Factually Challenged Dan Rather Says GOP Has Trouble with…Facts

Following Dan Rather’s disgraceful exit as anchor of the CBS Evening News, it seems as though he has found a new home away from home, MSNBC. 

Appearing on Thursday’s The Rachel Maddow Show, Rather was brought on to offer his, in the words of Rachel Maddow, “much-welcomed perspective” on the prospects of post-election bipartisanship in Congress.  [See video below break.  MP3 audio here.]

In response to Maddow’s softball statement that she remains optimistic that bipartisanship can work in Washington, Rather ridiculously offered that:

The Republicans, their number one need is to get in touch with a fact-based world, that they are now in the position of being pictured like a man who wears spats to the office or something. So far out of touch that it is unrealistic. And they did run four years, straight out, Dr. No obstructionism.

Rather’s bizarre “analysis” continued when he said:

Until and unless they get in touch with the fact-based world, in particular with science, global warming comes to mind, evolution comes to mind, until they get in touch with this, it's very hard to see how your optimism and my hopes are going to be fulfilled.

Maddow, who gets giddy whenever Rather “honors her with his presence”, failed to push back on the hypocrisy of the disgraced journalists’ comments.  Of course Rather will forever be remembered for running a now-discredited story during the 2004 presidential campaign smearing President Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard. 

Later on in the interview, Maddow distorted and misrepresented the attacks on Benghazi, where she claimed that:

I thought, very, very stern performance today on the issue of Susan Rice as a potential nominee for Secretary of State and the Benghazi attacks. Obviously, she's been attacked from the right. John McCain leading the way. And what they've attacked her for is a bunch of stuff she did not do. They’ve said, when he paraphrases what she said that makes him so upset, he says that she never said it was a terrorist attack, that she said -- all of the stuff that did not happen.

The trouble, Ms. Maddow, is that we know now that the Obama administration knew within 24 hours that the attack on Benghazi was coordinated by terrorists. Rice made her steadfast claims to the contrary five days after the attacks, which strongly suggests she was either lying or was lied to by whoever briefed her about the state of the intelligence on the consulate attack.

At any rate, this gave Rather yet another opportunity to say that Republicans have a fact problem by claiming: “it's an example of how the Republicans have to get in touch with the fact-based world.”

No, being out of touch with the "fact-based world" is blindly accepting the Obama administration's preferred narrative when evidence has mounted to the contrary.

Rather -- who was pushed out of his job at CBS because of his shoddy journalism with Memogate -- is the last individual to claim someone has a fact-based problem.

 

See relevant transcript below. 


MSNBC

The Rachel Maddow Show

November 14, 2012

9:43 p.m. EDT

JOHN BOEHNER: I do think that the spirit of cooperation that you've seen over the last week, from myself and my team, from Democrats across the aisle, from the president, have created an atmosphere where I think I remain optimistic.

RACHEL MADDOW: I too, want to remain optimistic. But I don't know if that means I'm just being naive. Joining us now with some much-welcome perspective for the interview tonight is Dan Rather, the anchor and managing editor of Dan Rather Reports on Axs TV.  Mr. Rather, thank you for being here.

DAN RATHER: Always a pleasure. 

MADDOW: Am I being naïve to be optimistic that the rebuilding process in the Republican Party might actually result in a change in their idea about obstruction and cooperation?

RATHER: Well, hope is father to the belief. I'm an optimist by experience and by nature. But I do think there's odds against, I hope I'm wrong about that. I've been wrong about a lot this last election year and may be wrong about that. But the Republicans, their number one need is to get in touch with a fact-based world, that they are now in the position of being pictured like a man who wears spats to the office or something. So far out of touch that it is unrealistic. And they did run four years, straight out, Dr. No obstructionism. And with the candidate Mitt Romney's comments today, saying, well, it's because Obama gave things to all kinds of people, in denial. And we should have some compassion. It's tough to lose.  Loser's locker rooms are always tough. And I would like to believe that Governor Romney once he reviews those remarks, will sort of regret having said them. He doesn't want to become vice president in charge of excuses.  And that’s what the Republicans, but until and unless they get in touch with the fact-based world, in particular with science, global warming comes to mind, evolution comes to mind, until they get in touch with this, it's very hard to see how your optimism and my hopes are going to be fulfilled. But hope springs eternal, and with Mitch McConnell, who I think is the key for the Republicans, their leader in the Senate, that, you know, he was ungracious in the first hours after the election results were known. He has been the lead preacher of the gospel of obstructionism. And if he continues to that, not only will the Republican Party, I think, find the Capital Dome sort of, they'll be in a temple of doom if they continue to do this. You just can't do it. With the election itself, this election is going to be studied for a very long time. This is now the 21st century and what President Obama did, he hired math wizards and so called stat geeks, and they dealt with data, facts, science, went into the census return. The Republicans didn't learn that lesson. Until they learn that lesson, they're going to have a hard time winning in the future. Now, in terms of what can be accomplished for the country, you know, the good book says, let us come, reason together. And if President Obama takes that attitude, which it seems to me he has, and I agree with what you said on the program earlier, that you saw a really renewed confidence in President Obama. His body language is there, his statements are there.  Tough.  This is the Obama the people thought they were getting after the 2008 election, but didn't see until, frankly, after the election was over. Two things sat out in my mind recently as to what we can expect from the president. That is when he addressed his young workers and he teared up, spoke from the heart, no teleprompter.  And a very attractive Obama. And then, today at his news conference, confident, tough, in effect, to use a basketball term, he was saying, I'm perfectly prepared to come reason together. But in basketball terms, I also will take it hard to the hoop if you try this obstructionist thing. On the Republican side, they have openings to be what we desperately need in the country, and that is a responsibility and loyal opposition. For example, prison and sentencing reform.  Some Republicans have talked about that. There's an opening. How to save our public schools. What we can learn from Finland and Singapore. These are openings for the Republicans. Will they take them? We'll see.

MADDOW: You know, I wanted to ask whether you see some of that same dynamic at work, with the president's, I thought, very, very stern performance today on the issue of Susan Rice as a potential nominee for Secretary of State and the Benghazi attacks. Obviously, she's been attacked from the right. John McCain leading the way. And what they've attacked her for is a bunch of stuff she did not do. They’ve said, when he paraphrases what she said that makes him so upset, he says that she never said it was a terrorist attack, that she said -- all of the stuff that did not happen. And the president today in taking that stern line, wasn’t just saying, I want to have this fight with you, he was saying, this is not the right fight to have. You are picking the wrong fight at the wrong time with the wrong guy at the wrong time. The election is over. Was that a call to put the sort of nonsense stuff, the fact-free stuff behind us?

RATHER: Absolutely. And it's an example of how the Republicans have to get in touch with the fact-based world.  And by the way with John McCain, it's been said before, but can't be said too much. I admire John McCain. I have not forgotten the years he spent in a North Vietnamese prison camp. When he talks about Susan Rice and these things, this is a man who picked Sarah Palin to be possibly one heartbeat away from the presidency of the United States.  Can't have it both ways, even if you’re John McCain.

MADDOW: Dan Rather, it's always such a pleasure to have you here. I don't know why you honor us with your presence, but I'm glad you're here sir.

RATHER: I'm always glad to be here. Thanks a lot. Take care.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.