If things don't work out for Rachel Maddow at MSNBC, she could always fall back on unintentional comedy.
In last week's back and forth between Fox's Bill O'Reilly and Maddow over the Sherrod controversy, Maddow criticized O'Reilly for mocking MSNBC's meager ratings while also accusing him of playing fast and loose with facts.
Here's the kicker in Maddow's remarks aimed at O'Reilly, stated on her show July 22 (first part of embedded video) --
MADDOW: You were trying to take the attention off me saying that your network, Fox News, continually crusades on flagrantly bogus stories designed to make white Americans fear black Americans, which Fox News most certainly does for a political purpose even if it upends the lives of individuals like Shirley Sherrod, even as it frays the fabric of the nation, and even as it makes the American dream more of a dream and less of a promise. You can insult us all you want about television ratings, Mr. O'Reilly, and you'll be right, that yours are bigger, for now and maybe forever. You are the undisputed champion.
But even if no one watches us at all except for my mom and my girlfriend and people who forgot to turn off the TV after Keith, you are still wrong on what really matters, and that would be the facts, your highness.
... while she and MSNBC, Maddow implies, get it right where it really matters. If only Maddow hadn't gotten it wrong every other day last week, a feat of Rick Sanchezesque proportion.
Fox Business is reporting that the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill that President Obama signed recently includes a provision that exempts the Securities and Exchange Commission from responding to Freedom of Information Act requests. Fox wrote:
The law, signed last week by President Obama, exempts the SEC from disclosing records or information derived from "surveillance, risk assessments, or other regulatory and oversight activities." Given that the SEC is a regulatory body, the provision covers almost every action by the agency, lawyers say. Congress and federal agencies can request information, but the public cannot.
Several years ago, the media was confronted by several similar issues involving attempts by the Bush Administration to narrow the provisions of FOIA and exempt certain agencies from having to respond to requests filed under that act. The question that remains in these next few days as the media reports on this story is weather their response will be as condemnatory as it was when George W. Bush was in office.
On The O'Reilly Factor on Wednesday night, host Bill O'Reilly apologized to Shirley Sherrod "for for not doing my homework, for not putting her remarks into the proper context." But then he quickly turned to NBC and MSNBC: "And then there is NBC News howling with left-wing indignation." He ran clips of Matt Lauer saying the whole story was "garbage" and Rachel Maddow sneering:
MADDOW: Just like the fake ACORN controversy, Fox News knows that it has a role in this dance. That's not new. That's not actually even interesting about this scandal. Fox does what Fox does.
O'REILLY: Which is kick your network's butt every single night, madam. And you have to be kidding with this fake ACORN scandal stuff. Unbelievable. Do you live in this country?
Maddow responded on her own show on Thursday night: "A host at the FOX News Channel named Bill O`Reilly accuses us of, quote, 'howling' with left-wing indignation over the Shirley Sherrod affair. We respond with subdued, dignified barking and yipping – next." Maddow flagrantly claimed that the ACORN scandal was a fake:
A surprise video of Barack Obama was presented to the ultra-liberal gathering of the Netroots Nation in Las Vegas on Saturday that included MSNBC's Rachel Maddow listing his accomplishments.
What does it say about this administration that it wouldn't find it at all unseemly to use the most left-leaning television network, along with one of its most liberal hosts, to propagandize political conference attendees?
Unconcerned with the picture this painted, Obama told the gathering, "Change hasn't come fast enough for too many Americans...But I hope you take a moment to consider all we've accomplished so far."
With that, the video switched to short clips from the June 25 "Rachel Maddow Show" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary:
Elena Kagan's record clearly demonstrates she's a liberal, but to Rachel Maddow, she's just not liberal enough to be an "actual liberal." While she did a bit of a victory lap with Newsweek's Dahlia Lithwick on Tuesday night that the Republicans failed to scare people about Kagan and "nobody was terrified," Maddow still felt Obama wimped out by not picking an obvious radical leftist:
LITHWICK: At the end of the day you have a nominee who just utterly slid under the radar. And I don't know how the fundraising went but I know that the narrative was "She's fine, yawn. She's fine."
