Only four days after airing faked photographs purporting to be of Sarah Palin wearing a bikini and holding a gun, MSNBC hosts on Tuesday decided they were qualified to fact check the ex-governor of Alaska. Contessa Brewer chided Palin’s new memoir: "But can this book really be classified as fact, fiction or a little of both? Okay, so here is a bit of fact-checking."
Brewer, who was part of the Morning Meeting segment on Friday that also featured a doctored photo of Palin’s head on the body of someone wearing a black mini-skirt, delighted in mentioning John McCain aides who disputed the book. "One, in fact, called it pathetic score settling," she announced. The MSNBC graphic hyped, "Palin Book: Fact of Fiction?"
Of course, much of the brief "fact checking" piece amounted to Brewer recounting how Palin said one thing and ex-McCain aides said something else: "In another part of the book, Palin claims she was pushed into risky network interviews including that rocky one-on-one with Katie Couric. McCain's former campaign says that is a fabrication." Brewer breathlessly explained that "McCain aides deny ever forcing Palin or her family to dress up in designer clothes." These are not examples of "fact checking." They are simply accusation swapping.
Perhaps Brewer and Morning Meeting host Dylan Ratigan should let a few days pass before deciding to question the veracity of someone else. After all, airing photoshopped, "sexy" photos of Palin, misleading viewers into thinking such images are real, these are not the most reliable actions.
On Monday, host Ratigan apologized for the fictional images: "We should have never used those photos in the first place and you can rest assured we spent the weekend and Friday afternoon taking measures to make sure it will never happen again. I apologize."
A transcript of the November 17 segment, which aired at 10:47am EST, follows:
MSNBC graphic: Palin Book: Fact of Fiction?
DYLAN RATIGAN: Day one for Sarah Palin’s highly anticipated book, Going Rogue: An American Life. How highly anticipated, you ask? Even if you didn’t, it’s already number one on Amazon.com. Contessa’s on the beat. What’s going on with this thing?
CONTESSA BREWER: A lot of people lining up to buy this one. As the former Governor prepares to kick off her book tour, some folks linked to the McCain campaign are already pushing back against her accounts of the past year and a half. One, in fact, called it pathetic score settling. But can this book really be classified as fact, fiction or a little of both? Okay, so here is a bit of fact-checking and here is what we found: In the book, Palin claims the McCain campaign billed her $50,000 for legal fees involved in vetting her as a running mate, but Senator McCain himself says that bill was from Palin's own lawyer to clear up ethics charges stemming from Troopergate. In another part of the book, Palin claims she was pushed into risky network interviews including that rocky one-on-one with Katie Couric. McCain's former campaign says that is a fabrication. He says, as far as he knows, all interviews were arranged by the campaign with her agreement. And, finally, remember the whole dust up with her wardrobe, well, Palin is pinning the blame on the campaign for deciding to spend $150,000 on new clothes for her and her family. She says, she was shocked at the price tag. McCain aides deny ever forcing Palin or her family to dress up in designer clothes. By the way, we should mention, John McCain has been asked about the book. The senator said, quote, "I'm just moving on. I've got too many other things to worry about, except to say that I'm proud of my campaign," unquote. Dylan?