On his 9 a.m. EDT MSNBC show The Daily Rundown on Friday, NBC political director and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd referred to Hilary Rosen's denigrating remarks about Ann Romney as a "manufactured controversy" a total of eight times throughout the one-hour program, mostly during the first ten minutes.
At the top of the show, Todd whined: "Feeding the frenzy, the latest major distraction in campaign 2012 fuels outrage and ultimately an apology. But does this moment really amount to more than one person's out-of-bounds comment?" Moments later he sneered: "Welcome to the world of the shiny metal object. A person no one agrees with has ignited a manufactured controversy."
In his opening 'First Reads' segment, Todd practically used the word "manufactured" in every sentence:
Now, let's talk about the manufactured process of this. Manufactured controversies like these are nothing new in American politics, for as long as there have been political consultants, there have been folks trying to manufacture controversies during campaign years....
What's new, though, this cycle is how much faster and how professionalized these manufactured controversies have become, with a campaign apparatus on each side whose sophisticated manipulation of new media is unmatched. This is the third manufactured controversy in just the last 30 days in this campaign....
...this is what the next three months and maybe six months will be like, whether it's the President's religion, Romney's religion, some other off-the-cuff remark by a commentator that has no connection to any of the campaigns, this certainly won't be the last manufactured controversy of the campaign. It seems that both parties have an apparatus at its will, and a sometimes advocacy media outlet, to allow these things to go viral quickly.
Just in case viewers didn't know Todd's feelings on the matter, in another segment minutes later he dismissed the controversy as mere "political theater" and teed up Democratic activist Betsy Myers to declare: "I think we have to move away from this – what you were saying, manufactured – and go to the real issues of what we're talking about. Most oftentimes, stay-at-home mom – it's a luxury to be a stay-at-home mom. And I think what Hilary was trying to get at....let's try to look at these issues and talk about what we can do about them instead of these crazy fights."
Rounding out his contempt for the topic during a panel discussion at the bottom of the hour, Todd wondered why the debate over women working was even occurring: "But hadn't that debate ended? I mean that's what I didn't understand about the sort of manufactured controversy. Nobody was having that debate, were they?"
Panelist and Washington Post writer Anne Kornblut concluded: "We're not talking about a North Korea missile launch as much as we are this. And it's not just us, it's everybody who's talking about this, and certainly the Romney campaign. So, if this is a harbinger of things to come, I think it's going to be the silly season."
-- Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.