MSNBC's 'Political Playground' is better suited for a Simpsons 'Tree House of Horrors' Halloween special.
MSNBC’s ‘Political Playground’ is better suited for a ‘Simpsons’ ‘Treehouse of Horrors’ Halloween special. Although, the way Krystal Balll exploits her own child on television for a national audience might be too sick for devil Ned Flanders to handle.

Since I don’t own a television, you’ll have to forgive me if I seldom watch any of MSNBC’s ‘The Cycle,’ which features a segment called ‘Political Playground.’ Now that I am familiar with it, it’s actually something I’d expect to see in a Simpsons Tree House of Horrors Halloween special. And, in truth, when I do watch MSNBC at work, I usually catch Reverend Al Sharpton later in the day. I’m routinely fascinated by his ability to keep a show when almost every single guest he brings into the studio (except Meghan McCain) is intellectually out of his league.

Take a second to digest for a moment a major cable news channel that brings children in for regular segments, at which point they are asked a series of leading questions until they arrive at a place where they can parrot the public policy preferences of its target audience. MSNBC’s Krystal Ball plays the prosecuting attorney, who will do whatever she needs to do to get her star pupil — her daughter — to stand up for the liberal cause de rigueur. On MSNBC, pimping out your political pawn-child on national television is seen as ratings gold.

The following is a partial transcript of the piece. I have cut out a portion where Krystal Ball talks about not being able to marry trees and cars.

Krystal Ball: So Ella, this week a lot of people have been talking about marriage and I was wondering if you can tell us: What is marriage?

Ella: I don’t know.

Krystal Ball: You don’t know what marriage is?

Ella: (awkward pause)

Krystal Ball: What does it mean if you get married?

Ella: Uh, it means that you live together.

Krystal Ball: It means that you live together. And who can you marry? Can you marry like, a car? No? Who can you get married to?

Ella: Um, a person.

Krystal Ball: A person. What kind of person?

Ella: Like a person who doesn’t have a wife or a husband.

Krystal Ball: Uh-huh. And what makes a person decide if they want to get married?

Ella: Like they get in love with each other.

Krystal Ball: They get in love with each other? How does someone get in love with each other?

Ella: Well they talk and stuff and they say: “Hmm. I’m in love with you.” …

Krystal Ball: (Awkward pause) What if you were in love … with a girl? Could you marry a girl?

Ella: Only here could I marry a girl.

Krystal Ball: Here in New York you can marry a girl?

Ella: Mmm-hmm. Because girls can marry girls and boys can marry boys in New York. And a girl can marry a boy in New York, too.

Krystal Ball: And that’s good because you want people to be able to marry people they’re in love with, right?

Ella: Yeah.

Krystal Ball: Well, how come other places a girl can’t marry a girl?

Ella: I don’t know.

Krystal Ball: That seems strange, right?

Ella: I don’t know.

Krystal Ball: That’s strange right?

Ella: Tell me.

Krystal Ball: some other places haven’t decided yet that you should be able to, if you’re a girl, marry another girl. They should change that, shouldn’t they?

Ella: Yeah.

Krystal: Yeah.

Ella: That’s crazy!

Krystal: It’s crazy because people should be able to marry who they love, right?

Ella: Yeah.

Krystal: Yeah, I think so, too.

What kind of warped person would exploit their own child in such a manner for political purposes? Should Fox News start segments where Steve Doocey brings children to gun ranges? (Please God, no!) Should Sean Hannity “Hannitize” a pre-schooler into saying the U.S. should preemptively strike North Korea?

I’ll tell you who would do such a thing: people who believe that kids belong not to their parents, but to “the community.” A woman like MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry (aka: Melissa — Did I tell  you I was sorta-kinda a Communist? — Harris-Perry):

“We have never invested in public education as much as we should have, because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. Your kid is yours, and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of “These are our children”; so part of it is that we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities. Once it’s everybody’s responsibility and not just the household’s, then we start making better investments,” (Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC promotional video).

