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Sunday, July 22, 2018

The cast of Morning Joe Monday made the ultimate case for why journalism and discussion about the process of running for office — i.e., “process pieces” — is useless at best, and harmful at worst.

Joe Scarborough, Mark Halperin, Mike Barnicle, and Mika Brzezinski took turns analyzing a Sunday New York Times piece called “Crossing the Line: How Donald Trump Behaved With Women in Private,” which summarized early on its findings from dozens of interviews with women who had worked for, been social with, or dated Trump:

Their accounts … reveal unwelcome romantic advances, unending commentary on the female form, a shrewd reliance on ambitious women, and unsettling workplace conduct, according to the interviews, as well as court records and written recollections. The interactions occurred in his offices at Trump Tower, at his homes, at construction sites and backstage at beauty pageants. They appeared to be fleeting, unimportant moments to him, but they left lasting impressions on the women who experienced them.

But in discussing the article, Morning Joe fell back on cable TV punditry’s most reliable hedge: talking about how the article would affect the process of the election — and how it fit Donald’s “anti-PC” character — instead of talking about what it actually said about Trump.

“I will comment on this in the spirit of Reince Priebus,” Mark Halperin said, shedding any pretense and simply parroting GOP talking points. “If that’s the best they got on these issues and Donald Trump, Donald Trump should be celebrating that story.”

Instead of talking about the consequences that Trump’s misogyny could have in office — 18 of the world’s heads of state are women, and many hundreds more are elected members of national and international democratic bodies — it’s easier to talk about the imaginary opinions of future voters who, coincidentally, always seem to walk lock step with pundits’ imagined opinions of them — until they don’t.

Photo and video: MSNBC, Media Matters for America