The Trump era has stretched the capacity of TV news anchors for euphemism. There’s so much cowardice, stupidity and mendacity flowing each day in the public discourse that, at some point, the broadcaster must toss all pretense of family-friendly newspeak.

MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace reached that threshold on Tuesday afternoon.

The afternoon host abridged the situation surrounding Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, who had been testifying in the House about what he witnessed as the top Ukraine hand for the National Security Council. According to his opening statement, Vindman was concerned enough about President Trump’s pressuring Ukraine to investigate a potential political opponent — former vice president Joe Biden — that he sent his thoughts up the NSC’s org chart. Though Vindman is a lieutenant colonel in the Army who was wounded while on duty in Iraq, Trump and his backers have seen fit to undercut him.

Wallace went off: “His biography and his life of service make the attacks against him remarkable. At a time when attacks on once-sacred institutions and their leaders have stopped being noteworthy or newsworthy, Trump went from not knowing him to calling him a Never Trumper in the course of an hour and a half this morning," she said.

That’s “nothing,” argued Wallace, when compared to the “smear campaign happening on cable news.” Here, MSNBC ran tape of three segments — two on Fox News, including one by “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade and another by host Laura Ingraham and guest John Yoo; and one on CNN featuring CNN contributor and former congressman Sean P. Duffy. After showing Yoo saying “some people might call that espionage” in describing Vindman’s testimony, Wallace said, “Except those people aren’t chickens--- like the three of you, and they know that he passed a background check that the president’s daughter and son-in-law didn’t.”

Among the three major cable-news providers, MSNBC has unique standing on this matter. It’s not Fox News, meaning that it doesn’t run heinous Trump propaganda several hours per day. Nor is it CNN, meaning that it hasn’t spent years trying to hire and manage pro-Trump contributors who do nothing but spew nonsense onto its airwaves. That’s what happened on Tuesday morning, as Duffy wondered about Vindman’s loyalties: “I don’t know about his concern [for] American policy, but his main mission was to make sure the Ukraine got those weapons. I understand it: We all have an affinity to our homeland where we came from,” he said.

CNN host Brianna Keilar later rapped Duffy for the remarks: “That is some anti-immigrant bigotry and it’s an odd questioning of patriotism coming from Sean Duffy, the guy who spent part of his 20s on MTV’s ‘The Real World’ and ‘Real World/Road Rules Challenge’ while Alexander Vindman spent his on foreign deployments, including one to Iraq where he earned a Purple Heart after he was injured by a roadside bomb.”

This very drama — a pro-Trump CNN contributor saying something dumb or offensive, followed by real-time and delayed-action rebukes by CNN journalists — is a long-standing thing. MSNBC doesn’t play this game. It has anchors with perspectives; it has reporters; but it doesn’t have Sean Duffy, which clears the decks for people like Wallace to break through the bull----.

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