MADDOW: Yes. Well, should liberals look back at this experience? I mean, we're not out of it yet but should they essentially look back and say, "An actual liberal, a real -- a more liberal justice could have gotten through here?"
LITHWICK: I think so. It seems to me that to the extent that Obama had a moment to put someone a little bit more -- a little closer to a Stevens legacy or a Brennan legacy, a little closer to a passionate firebrand, this would have been the moment to put them up if the rumors are -- and they're only rumors -- true that Ginsburg is going to leave while Obama is still in office.
On Tuesday’s Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, as host Maddow complained that a video clip of former USDA official Shirley Sherrod had been edited to make it appear that she currently has a tendency to discriminate against white farmers at USDA – a clip that led to her firing by the Obama administration – the MSNBC host not only incorrectly claimed that FNC coverage of the clip had helped incite her firing, but she also suggested that FNC would never show her side of the story even though, by that time Tuesday night, several FNC shows had already informed viewers of some of the details in Sherrod’s favor. And, in fact, Sherrod had already been forced to resign before the O’Reilly Factor became the first FNC show to report the story of her comments on Monday night, although host Bill O’Reilly at the time did not realize she had already been fired.
Maddow’s show even chose to only present to her viewers clips from FNC that ran Monday and Tuesday morning which portrayed Sherrod’s comments as racist, without airing any of the clips from shows later Tuesday which showed FNC personalities conveying more of her side of the story. As Maddow filled in her viewers on some of the details in Sherrod’s favor, the MSNBC host used such phrases as "you would never know this if you got all your information from Fox News," and, after explaining that Sherrod, in fact, helped the white farmers in question, she added: "That`s what happened – unless, of course, you watch Fox News." FNC had already reported most of those same details hours earlier, and O’Reilly even informed his viewers Tuesday that Sherrod had declined an invitation to appear as a guest on his show, so liberal FNC analyst Alan Colmes appeared in her place.
In his Monday Media Notes column today, Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz lays out the latest liberal complaint against Tea party candidates, that they don't submit to more drubbing like Rachel Maddow gave Rand Paul, and somehow they have no respect for journalism:
Some of the most conservative and combative Republicans running for Congress are convinced that the media have it in for them.
But these candidates seem to regard it as an affront when reporters challenge them on their past statements and inconsistencies, which is a basic function of journalism. They are avoiding or limiting interviews with all but the friendliest faces as a way of circumventing the press. And some of them delight in skewering the mainstream media, a tactic that plays well with their base.
I'm fairly confident but not certain this didn't initially come from The Onion -- a fawning profile of MSNBC's Rachel Maddow written by MarketWatch's Jon Friedman.
"This is the rare 21st-century TV news star," Friedman writes, "an un-self-absorbed celebrity."
"Maddow, 37, is the voice of reason at MSNBC," Friedman elaborates. "Notable for their verbal brawn, the hosts of cable news shows often behave on air as if they're competing for a gold medal in preening. Maddow gets her point across in a restrained but emphatic way. She doesn't feel a need to outshout her guests."
Channeling her inner Nancy Pelosi, Rachel Maddow on Sunday actually said extending unemployment benefits is "the most stimulative thing you can do" to help the ailing economy.
Appearing on the panel discussion of NBC's "Meet the Press," Maddow boldly presented a liberal view of economics that only the current House Speaker would be proud of.
"I think that most Americans also, though, understand the basic arithmetic that when you're talking about pushing tax cuts that do mostly benefit the wealthy and you're simultaneously talking about getting tough on the deficit, you're talking about a world in which math doesn't work the way most people think it works."
Indeed, for moments before she falsely stated that Obama inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit.
But Maddow's best remark Sunday had to be, "If you really want a stimulus, do what we -- what's proven to work in stimulus, which is things like extending unemployment benefits...It's the most stimulative thing you can do" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Happy belated birthday, America, your presence in Afghanistan is "inherently corrupting." That's the message Rachel Maddow gave on her July 6 program.