And yes, this is the same Melissa Harris-Perry who refers to unborn babies as “things.”

At MSNBC, it seems only logical that an organization that employs people who see children as “things” would also hire someone who would exploit her own “thing” for hundreds of thousands of television viewers.

Remember the Chili Peppers’ “Throw Away Your Television”? I do. They were right on that one. Do it. You’ll thank me later.

About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

51 comments

  1. Krystal Ball –a stage name of a stripper. Fits right in to the genre at PMSNBC. Same type of loser perverts in the audience, I’ll wager.

    1. Maybe The New York Times should start printing pieces written by the children of their Opinion section.

      Her ‘New Age’ name aside, I don’t know what would ever possess Ms. Ball to do that to her child on television. Can you imagine the reaction that would take place if someone like Bill O’Reilly did that? You would never hear the end of it.

  2. How it might have gone in a rational universe:

    Krystal Ball: And that’s good because you want people to be able to marry people they’re in love with, right?

    Ella: Well … maybe not always.

    Krystal Ball: What do you mean, “maybe not always”?

    Ella: Well, is it OK for two brothers or sisters to get married? Or a father and a son? Or a mommy and a son? What if three people are in love? Can they get married?

    Krystal: Um, er, um, er, um …

    Ella: If you believe in marriage equality, why should marriage be limited to two unrelated people?

    Krystal: Um, er, um, er, um …

    1. That’s the other thing — it sends a weird message to the MSNBC audience. It says: “Around here, our policy preferences are shaped by the limited cognitive abilities of a child — and yours should be, too!”

  3. ah, you didn’t have time for “games” earlier because you were busy constructing this masterpiecepost.

    1. It’s like you’re stuck in high school. How old are you? Do you have nothing better to do with your life than to make snide comments on my blog? Yeesh. Grow up.

    2. I don’t think someone who throws tantrums over comic books should be telling others to grow up.

      and if you’re so concerned about children, maybe you should pay attention to what Missouri Republicans and Tennessee Republicans are doing to kids, cutting government benefits to their families if they do poorly at school or miss too much school.

    3. You can characterize my blog posts however you want. I don’t care.

      The bottom line is this: I do not go to your blog and make snide comments that serve no other purpose than to make me smile at how witty I am and at how dumb other people are. Look in the mirror. Take a good hard look. Like I said, you really do need to grow up.

    4. I don’t think someone who throws tantrums over comic books should be telling others to grow up.

      Read the post. It wasn’t Doug who threw the tantrum, it was Dan Slott.

      And why don’t you write about the Missouri and Tennessee GOP instead of telling others to write about them? Like Doug said, “grow up.”

  4. It always disgusts me when people exploit kids like that. Yesterday, my local rag of a newspaper was using images of those who were massacred at Sandy Hook to drum up reader support for gun control measures. It was pretty pathetic. I won’t even bother sending them a letter, because they don’t publish letters from conservatives and/or libertarians.

  5. I did write about that in addition to other attacks against the poor, including from gutless Democrats.

    I know Doug would prefer that I don’t comment here, because though he likes to dish it out, he’s pretty thin-skinned about receiving criticism, which is why his attacks against me quickly get nasty and personal.

    1. Point me to the constructive criticism in this comment — your first of the day:

      “ah, you didn’t have time for “games” earlier because you were busy constructing this masterpiecepost,” (Lizard19).

      My eyes must be going bad, because I’m not seeing it. I am seeing ‘masterpiecepost’, though. Is it in there, or is that just you being useless again?

      And to clarify: I don’t have a preference either way about whether or not you comment. You’re giving yourself way too much credit. I will continue to do my thing, and whether you make inane comments or productive comments will not affect the endeavor.

