Maddow on GOP Debate in Arizona Exceeds Her Obligatory Dishonesty

The journalism watchdogs over at "PolitiFact" don't do justice to their name, Rachel Maddow frequently complains.

This from an MSNBC pundit whose claims about Republicans are best understood as "politifiction." (video after page break)

For a characteristic example of this, look no further than Maddow's deceitful analysis of the last week's Republican presidential debate in Arizona --

There were a total of 89 minutes in this debate. Given the chance to talk about birth control, the candidates held forth on the subject of birth control for 13 and a half minutes. That means for roughly one out of every seven minutes in the grand finale in the debate last night, one out of every seven minutes, the candidates wanted to talk about contraception! Specifically, the evil and the immorality of contraception.

Strong words, indeed -- followed by Maddow serving up these quotes from the candidates to bolster her claim --

RON PAUL: As an OB doctor I've dealt with birth control pills and contraception for a long time. ... (editing cut here is Maddow's, not mine). It's sort of along the line of, the pills creating the immorality. I don't see it that way. I think the immorality creates the problem of wanting to use the pills...

See what happened? The first example Maddow shows to bolster her claim -- refutes her claim. Paul specifically said "immorality" created contraceptive pills, not the other way around. In fact, Paul continued this vein of thought, though Maddow's viewers didn't see it --

PAUL: I think the immorality creates the problem of wanting to use the pills, so you don't blame the pills. I think it's sort of like the argument, conservatives use the argument all the time about guns -- guns don't kill, criminals kill. So in a way, it's the morality of society that we have to deal with. The pill is there and, you know, it contributes maybe, but the pills can't be blamed for the immorality of our society.

Once again, this was the first example from Maddow -- politifiction one, if you will -- followed in quick succession by two more that were nearly as shaky --

ROMNEY: Health care insurance that would include birth control, sterilization and the morning-after pill -- unbelievable.

Politifiction two from Maddow: even within the narrow context of Romney's remark, it was obvious to all but the most jaundiced left-winger what he was referring to -- not contraception, but the new HHS mandate that employers provide health insurance that covers contraception.

Correction: the Obama administration has acquiesced to an alleged compromise whereby insurance companies will cover those costs. But since insurers will undoubtedly pass this to their customers in more expensive premiums, this is the epitome of a distinction without a difference. For liberals like Maddow to then argue that these costs are insignificant runs counter to their whole premise about the alleged steep expense and difficulties in obtaining contraception. How can that be the case if this mandate represents a mere pittance to insurance companies?

Next up -- Newt Gingrich --

GINGRICH: ... that the public health department was prepared to give a waiver to Catholic hospitals about a morning-after abortion pill and that the governor's office issued explicit instructions saying they believed it wasn't possible ...

What public health department? What governor? Gingrich's remarks here aren't about the HHS mandate, but about Romneycare in Massachusetts. (Which reminds me -- why is it liberals condemn the term "Obamacare" as racist but never claim "Romneycare" reeks of anti-Mormonism?) The words "evil" and "immorality" or anything even approaching them are absent from what Gingrich said -- politifiction three.

Fortunately for Maddow, one of the four remaining Republican candidates for president, Rick Santorum, has actually said something about contraception resembling what she claims all four candidates are saying --

SANTORUM: What I was talking about is, we have a society, Charles Murray just wrote a book about this and it's on the front page of the New York Times two days ago, which is the increasing number of children being born out of wedlock in America, teens who are sexually active ...

MADDOW: Rick Santorum citing the guy who wrote "The Bell Curve," which is the book about black people being biologically inferior to white people when it comes to intelligence, citing that guy and his new book to make his case that if there were less birth control in America, if you take birth control away, there will be fewer pregnancies out of wedlock.

It's not just Santorum citing "that guy," as Maddow dismisses Charles Murray, a serious author and meticulous researcher -- so does the New York Times, the Gray Lady herself, liberalism's flagship, in its Feb. 17 front-page story mentioned by Santorum.

Based on that story, and this appearance by Murray on C-SPAN, I ordered Murray's new book "Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010" last night and look forward to reading it.

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