I suppose there are a lot of expectations that people have when one’s last name is Green or Greene. After all, green is one of the most descriptive adjectives and theoretically positive words in the English language.
Green means go. There is usually an association with movement.
Green is the color of money. There is usually a connection with wealth.
Green is the color of healthy grass and vegetabes, There is usually a favorable connection with life and the sustenance of it.
Many people with that surname have achieved fame and success. Las Vegas icon Shecky. Bonanza patriarch Lorne. Steelers legend and Coca-Coca pitchman Mean Joe. Up and coming young pitcher Hunter (who, ironically, plays for the Reds).
And then…that other one.
You know, the one that happens to be an elected Congressperson. Not only elected, but re-elected. A relentless tweeter and podcaster. Someone who the current Speaker of the House has pledged undying loyalty to. And someone who, among many of the constituents that she ostensibly serves, is held is as high regard as other elected officials.
Last fall, on the eve of her re-election, Andrew Buncombe of the Independent tried to capture why and how someone like Marjorie Taylor Greene resonates:
For all the gnashing of teeth by Democrats over her abrasive, right-wing policies, her promotion of conspiracy theories, defence of those involved in the January 6 riots and support for Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election, the 48-year-old has an awful lot of support both nationally, and in her district.
In the the summer of 2020, she easily bettered the large field of male Republicans seeking the nomination and dispatched the Democrat with even greater ease in the general election. That task was made easier after the Democrat, Kevin Van Ausdal, pulled out of the race. Greene won 75-25, as the Democrat’s name remained on the ballot.
One comment, voiced repeatedly to The Independent over the course of several sunshine-filled days in the district, is that they like the way she speaks her mind.
A 55-year-old cook who asked to be identified as JJ, said he was a strong supporter of Donald Trump, and would be supporting Republican Brian Kemp as governor.
He was also planning to vote for Greene. “She is the same as Trump,” he says. “She does not kiss anyone’s butt.”
Another Greene supporter is Melville Samms, a 62-year-old African American man, who says he will also be voting for Kemp, rather than the governor’s Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams.
“I think Majorie Greene Taylor (sic) has done a good job,” he says.
So, like it or not, she is a public figure. One of rapidly growing influence in a Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Someone with a clear connection to the current top candidate for the 2024 Republican Presidential nomination, even if may only be for her toned blonde bod (as we’ve seen as late as yesterday, Orange Jesus does have a type).
This past Sunday night 60 MINUTES and its revered veteran female correspondent Lesley Stahl gave MTG fourteen minutes of air time, which was ultimately seen by nearly seven million people, Many are people who don’t regularly watch her podcast, or Newsmax, or OAN, or even FOX News, which tend to give her more airtime than most. 15% of everyone over the age of 50 who was watching TV Sunday night at 7 PM Eastern watched. Plenty of them aren’t on Twitter, let alone Truth Social.
The show and the journalist have been casitgated for amplifying Greene’s thoughts and stances on the myriad of concerns she, and, one might surmise, her constituents feel are important. As Gerrard Kaonga of NEWSWEEK compiled, an awful lot of influential political commentators considered this the nadir of the show’s venerable history:
Pop culture expert Mike Sington tweeted: “60 Minutes uses their prestigious platform to showcase Marjorie Taylor Greene. Then Lesley Stahl seems surprised when Greene calls President Biden and Democrats ‘pedophiles.'”
Human rights activist and Parkland survivor Ryan Deitsch tweeted his disappointment: “I tried to watch Lesley Stahl & @60Minutes interview Marjorie Taylor Greene, they unapologetically platformed an antisemitic conspiracy theorist. Lost any respect I held for 60 Minutes, there’s holding politicians accountable, & there’s giving ’em a bullhorn, y’all did the latter.”
Columnist Michael Hiltzik tweeted: “The only possible explanation for tonight’s thing on Marjorie Taylor Greene: time to put 60 Minutes out of its (and our) misery. This was unspeakably disgraceful.”
Pshaw. None of these handwringing reactionaires must know how much pressure someone named Greene has to live up to the expectations of her surname, let alone the urgency she may have to express her viewpoints.
60 MINUTES, and, yes, Mike Wallace himself, once gave Ayatollah Khomeini an extended interview. TIME Magazine has voted Rudy Giuliani, Vladimir Putin and Ol’ 45 as their Person of the Year. And TV journalism, at its core, is about ratings and educating. Ironically, many of those who complained the loudest about Stahl giving MTG a national stage are those who scream at the way FOX News has chosen to define journalism these days. At least Stahl kept her voiced opinions to herself.
Kaonga continued that more nuanced views were also expressed, including from some unlikely sources:
Journalist Robin Williams Adams defended the interview and insisted it was an important part of journalism.
She tweeted: “Journalism often requires interviews with people with whom you disagree. She is newsworthy because she has assumed a more powerful role with Republican control of the House, the struggle over McCarthy’s bid for speaker and former president Trump’s support.
Gun control activist and Parkland survivor David Hogg even defended 60 Minutes and the interview despite his history of sparring with Greene even before she was elected to Congress. In March 2019, Greene was filmed following Hogg, then a teenager, as he walked toward the U.S. Capitol and taunted him with questions about gun rights. Greene, not yet a U.S. representative, ended the video by calling Hogg a “coward.”
He tweeted, “This is a hot take but I’m glad 60 Minutes gave Marjorie Taylor Greene airtime. It’s important to interview one of the main leaders of the Republican Party so the American people know everything and I mean everything they support. Including denying school shootings.”
I’m not going to give any further amplication to the details of what Greene espoused. There are more than enough other places you can go online to see them if you wish. But also bear in mind that this interview just happened to fall upon the eve of her road trip to New York City to voice her support for Mr. 34 Counts of Indictment. She’s not the first to use a Sunday news show to promote her upcoming tour, and she certainly won’t be the last.
If it will make you feel any better, the reaction she got from those who now represent my old district, let alone the hometown of her chosen one, didn’t take to her all that well:
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York celebrated a report that her far-right colleague from Georgia, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, was heckled Tuesday in New York City.
“Welcome to NYC!,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted with a Statue of Liberty emoji. “Where there are still social consequences for shameless bigotry”
Greene was in the city to speak at a pro-Donald Trump rally ahead of the former president being arraigned. Ocasio-Cortez retweeted NBC News’ Ben Collins, who wrote that Greene was being “completely drowned out by protesters and I’m pretty close to her. Nonstop whistles and drums and hecklers.”
And poor Ms. Greene’s reaction to all of that–amazingly, heavily influenced by a pro-Trump supporter who had no idea she was even there (he was probably watching something other than CBS Sunday night), drew the attention of representative Daniel Goldman: