Former MSNBC journalist Krystal Ball appeared on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher Friday night and during the Overtime segment told host Bill Maherthat she believes her former network is hurting progressive causes.
Maher had questions for each of his guests, and started with Ball, asking, “Do you feel networks like MSNBC…help or hurt progressive causes?”
“Overall, I think MSNBC in the Trump era had done real damage to the left and I’ll tell you why,” Ball began her answer.
“Damage?” interjected a surprised Maher.
“And I say that with love,” Ball continued. “I mean these are my former colleagues, friends.”
Ball explained. “I mean look, the Russia story and what happened there was important. But it was not all-important. And they went so far into the realm of conspiracy theorizing, I mean they had Jonathan Chait on..”
“Well it was a conspiracy,” interrupted Maher.
“…they had Jonathan Chait on to talk about how Trump may have been a Russian plant since 1987,” Ball continued.
“He may have been,” said Maher.
“This is ridiculous, okay. This is way out from what journalistic facts said, and it’s to the exclusion of other stories that people actually care about,” she said. She listed a number of issues and said “they don’t get focus when you only look at one thing.”
“They built up expectations so much that when the report came out you were like, oh, it’s no big deal. And it was a big deal,” said Ball.
Fellow guest Bari Weiss added “I agree, it was like anything short of a pee tape was nothing.”
Missing the point, Bill Maher said that the person who “shit the bed” was Robert Mueller, which got big applause from the audience that likewise missed Ball’s point.
Eventually Maher and the other guests morphed Ball’s point from being that the network over-hyped the conspiracy angle into a sort of semi-point that they built up the fairness and impartiality of Mueller too much, to which Ball half-heartedly relented.
Watch the clip above, courtesy of HBO.