Maddow Shields Listeners From Allegedly Odious McCain Ad

Air America Radio host Rachel Maddow condemned a McCain ad critical of Obama while refusing to play the ad -- lest any of her listeners conclude it wasn't as offensive as Maddow claimed.

Here's what Maddow said about the ad on her Air America radio show Friday while referring to a "litany of super-embarrassing things" from the McCain campaign --

The first thing they did to embarrass themselves was put out probably the worst campaign ad I have ever seen in presidential politics, I think, on level with the Daisy ad in terms of its offensiveness and its disregard for the civic health of the United States in favor of political gain. And that is the ad in which they essentially say that there will be a terrorist attack on the United States if Barack Obama is elected and there won't be if John McCain is elected. So intellectually dishonest that it's not even worth playing it or debunking it. It's just disgusting.

Apparently not so "intellectually dishonest" to prevent Maddow from showing the ad --- most of it, anyway -- on her MSNBC cable show a few hours later on Friday.

Schultz audio here      Maddow audio here

But why do that? Perhaps because those just listening to the ad instead of seeing it as well might react along the lines of left-wing radio host Ed Schultz, who said this with a caller on Oct. 22 -- 

SCHULTZ: I happen to think what Biden said wasn't really bright (crosstalk) It was not his highlight of his campaign moment.

CALLER: No, I understand what he meant and I understand what he's saying, that we're ready right now and Barack Obama has somebody that he can talk to in the White House.

SCHULTZ: But Ernie, it sounded like Joe Biden was giving us information that, you know, we're going to get hit within six months of an Obama presidency.

CALLER: We thinking people know better than that, you know.

SCHULTZ: Well, I want to know better than that.

CALLER: Nobody could possibly even predict that is going to happen, so he knew that. You know how Joe Biden's going to talk, any time he just talks a little bit too much when he's talking.

Fortunately for the rest of us, there are "thinking people" out there capable of deciphering the precise meaning of Sen. Biden's remarks.

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Since Maddow shied from airing audio of the ad on her radio show but played both its audio and video on her TV show, it must be the ad's imagery and background music she finds offensive. And agreed, the footage -- of marching Islamists, tanks rolling into action, a frightened child, etc. -- comes across as apocalyptic, as does its horror-movie music. 

But the footage and music pale in comparison to Biden's actual remarks, which could hardly be more apocalyptic. Biden didn't just predict a crisis if Obama becomes president -- he "guaranteed" it. I half-expected Biden to challenge skeptics to a wager.

The so-called Daisy ad, incidentally, came out of the last presidential campaign of the last liberal president -- Lyndon Johnson. The extent of its "offensiveness" is arguable, seeing how humanity had brushed with annihilation less than two years earlier during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but there is no denying its effectiveness. Airing only once, it quickly caught the attention of the media and helped Johnson win in a landslide against Republican Barry Goldwater.

Seeing how Maddow is so stricken by "intellectual dishonesty," other potential examples come to mind. Her claim that Sen. Joe Lieberman said "exactly the same thing," for example. What Lieberman said was undeniably along the same lines as Biden, but with an important difference. Lieberman said the next president, McCain or Biden, was likely to face a crisis early in his administration, if past is indeed prologue. Biden, meanwhile, made no mention of McCain and specifically cited "this guy" -- Obama -- as being tested (or "that one," if you will).

Another potential example of intellectual dishonesty? Maddow claiming the McCain ad suggests "there will be a terrorist attack on the United States" when none of its footage is of terrorist attacks on America.

Yet another possible example? Maddow rebroadcasting the audio portion of her MSNBC cable show from Friday as the second hour of her radio show on Monday -- and claiming at the top of the second radio hour that what listeners are about to hear can be heard "only here on Air America Radio."

"Only" if you don't include MSNBC.

As for this pattern of new presidents getting tested soon after they take office, a notable anomaly comes to mind -- Ronald Reagan. In fact, just the opposite occurred with Reagan. Fifty-two Americans held hostage in Iran for 14 months were released within minutes after Reagan was inaugurated in January 1981.

Liberals have long claimed it was Jimmy Carter's diplomatic efforts that got the hostages released, but conservatives know better -- it was Reagan's looming presidency that persuaded Iranian militants the jig was up. Apparently the Iranians decided not to test Reagan's "mettle."

Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Ex-liberal from People's Republic of Massachusetts