Rachel Maddow is Shocked! Shocked! That Leland Yee Accused of Selling Shoulder-Fired Missiles

Thoroughly leeward cable network MSNBC touts its slogan as "Lean Forward." There are times when "Look the Other Way" would be more accurate in describing its coverage.

On her March 26 show, Rachel Maddow reported that more than two dozen people were arrested by police and FBI agents across California and charged in a "huge corruption, gun-running, racketeering, drug-trafficking sting, and at least one accusation of murder for hire." (Video after the jump)

Then Maddow started getting vague on the specifics regarding one of those arrested, state senator Leland Yee, "a fixture of Bay Area Democratic politics" and candidate for California secretary of state. "Although all these 26 suspects were arraigned today on a wide array of charges, Senator Lee (sic) specifically was charged with public corruption, with soliciting funds from what turned out to be undercover FBI operatives, the senator allegedly offering to help those operatives in the state capital in Sacramento in exchange for them giving him campaign cash."

The huge hole in Maddow's reporting -- Yee offered to "help" FBI operatives with what? -- was dutifully filled five days later by Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" when he showed news clips involving actual journalists reporting on Yee's arrest. "The California lawmaker who pushed for gun control has been arrested in a gun trafficking scheme," stated one of the news segments shown by Stewart. "The Feds said Yee discussed the possibility of Yee acquiring weapons, including shoulder-fired missiles from the Philippines," stated another report, with a photo shown of a huge shoulder-held missile launcher.

More than a week after she first reported on the charges against Yee, Maddow revisited the case on her show Friday. California lawmakers, she said, voted that day to suspend Yee and two fellow state senate Democrats, one convicted on eight felony counts in January, the second indicted in February on 24 counts of corruption. Here's what Maddow said about Yee --

Then it was month three, in like a lion! Democratic state senator Leland Yee indicted on seven federal felony charges including multiple corruption counts and also gun-running. Gun running?! Seriously?! Yes -- gun running. All told, he's looking at a potential 125 years in prison. Did I mention that one of the gun-running charges was about him obtaining shoulder-fired missiles for an undercover FBI agent?!

More than a bit moldy at this point, but thanks for eventually getting to it.

And could Maddow bring herself to mention that the accused arms-trafficking state senator is also an outspoken proponent of gun control? No, she could not, at least not on Friday. But give her another week and maybe she will, especially if Stewart targets Yee again on "The Daily Show."

Jack Coleman
Liberated ex-liberal from the People's Republic of Massachusetts