Nets Spike Serious Concerns Feinstein’s Mind Is ‘Rapidly Deteriorating’

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On Thursday evening, the liberal San Francisco Chronicle published a concerning report featuring testimonials from an anonymous Democratic congressperson from California, multiple anonymous former staffers, and four anonymous senators (three of whom are Democrats) all suggesting Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA) was mentally unfit to serve. But there was no mention of this report on either the Friday morning or evening flagship newscasts of ABC, CBS, or NBC.

According to the Chronicle’s report, the California Democrat (a colleague of many years) had a particularly troubling interaction with the Senator where they needed to reintroduce themselves multiple times in the same conversation (Click “expand”):

When a California Democrat in Congress recently engaged in an extended conversation with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, they prepared for a rigorous policy discussion like those they’d had with her many times over the last 15 years.

Instead, the lawmaker said, they had to reintroduce themselves to Feinstein multiple times during an interaction that lasted several hours.

Rather than delve into policy, Feinstein, 88, repeated the same small-talk questions, like asking the lawmaker what mattered to voters in their district, the member of Congress said, with no apparent recognition the two had already had a similar conversation.

Instead of covering this frightening story, like the media did when they wanted the 25 Amendment used against former President Trump, ABC’s World News Tonight spent precious time talking about local weather reports and an update on the sale of a football thrown by Tom Brady. On CBS Evening News, they touted businesses turning to 4-day work weeks and electric aircraft for rich commuters.

For their part, NBC Nightly News frowned on Amazon raising shipping rates and touted the Twitter board’s “poison pill” approach to trying to block Elon Musk’s attempt to buy Twitter. But what makes NBC’s lack of coverage of the Feinstein story particularly terrible is that MSNBC had been talking about it pretty seriously.

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“California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein is responding to new questions about her mental fitness after the San Francisco Chronicle published a report saying four senators, three former Feinstein staffers, and an incumbent California member of Congress told them that her memory is rapidly deteriorating,” announced NBC political director Chuck Todd on Meet the Press Daily.

After noting “Feinstein initially declined to be interviewed for the story,” Todd noted she scrambled to the editorial board. Todd read Feinstein’s words to them: “I meet regularly with leaders. I’m not isolated. I see people. My attendance is good. I put in the hours. We represent a huge state. And so I’m rather puzzled by all this.”

And despite Todd saying the media and folk on Capitol Hill would have open conversations about Senator Strom Thurmond’s mental unfitness, NBC Capitol Hill correspondent Ali Vitali suggested it could be sexism that Feinstein’s mental unfitness was getting so much scrutiny:

There’s also the other piece of this where some people who would defend her are making this a question of gender, saying that even though we’ve seen this with lawmakers before but when its men like Senator Strom Thurmond or Thad Cochran, we seem to have a little bit more of an allowance for it. What people are saying with Feinstein here is are we just asking this of her because she’s a woman of a certain age?

That’s part of the conversation too, whether or not we’re being unfair on the gender piece.

But meanwhile, she started her comments by admitting Feinstein’s mental deterioration has been “something people have whispered about in the halls of Congress for some time now.”

Vitali did seem to take issue with Feinstein’s statement to the editorial board noting Feinstein was bragging about doing “the basics of being a senator[.]” “Someone said to me today she’s not not doing the job,” she recalled.

She also seemed to suggest Democrats were essentially just using Feinstein for her vote at this point. “[S]he’s showing up, she’s taking votes, she’s voting with a thumbs up on the things the Democrats need her to vote the thumbs up on,” Vitali said. Wondering: “But at the same time, is it too much to ask that your senators can do more than that?”

This blackout of serious questions surrounding a sitting senator’s mental fitness was made possible by lucrative sponsorships from Allstate on ABC, Xyzal on CBS, and Flonase on NBC. Their contact information is linked.

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

MSNBC’s MTP Daily
April 15, 2022
1:33:37 p.m. Eastern

CHUCK TODD: Welcome back. California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein is responding to new questions about her mental fitness after the San Francisco Chronicle published a report saying four senators, three former Feinstein staffers, and an incumbent California member of Congress told them that her memory is rapidly deteriorating. Feinstein is 88 years old and was first elected to the Senate [in] 1992.

According to the Chronicle, Feinstein initially declined to be interviewed for the story. But yesterday, she broke that silence telling the paper’s editorial board: “I meet regularly with leaders. I’m not isolated. I see people. My attendance is good. I put in the hours. We represent a huge state. And so I’m rather puzzled by all this.”

She also said she does not plan on stepping down before her term ends in 2025.

(…)

1:34:31 p.m. Eastern

Ali, I’ll simply ask you. The United States Senate regularly has folks that are up there in age. It’s been something when I got here, it was Strom Thurmond that we’d have these conversations about. The conversation that everybody has on Capitol Hill and then there’s a published report like this. How surprising was this published report?

ALI VITALI: I think that that’s the moment where the conversations that on Capitol Hill sort of merge with the public conversation then. Because this is something people have whispered about in the halls of Congress for some time now.

I do think it also kind of comes back to the idea of, what is the basics of being a senator? You seen Feinstein in the statement saying, ‘I see people, I have attendance.’ Someone said to me today she’s not not doing the job, which is to say she’s showing up, she’s taking votes, she’s voting with a thumbs up on the things the Democrats need her to vote the thumbs up on. But at the same time, is it too much to ask that your senators can do more than that?

So, that I think is the open question here.

There’s also the other piece of this where some people who would defend her are making this a question of gender, saying that even though we’ve seen this with lawmakers before but when its men like Senator Strom Thurmond or Thad Cochran, we seem to have a little bit more of an allowance for it. What people are saying with Feinstein here is are we just asking this of her because she’s a woman of a certain age?

That’s part of the conversation too, whether or not we’re being unfair on the gender piece.

(…)

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