    2. “constructive” is your word, not mine. I said criticism. and my criticism has been that your outrage is selective and partisan. if you are really concerned about children being exploited, you would be able to acknowledge that what the conservatives are trying to do in Missouri and Tennessee is wrong.

      using kids as props is pretty low, which is why I criticized Obama when he did it after Sandy Hook. and this worthless MSNBC pundit is also wrong doing what she did. but then you have to take it a step further and take a pretty innocuous comment by Perry and turn it into come kind of communist thing.

      we live in communities, right? is anyone who says it takes a village to raise a kid a communist? are people who acknowledge kids grow up within communities all mindless cogs in some borg fantasy of yours? if that’s what you really think, then that’s pretty messed up, and I hope you (and Carl) never procreate or adopt.

    3. “Innocuous” comment by Perry? We can agree to disagree.

      And I won’t say things like “I hope you never procreate” because I disagree with you.

      Have a nice day.

    4. And I won’t say things like “I hope you never procreate” because I disagree with you.

      no, when you don’t agree with someone, you say things like this lovely caption in your latest post:

      Push your fingers up against your nose to try and hide your shame, you moron. Read from your script like an android and call for the next witness with your “smart” glasses pushed up tight, you twit. You’ve just been hit with an intellectual sledgehammer by a Cuban immigrant who is more American than you’ll ever be.

      but keep at it, kid, because anger sells, and if you want to be like Breitbart, this blog is a decent audition. and for those who don’t know how vile Breitbart could be, there’s this snip from wikipedia:

      In the hours immediately following Senator Ted Kennedy’s death, Breitbart called Kennedy a “villain”, a “duplicitous bastard”, a “prick”[20] and “a special pile of human excrement”.

    5. yes, I do know when someone has nothing to bring to the table. focusing on my use of the word “kid” to avoid your liberal use words like “moron” and “twit” is a great example.

    6. I don’t need to respond to you. I’m perfectly confident that when people read my post, watch the video of Mr. Martinez, and then look at the response he — and the community — got through new gun regulations, they won’t hold it against me for calling Finger Face and Smart Glasses morons.

      Side note: The only people I’ve ever met who busted out with “kid” were blowhards. Do you have a picture of yourself? I’d love to see the face of the guy calling me “kid.”

    7. it’s great you have confidence that when you call people twits and morons, it’s justified. other people apparently have their justifications for calling you an idiot, like that Slott guy. I call you a partisan, and I noticed you stopped defending yourself against that depiction, probably because it’s accurate. and that’s fantastic, be a partisan, there are plenty of them out there perpetuating the political polarization that keeps people divided and conquerable.

      one of the reasons I expend energy here is because I think you may be one of the sane conservatives capable of a bit of political introspection from time to time. you are certainly no idiot, Doug. I also miss the conservative blog I use to frequent that shut down a few months ago. there were sane conservative/libertarians there as well.

      anyway, if you want a pic of me, I’ll like totally DM you on twitter😉

    8. “Stopped defending” myself? I don’t even know what you’re talking about. What don’t you get about this: I don’t have to defend myself to you. About anything. I honestly do not care what you — or any random person on the internet — thinks about me or this blog. I wrote when 5 people a day came here, I’ve written when 5,000 people a day wound up here, and I write when 500 people a day come here. I do not write for your attention or Dan Slott’s attention or anyone else. I write because that’s who I am.

      You also seem to not understand the difference between me calling some random committee clowns who sided with gun grabbers a couple of morons, and my interactions with people I actually engage with online. Anyone can see that I am more than patient with people I disagree with. In fact, they can go through this entire thread, which has been hijacked and turned into the “All about Lizard19 Hour,” and see that. On my day off I have allotted you time — time I will never get back. And I have done so with tact and restraint.

      Does anyone think if Dan Slott asked me questions on this blog that I’d start calling him a moron? That I wouldn’t have a measured discourse with him? I’d treat him incredibly well.