During the Bush administration, the Left often argued that the president had distracted America by engaging in hostilities in Iraq, bleeding resources and attention away from the real war on terror in Afghanistan, which had harbored al Qaeda pre-9/11.
Now with Iraq all but won following the success of the Bush-approved, Petraeus-executed "surge," the Left is becoming vocal in its opposition to the war in Afghanistan and finding a platform on MSNBC.
Daytime network anchor Dylan Ratigan has been calling for withdrawal from Afghanistan for weeks, arguing that the war in Afghanistan has lasted longer than Vietnam and been a needless waste of money.
Now Ratigan's colleague has joined in the chorus. On the Tuesday, July 6 edition of her eponymous show, Maddow made this argument:
You might wonder the same after hearing what Rachel Maddow said in response to GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle's contentious interview with Las Vegas Sun columnist and local cable show host Jon Ralston.
Maddow, as is her wont, criticized Angle for avoiding left-leaning media prior to Ralston interviewing her June 29 -- followed by Maddow criticizing Angle after the interview. Suffice it to say, had Ralston ended up begging for mercy from Angle, Maddow would have accused Angle of torture.
"But when Sharron Angle's political career ended last night on local television in Nevada," Maddow said on her show Wednesday, "it was a perfect case study in what happens if you don't ever talk to people with whom you disagree."
After showing excepts from the interview, Maddow also said this (first part of embedded video) --
MADDOW: But the bigger story here and the more unexpected story here is how curdled and pitiful and inbredpolicy and even argument itself gets when it is never exposed to opposing views, how weak the political and rhetorical muscles get when they are allowed to atrophy. So, I lament the no-argue bubbles. I lament the reluctance of conservatives and Republican politicians in particular to come on this show, in part because arguing is fun and talking to people with whom you disagree is fun. But also because it makes us all better at what we do. And that's good for us and if you are a politician, that is good for the country.
In covering Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings, CNN and MSNBC have repeatedly lauded the Supreme Court nominee for her "flashes of humor" and "disarming ease."
In tune with the reverberations of the network morning shows' echo chamber, correspondents like CNN's Dana Bash and anchors like MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Tuesday praised Kagan for her ability to inject humor into otherwise "hollow and vapid" hearings and charm hostile Republican senators into docility.
"But just on a color note, what struck me, Candy, has been the way Elena Kagan has tried to use a sense of humor to really disarm the senators, particularly Republicans," noted Bash.
Maddow's guest, Dahlia Lithwick of the liberal Slate magazine, gushed over Kagan's "gut-wrenching" sense of humor, her masterful ability to balance "seriousness and levity and humor," and her "disarming and charming and kind of likeable" personality.
"A likeable liberal. Dear me, I know," quipped Maddow.
Liberal MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Monday mocked the Mount Vernon Statement, a conservative declaration of principles as "a grandiose fake-parchmenty-looking thing." The anchor first described the document as endorsing "the rule of law, and individual liberty, and opposing tyranny in the world, and the defense of family, neighborhood, community and faith." [Audio available here.]
Maddow then dismissed, "In other words, such generic 'I love my mama' platitudes that even a pinko-Commie-liberal-elite-infidel like me would be happy signing on to all but one paragraph of the whole Mount Vernon Statement." (At one point, Maddow appeared to be mimicking the tone and voice of the late William F. Buckley.)
The left-wing host didn't explain which paragraph she objected to, perhaps it was the one about "limited government" or "market solutions." However, if it has caught the ire of MSNBC, conservatives might want to learn more about it. To view the entire document or to sign it yourself, go here.
Imagine waking from a years-long coma this past Wednesday evening, with a television in the room tuned to MSNBC. You slowly open your eyes and see ... President Rachel Maddow speaking from the Oval Office.
Whereupon you lapse back into a coma.
Actually, it was "Fake President" Maddow, as she called herself, delivering a mock speech on the BP spill she wished Obama had given the night before.
