An epidemic of TDS in the Marx Bros. me­dia

The Washington Times Daily - - COMMENTARY - Wes­ley Pru­den is edi­tor in chief emer­i­tus of The Times.

Just about the time the fever on the nut left seems to be sub­sid­ing there’s an­other out­break of Trump Derange­ment Syn­drome. Nor­mal-look­ing folk who sound like they es­caped a Marx Bros. movie fall into a re­lapse. The bomb­shell that Su­san Rice, Barack Obama’s chief source of in­tel­li­gence, was guilty of “un­mask­ing” Trump cam­paign­ers iden­ti­fied in in­tel­li­gence find­ings, un­hinged sev­eral com­men­ta­tors on the tele­vi­sion net­works. Col­leagues and by­standers couldn’t de­cide whether to call se­cu­rity or medics.

The Chicken Noo­dle Net­work demon­strated why it has fallen on hard times, say­ing it would not re­port bad news about its fa­vorite po­lit­i­cal per­son­al­i­ties. “Let us be very clear about this,” said

Don Le­mon, one of CNN’s star news readers and part-time house dick. “There is no ev­i­dence what­so­ever that the Trump team… was spied on il­le­gally. There is no ev­i­dence that backs up the pres­i­dent’s orig­i­nal claim. And on this pro­gram tonight, we will not in­sult your in­tel­li­gence by pre­tend­ing oth­er­wise, nor will we aid and abet the peo­ple who are try­ing to mis­in­form you [with] a di­ver­sion.” Mr. Le­mon’s view­ers who want to know would have to go to an­other chan­nel for an­other in­ves­ti­ga­tor.

At MSNBC, the lead­ing tele­vi­sion net­work on Planet Pluto, Chris Matthews was more than will­ing to talk about the bomb­shell but first he had to find some­one to help him get a grip. The bug that crawls up his leg when he thinks about Barack Obama was bit­ing again.

When he thought about it, he was sure that the Rice bomb­shell, with the im­pli­ca­tion that what­ever U.S. in­tel­li­gence sources had picked up about the Trump cam­paign had been passed on to the In­sur­rec­tion, was fake news the new pres­i­dent was push­ing to dis­tract at­ten­tion from the in­ves­ti­ga­tions into con­tacts, if any, be­tween Mr. Trump and the Rus­sians.

“Why is [the pres­i­dent] go­ing af­ter Su­san Rice?” he de­manded of no one present. “It’s like he pulls out — he’s like an old [disc jockey]. He pulls out old records from 20 years ago and plays them again.”

Then he played video clips from three Repub­li­can sen­a­tors — Rand Paul of Ken­tucky, Tom Cot­ton of Ar­kan­sas and Lind­sey Gra­ham of South Carolina — rais­ing ques­tions about Miss Rice’s be­hav­ior, and read a tweet from Mike Huck­abee spec­u­lat­ing about Su­san Rice in an orange prison jump suit. Sen. Cot­ton called her Typhoid Mary, for show­ing up ev­ery time there was a scan­dal or shame in the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“Oh, God,” cried David Corn, a guest pan­elist.

“I mean,” said Chris, “Huck­abee has no shame. These guys are troop­ing along, like camp fol­low­ers of Trump.”

Piped up an­other guest, one Si­mon Marks: “They’re look­ing for a pinata. They found one in Su­san Rice. I do think – ”

Chris al­lows no think­ing on his show, so he cut him off in mid-sen­tence. “Notice it’s a fe­male. Just a thought.” (Only Chris is per­mit­ted an oc­ca­sional ran­dom thought.)

“Well, said Si­mon

Marks, try­ing to get back in the con­ver­sa­tion, “that’s true. That’s also true. But

I do think she slightly played into her hand — into their hands.


Mary?” asked


Well, no. Mr. Marks was talk­ing about Su­san Rice. Chris does not al­ways pay at­ten­tion when some­one else is talk­ing. He in­ter­rupted again.

“Su­san Rice’s job is to watch na­tional se­cu­rity,” Chris said, ap­par­ently un­aware that Su­san Rice hasn’t had that job since Amer­ica changed pres­i­dents. There’s not only a new pres­i­dent, but a new ad­viser with the job of “watch­ing na­tional se­cu­rity.”

But then Chris wanted to talk about the movies. He sug­gested that Su­san Rice, or maybe it was Tom Cot­ton or Mike Huck­abee, he wasn’t sure, had been liv­ing in the Bates Mo­tel, with a de­ranged killer from the fa­mous Al­fred Hitch­cock movie “Psycho.” Chris watches a lot of movies and some­times has trouble keep­ing the char­ac­ters straight.

Then it was off for a his­tory les­son. The Trump fam­ily, par­tic­u­larly First Daugh­ter Ivanka Trump Kush­ner, re­minds him of the Ro­manovs, the Im­pe­rial Rus­sian fam­ily slain by rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies in 1917. Trump Derange­ment Syn­drome ap­par­ently en­cour­ages fan­tasies about as­sas­si­na­tions. A colum­nist for The Washington Post seemed to ob­serve not long ago that as­sas­si­na­tions of­ten put an end to un­happy eras.

Treat­ing Trump Derange­ment Syn­drome is not easy. Dr. Quack­en­bush, the cel­e­brated physi­cian would tell you that we must be pa­tient, be­cause there will be episodes of in­tense derange­ment, and then the af­flic­tion sub­sides, only to flare again. The con­fir­ma­tion this week of Neil Gor­such to the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to un­hinge Chris, David and Don again.

Dr. Quack­en­bush, who achieved cel­lu­loid im­mor­tal­ity in the Marx Brothers movie “A Day at the Races,” was trained to doc­tor horses, and he would know which end of Chris and the guys to ex­am­ine. If only he were here.


Dr. Quack­en­bush

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