      And thank you for saying I “may” be sane. I happen to think I am very sane. You just don’t like it that I use other means with which to show my displeasure with the Republican Party. Because Lizard19 doesn’t get to see all the other facets of my life outside douglasernstblog.com, he somehow thinks I’m not working to get a broken political party fixed. You can’t accept that my means of trying to make the world a better place doesn’t involve taking the GOP to task on a regular basis on this blog. Again, I stopped “defending” myself (if I was to even grant you that) because I don’t care what you think; you don’t know me. You only know what I’ve revealed through this blog and Twitter.

      And please don’t send me pictures via private messages. It’s Antony Weiner-ish. But if they were public, that’s a different story.

  6. This is why I love having a blog. Sometimes you get emails like this.

    In regards to Lizard:

    “You write on MSNBC, he wishes to talk about Missouri and Tennessee — one, a discussion on state’s benefits policies; the other, a discussion on putting a kid as a prop on national tv to answer leading questions. Two separate issues. He should be “Turtle19” instead of “Lizard19″ as he loves playing the shell game with a great many of your topics. I’m sure, somewhere there is a workshop that helps people with short attention spans so they can stay on topic. Do a post on how Michigan busted your NCAA bracket, then maybe Lizard will want to actually discuss Mayor Bloomberg’s policies!

    Interesting how Lizard has an (admirable) passion for poetry, yet another’s passion for comics is juvenile…” (douglasernstblog.com reader).

  7. And Melissa Harris-Perry’s comments are just disturbing. Trust me, when I have kids someday, they belong to me, not “members of the community.” Parents are responsible for their own kids, not members of the community. Who does she think she is, the Borg Queen from Star Trek: the Next Generation?

    1. Actually, yes. They are very much like the Borg.

      PS: What are the chances I’d reference Anthony Kiedis in this post and then you’d comment in a way that would allow me to post a Borg-ish Obama video with him in it? There are no coincidences… Anthony, like Captain Picard, has been assimilated, but there’s still a part of him that’s free. That’s why he told us to throw away our televisions.😉

  8. And Lizard hopes that I never “procreate” or “adopt?” Wow. That says a lot. Oh, I plan on having kids someday, for sure, and I plan on teaching them my values.

    1. I didn’t think to post it at the time, but Lizard calling you “kid” reminds me of how my middle school principal (a total jerk if there ever was one; he even looked like Adolf Hitler, and that’s no joke) condescendingly called me “champ” whenever I visited his office, mostly in eighth grade when I would get in trouble for defending myself. This was usually before he would scream at me for “acting like a hoodlum” and punching my ticket to juvenile hall (which thankfully never happened) and prison.

    2. For what it’s worth, he also called me “delinquent” and that I’d spend my life “in and out of prison.” I proved him completely wrong on both counts.

    3. It’s always nice to prove jerks wrong… I can’t believe a principal would do that. I mean…I can, but it’s just sad.

      When I was a kid I had a lot of issues with my dad. We didn’t get along. I went to a guidance councilor because I was desperate to try and get someone to help me out. I thought it was all in confidence, and then as soon as I left he called my mom and told her I had “problems with authority.” I poured my heart out to this guy, he smiled to my face and then as soon as I left the office he basically told my parents I was a jerk, which caused more problems for me. Note to self: Do not go to guidance councilors ever again.

      Years later someone very close to me said I “wouldn’t last two weeks” in Basic Training. Well, I did VERY well in Basic Training and I did VERY well during my 3 years in the Army. I always said that I don’t have a problem with authority — I have a problem with stupidity. When I was a kid I think my father taught me a lot of important lessons, but I also think he reacted poorly to one of his kids that didn’t fit the same mold as his siblings. I stand by that.

      Anyway, I’m glad that you proved your principal wrong. Once you get that book published you can send him a copy.🙂

    4. Ha! I probably will. Apparently he still works in the school district, albeit as a “Principal of Advancement and Improvement” (whatever that means) for the entire school district. That’s scary. The fact that he ran an entire middle school for at least 15 to 20 years is frightening; the fact that he has a big-time job for the school district is even worse.