Among the things Maddow said she'd do, this one jumped out --
MADDOW: I've asked the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to assist me in the diplomatic side of this, in soliciting, green lighting and expediting all international offers of help, from experts in booming and skimming all over the world. We will bring in the best experts and the best equipment from anywhere on earth to dramatically increase our efforts to get the oil out of the water and off the coast.
" ... in soliciting, green lighting and expediting all international offers of help ..." -- as if offers of help from abroad had not already been extended, which they have, followed by the Obama administration inexplicably rejecting them.
President Obama met with a group of prominent liberal commentators on Thursday to discuss the Gulf oil spill and the administration's response. The meeting came in the midst of a rare firestorm of criticism from the left over the president's response to the spill.
It was surely not coincidence that the journalists seen leaving the White House that afternoon--the New York Times's Gail Collins, the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, and the Wall Street Journal's Gerald Seib--were some of the more prominent critics of the president's Oval Office address on Tuesday.
The meeting demonstrates two facts: the White House is trying furiously to spin media coverage of the federal response to the spill in the administration's favor, and the old White House double standard towards the news media persists.
There are lies, damned lies and statistics, so the saying goes. Add Rachel Maddow's lies of omission to the list.
Maddow is doing her best to shield MSNBC viewers from awkward facts about political support for offshore drilling. Here's how she began her show on Monday, with an announcement from July 2008 by then-President George W. Bush --
BUSH: For years my administration has been calling on Congress to expand domestic oil production. Unfortunately, Democrats on Capitol Hill have rejected virtually every proposal. ... One of the most important steps we can take to expand American oil production is to increase access to offshore exploration on the Outer Continental Shelf, or what's called the OCS. ... Today I've issued a memorandum to lift the executive prohibition on oil exploration in the OCS.
MADDOW: That was President George W. Bush in July 2008 lifting the presidential ban on offshore oil drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf. It was a presidential ban that had been first put in place by President Bush's dad in 1990 after the big Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska. Here was why Bush the second said he was lifting the drilling ban of Bush the first --
BUSH: New advances in technology have made it possible to conduct oil exploration in the OCS that is out of sight, protects coral reefs and habitats, and protects against oil spills.
It's not often I see something on The Huffington Post I look forward to reading. Here's an exception.
In a post ungrammatically titled "Why Has the New York Times and Rachel Maddow Misled Us?", novelist and essayist Richard Greener on Thursday wrote a stinging rebuke of a Times' June 8 editorial and Maddow's coverage on her show the following day of the Supreme Court emergency order intervening in Arizona's political matching funds law.
The specifics of Greener's criticism of the Times and Maddow can be found by following this link to his post. (A video clip of the Maddow segment in question can be found here).
Greener laid it on thick when it came to Maddow, initially describing her as "always intelligent, smart and savvy and usually 100 percent credible" before going after her assertions about the court's action.
"The idea that there is a pro-Israeli bias in the broad media - whatever ‘the media' means at this point, I strongly disagree with," Meacham said. "I think if anything you run into a very strong feeling on the Palestinian side."
That led another panelist on Maher's show, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow to protest by asking who is pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel in politics or media.
Do you live near wetlands? Worse still, in a subdivision near wetlands? If so, please hold your head in shame and make Rachel Maddow's day.
Reporting on the BP spill from Louisiana last week, MSNBC's self-proclaimed geek spent considerable time talking about the importance of wetlands. "Land like this is life or death, not only for the wildlife that lives there, and boy howdy do they have some wildlife, but land like this is life or death in a much bigger way," Maddow told her viewers on June 2 (1:01 in this clip). "It means life or death for all the other land that's not like this around here."
Maddow elaborated by describing a hurricane's storm surge, akin to "a high tide from hell." Wetlands buffer the coast from the impact of storm surges, Maddow said. "They say that every 2.7 square miles of wetlands that a storm passes over brings the storm surge for communities behind those wetlands down by one foot," marking the difference between "destruction" and "biblical destruction."
After falsely claiming that oil companies pay no federal royalties for offshore drilling, an assertion later undermined by one of her own guests, Rachel Maddow rewrites the history of the oil industry's last 40 years.
