What we saw from Barr yesterday was a deeply cynical exploitation of how television has changed us. Barr wasn’t trying to make an argument — he knew he didn’t have to. Instead, he was just trying to make a video clip.
I doubt if he was worried about anyone exposing the hollowness of his repeated assertions of “No collusion,” echoing those of his client. He had to know discovery was waiting within minutes of anyone reading the document he was about to release. But he could count on most of us not reading.
Instead, we consume video clips, which don’t even open a case before closing it. They sidestep thought altogether and function like incantations: “This is true because it becomes true when we say it.”
So the point of Barr’s appearance was only in the appearance itself, how he looked and sounded: the blandly reassuring mask of the bureaucrat, the measured rhythm and downward cadences, the podium, the suit, and the suits behind him.
The only flaw: one of those other suits, Rosenstein. We couldn’t know what was going through his mind, but we couldn’t escape how he looked: like someone staring into a mirror and discovering nothing there.