and then ending up somewhere totally different with it.

    Or am I wrong? Is there a more classy way to go about doing this?

    It’s the substance, not the form. For one thing, as you note, the connection he’s trying to make is so attenuated as to defy comprehension. For another, there’s no sense of proportion, no recognition that nine people being murdered in cold blood inside their own church isn’t a ready point of comparison for a partisan argument about subsidies on a health insurance exchange.

    In other words, there’s nothing objectionable about meandering from one topic to another in the course of a column. There is, however, when you do so for the purpose of drafting still-warm corpses into the service of a non sequitur political argument.

    • #14
  15. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    Mike Barnicle is a serial plagiarist. I’m sure he’ll give a hearty MSNBC welcome to Brian Williams.

    • #15
  16. user_1006300 Member
    user_1006300
    @

    Tony Ryan:>>Also, how apt is the name “Barnicle” for a political hack?<<

    Virtually unsurpassable.

    • #16
  17. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @TonyRyan

    Spin:

    Douglas:And yet we continually surrender the narrative to these people. Truly, I think sometimes we deserve Obama and the Democrats. We deserve to be ruled by them.

    Who’s we? Got a mouse in yer pocket?

    I’m guessing “We” as in the citizens of the US….. didn’t you vote the Dems and Obama into power the last two Presidential election cycles? Speaking as an “EU” citizen who is a bit tired of preachy conservative Americans lumping us all in with the European political class who wormed their way to power over here I think it is sometimes appropriate that you guys take a step back and realise that the US too is a country whose majority of citizens allow power to drift towards those of a socialist bent also. Stones and glass houses and all that…

    • #17
  18. George Savage Contributor
    George Savage
    @GeorgeSavage

    This is just another example of Barnicle being Barnicle.

    My one and only letter-to-the-editor of The Boston Globe appeared in response to a Barnicle column.  It was the early 1980s and Mike had worked himself into a lather over President Reagan’s “fascism.”  As above, Mike’s column was complex–it had to be. In contrast, I apposed the dictionary definition of “fascism” with the Reagan policy raising Barnicle’s ire.  Of course, the two were plainly polar opposites.

    • #18
  19. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Aw. This makes me think of my Homiletics professor at Seminary: “You don’t have to give every sermon every Sunday.”

    • #19
  20. Pilli Inactive
    Pilli
    @Pilli

    Unfortunately, there are way too many people who think Barnicle’s way.  They are willing to equate anything as long as it fits their ideology.

    • #20
  21. user_216080 Thatcher
    user_216080
    @DougKimball

    Barnicle has been doing this kind of situational morality play for a long time.  It’s his gig.  He used to write for the Boston Globe, “true” stories of the downtrodden and the victims of life’s unfairness.  He tugged and tugged at the heartstrings until he could make his point: it’s all a fix by the rich and powerful.  Then he got caught.  His “real” victims could never corroborate their stories.  Why?  Because he made them up.  He lost his lucrative Globe post and his local news gigs.  They kicked him out of Boston, but he washed up in New York where the tabloids care less about truth and more about selling rags.  MSNBC picked him up, liar extraordinaire, but who cares as long as he sticks to the political line?  He’s the worst kind of lying hack, an unrepentant sanctimonious one.

    • #21
  22. Mark Thatcher
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    Doug Kimball:Barnicle has been doing this kind of situational morality play for a long time. It’s his gig. He used to write for the Boston Globe, “true” stories of the downtrodden and the victims of life’s unfairness. He tugged and tugged at the heartstrings until he could make his point: it’s all a fix by the rich and powerful. Then he got caught. . . . He’s the worst kind of lying hack, an unrepentant sanctimonious one.

    The other thing I remember from my years in Boston and reading the Globe is how hard Barnicle worked to portray Whitey Bulger as a “Robin Hood” kind of crook.  Yeah, he was a bit of a bad boy but he really gave back to his neighborhood!   You can add smug and self-satisfied to the descriptions of him.

    • #22
  23. user_139157 Inactive
    user_139157
    @PaulJCroeber

    Is there a site where Barnicle enters three or four disparate topics and it spits out a column?  I’ve seen such sites for quick dinner recipes from a bare pantry.

    • #23
  24. user_352043 Moderator
    user_352043
    @AmySchley

    Paul J. Croeber:Is there a site where Barnicle enters three or four disparate topics and it spits out a column? I’ve seen such sites for quick dinner recipes from a bare pantry.

    Maybe he has his own version of the Thomas Friedman column generator.

    • #24
  25. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Barnicle combines the correct proportions of plagiarism, condescending intellectual mediocrity and the delivery of a blowhard to be Biden’s press secretary.

    • #25
  26. liberal jim Inactive
    liberal jim
    @liberaljim

    I have long thought current professional pundits have become little more than pathetic parasites who spend most of their time exploiting tragedies.  Both the left and right are equally culpable in my view.

    • #26
  27. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    Liberal Jim, to expand on your theme:  I have always thought Barnicle’s name is particularly appropriate for someone who is a useless parasite stuck to the hull of the journalistic profession.  He is the hackiest of hacks.

    • #27
  28. Autistic License Thatcher
    Autistic License
    @AutisticLicense

    There is an agenda, socialist medicine, gun control, or some other obsession that each of these people was thinking about prior to the crisis. Then, the crisis comes. Then, they proceed with the same of obsession as if it just occurred to them. The opportunism is disgusting.

    • #28

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