    5. I stopped going to guidance counselors as well. You entrust them with stuff, and then they go behind your back and tell your parents. Or they try to get you in trouble when a classmate (in my case, my first-ever girlfriend, who cheated on me) of yours goes to them and accuses you of calling her names when you in fact did no such thing. The counselor I had in middle school was usually the one who would see me getting into fights and send me to the principal’s office. I have little doubt that she would’ve loved to send me to juvenile hall, too.

    6. Another person I should send a copy to is my old third grade teacher. I’m sure she’d love to hear from the student whose desk she knocked over and forced to clean up the contents in front of the rest of the class and whose desk she moved by hers on my birthday because she didn’t like seeing me happy. 😉

    7. Ah yes, the old desk dump. I don’t think I ever had that done, but I do remember a few kids with rotten apples and such in their desk having that happen. If I was the teacher I would have kept you in during recess to clean the desk or something instead of dumping it in front of the class. I’m not a huge fan of public humiliation. When I was a substitute teacher I only did that sort of thing to kids I thought were bullies…

      One time there was this high school kid who said, “Everyone knows I’m the strongest person in the room!” so I chimed in: “Second strongest.” The class went “Ohhhhhhhh!” and he “challenged” me to go to the weight room after school and outbench him. He said I barely looked liked I weighed 150 lbs., etc. So I went to the weight room with all the football players, threw up 250 lbs. to start off … and he didn’t even try. He gave up on the spot and the rest of the year the kids would say, “Remember that time when Mr. Ernst schooled you on the bench?” any time he got out of line.

      I don’t like bullies.🙂

    8. LOL. I don’t like bullies, either. Glad to see you schooled that douche who claimed to be the “strongest person in the room.” Reminds me of one my wrestling coaches in ninth grade, who was the self-proclaimed strongest man in the world, but frequently got his ass handed to him in practice by people who were half his size. He was also a klutz who tripped over his own feet on a regular basis.

      The only reason that my teacher had dumped my desk was because apparently I didn’t have her “permission” to go to the classroom across the hall to watch a movie with my classmates. Or something. She let me go over there in the first place, so I don’t know what her deal was. She just hated me. She also managed to get me grounded once because she said that our assignments were due two weeks after MEA Weekend but all of a sudden they were due on the day right before vacation started because she would change things on a whim. My parents accused me of “lying” to them and I was grounded for nearly a month.

      She also made me redo an Easter-themed project (I went to Lutheran school from Kindergarten through 5th grade) that i made because she didn’t like the comic of Jesus’ Resurrection I had made. It wasn’t offensive. It was just a comic of the story. She was fond of public humiliation, as noted, and threw it away in front of my parents and I at a parent-teacher conference and told me to redo it.

      Ugh. I moved two years later. She retired around the same time and actually lives in one of the neighboring towns; I saw her at a Hardee’s there a few months ago.

    9. I don’t like public humiliation, either. I had an art teacher in eighth grade who was a fan of doing that, too. One day she took my art project from me and smashed it in front of me, saying that it wasn’t “good enough” and that I “neglected her help.” I told my parents, they complained to the jerk principal (who hilariously said, “Well, no one’s complained about her before” and at one point he and the art teacher tried to imply that I was a liar.) and I actually managed to get out of art class for the rest of the quarter and had a study hall for that period. A year later, the art teacher was also apparently gone, having been hired by another school district.

  9. Children are neither private property nor the property of the state. They are people. The whole “collective notion” of children belonging to “the community” is very appealing to two groups: (1) irresponsible parents who don’t want to be bothered with the task of raising and supporting their own families, and (2) fascistic (i.e., “liberal” or “progressive”) politicians who want to increase government influence on impressionable kids, starting at the earliest possible age.

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