Rachel Maddow Show Busts New York Times for Misquoting Rand Paul

Stop the presses: a fill-in for Rachel Maddow on Friday actually busted the New York Times for misquoting Rand Paul in its article about the Tea Party senatorial candidate published earlier in the day.

As most readers are aware, Paul made some rather controversial statements on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" Wednesday.

Two days later, Adam Nagourney and Carl Hulse of the Times wrote: "Asked by Ms. Maddow if a private business had the right to refuse to serve black people, Mr. Paul replied, 'Yes.'"

As the Nation's Chris Hayes amazingly pointed out Friday, that's not what Paul said (video follows with transcript and commentary, h/t Daily Paul via NB reader Russell Davis):

CHRIS HAYES, WASHINGTON D.C. EDITOR THE NATION: And finally, when I watched Rachel`s interview with Rand Paul this week, I thought the reason she kept going with it for so long was because he wouldn`t answer the question. Is the government right to ban private businesses from discriminating on the basis of race?

And then this morning "The New York Times" reported that Paul had answered, really, really clearly. Quote, "Asked by Ms. Maddow if a private business had the right to refuse to serve black people, Mr. Paul replied, 'Yes.'"

Huh? He did? Were the "Times" reporters watching the same interview I was or maybe just reading the transcript where it does say, "Maddow: Do you think that a private business has the right to say we don`t serve black people? Paul: Yes, I`m not in favor of any discrimination of any form".

You don`t remember it that either? Yes that`s because it didn`t happen that way except in the most mechanical sense.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Do you think that the private business has the right to say we don`t serve black people --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not in, I`m not in -- yes, I`m not in favor of any discrimination of any form.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Yes, that is not Rand Paul saying yes, as in yes, private businesses have the right to say they don`t serve black people, that`s Rand Paul saying, "Yes, despite the fact that we`re talking over each other and there`s a delay in the transmission, I can hear you".

The transcript`s technically right and totally misleading if you haven`t done your homework and watched the segment before summarising. This stuff`s important. It`s worth another step to make sure we`re all having the right discussion of the original discussion. 

Well, the transcript isn't technically right. Here's what was originally transcribed at MSNBC.com:

MADDOW: But what about private businesses? I mean, I hate to-I don‘t want to be badgering you on this, but I do want an answer.

PAUL: I‘m not-I‘m not-

MADDOW: Do you think that a private business has the right to say we don‘t serve black people?

PAUL: Yes. I‘m not in favor of any discrimination of any form.

Here's a more accurate transcription:

MADDOW: But what about private businesses? I mean, I hate to-I don‘t want to be badgering you on this, but I do want an answer. Do you think that a private business...

PAUL: I‘m not in, I‘m not in...

MADDOW: ...has the right to say we don‘t serve black people?

PAUL: Yeah, I‘m not in favor of any discrimination of any form.

As such, Hayes's point that they were talking over each other and that Paul didn't answer "Yes" is correct. However, whoever transcribed this segment didn't do a good job.

Regardless, an outlet like the New York Times, knowing full-well that transcripts can be wrong, should have checked the video to get an accurate quote.

After all, the entire nineteen-minute segment was embedded at the Times website. Might have been nice if someone involved in the piece would have watched it. 

Or would that be too much like journalism?

Whatever the answer, readers shouldn't hold their breath waiting for a correction or retraction by the folks at the Times.

As for the folks at MSNBC busting the Gray Lady, nice job. Now how 'bout doing some fact-checking on yourselves.

That would REALLY be commendable.  

*****Update: Paul strikes back at MSNBC!

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.