September 20, 2013

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Rachel Maddow (Ali Goldstein/Associated Press)
Rachel Maddow (Ali Goldstein/Associated Press)

“We need to put our muscle where our mouth is,” said CNN commentator S.E. Cupp in a CNN panel regarding the diplomatic solution now underway to deal with Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile. Bombs must be dropped, argued Cupp, one of the stars of the relaunched debate show “Crossfire.”

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow couldn’t help but notice, and condemn with sizzling invective, Cupp’s unequivocal war boosterism: “‘Our muscle.’ In this case, because I do not think she is enlisting in the Marines, I think this is probably a royal ‘we,’” sneered Maddow. “Another pundit who has a job talking in a television studio talking tough about a war who ought to be started and volunteering other people, other people`s children, to go fight that war.” Maddow then skipped to Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, who said, among other things, “USA could have pulverized his military machine, but because of the so-called compromise, the USA will not bomb him.”

The American public, Maddow argued, defies such punditry on the issue of Syria. She cited a Washington Post/ABC News poll that asked folks about trading missile strikes for the negotiated solution in which President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons stockpile ends up destroyed. “Seventy-nine percent of Americans say, yes, I like this idea. This is a better idea than sending the U.S. military, whether or not it includes a pundit brigade,” said Maddow.

Now for the alleged disconnect over Syria diplomacy: “The public loves it,” said Maddow. “The media and almost the whole pundit class hates it. Why is that?”

Reaching a bit, Maddow said this: “It seems to me there has to be a corrective if 80 percent of the country thinks something’s a bad idea, and 80 percent of the media is telling them the opposite.” She could be right, but citing Cupp, O’Reilly and a Washington Post column doesn’t quite qualify as 80 percent of the media. The Erik Wemple Blog requires more proof.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.