"We've had a lot of response to the NBC News archival footage that we played this week showing just how much hasn't changed in the past 30 years of oil drilling disasters," told her MSNBC viewers May 28. "You may recall that we played news coverage this week of the 1979 Ixtoc oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. And that footage made clear that from failed blowout preventers, to junk shots, to top kills, to booms, to dispersants, to undersea plumes of oil, oil disasters and oil disaster response looks the same now as it did 30 years ago."
"The only real technological progress the oil industry has made in the past 30 years is figuring out how to drill in ever deeper water," Maddow claimed. "It was unsafe in 200 feet of water 30 years ago. Now the progress is that today it's unsafe in 5,000 feet of water. ... No one in the oil industry wants to say it and no one in America wants to believe that it is true and I include myself in this. But honestly, we have no idea how to drill safely offshore. We know how to drill offshore, but we do not know how to drill safely offshore. Because the oil companies have never been made to care too much about that before."
Not only that, I would hasten to add, we have "no idea" how to send human beings safely into space. Even after losing three astronauts in the Apollo 1 fire of January 1967, seven more perished nearly 20 years later on the shuttle Challenger, followed by another seven fatalities on the Columbia in 2003.
Journalists, never known to shy from giving each other awards, will always make room for one more. How about this for a possibility?
... And our final nominee for gratuitous reference to race in cable-show polemic, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, shown here on May 26 --
MADDOW: Today in Alaska, crude oil production was all but stopped on the North Slope. Oil companies operating there were told to cut their production by more than 80 percent after thousands of barrels of crude oil spilled from the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline. The 800-mile Trans-Alaska oil pipeline, at least for right now, is shut down. That spill in Alaska is happening, of course, in the shadow of a much larger spill in the Gulf of Mexico. (Maddow pauses for effect)
And, uh, actually, you know what, if it's OK with you guys in the control room, I think we should just probably just have me stop doing this now and let the gravitas white guy anchor do this part. Let's do that.
Yes -- "the gravitas white guy anchor." Worth nominating, don't you think?
What is it about oil spills that make liberals so slippery?
Come to think of it, this isn't fair. What is it about oil spills that make liberals more slippery than usual? There, that's better.
The fact that oil companies receive federal subsidies doesn't sit well with Chris Hayes, Washington editor of The Nation magazine and occasional guest host on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show. Sitting in for Maddow on May 21, Hayes lambasted libertarian GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul for not condemning subsidies to the fossil-fuels industry --
HAYES: The very idea of government subsidies runs counter to the libertarian governing philosophy. And yet when they're in power, when conservatives are in power, reflexively pro-business conservatives have no problem with them. They chuck their supposedly principled free-market ideals right under the wagon the first time BP comes calling.
Sarah Palin on Sunday said that she sees similarities between how the media are treating Kentucky senatorial candidate Rand Paul and the way the press tried to "get" her before the elections in 2008.
Appearing on "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace, the former Alaska governor said, "I think there is certainly a double standard at play here."
"One thing that we can learn in this lesson that I have learned and Rand Paul is learning now is don't assume that you can engage in a hypothetical discussion about constitutional impacts with a reporter or a media personality who has an agenda."
She continued, "They are looking for the gotcha moment, and that's what evidently appears to be that they did with Rand Paul" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
Although Sam Donaldson wouldn't go so far as calling senatorial candidate Rand Paul a racist, he did say that he'd be shocked if enough people in Kentucky voted for the Tea Party candidate in November to send him to Congress.
As the Roundtable discussion of Sunday's "This Week" moved to Paul's primary victory on Tuesday, Donaldson said that comments the Tea Partier made about the Civil Rights Act on "The Rachel Maddow Show" were "stupid."
"So who is going to win in Kentucky? I can't predict," he said adding, "But I would be shocked -- I'll say that now -- if Rand Paul gets most of Kentucky's votes and becomes the senator" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Kentucky senatorial candidate Rand Paul has struck back at MSNBC for its continuous implications that he is a racist.
In an interview with WHAS-TV in Louisville, Paul said, "I need to be very careful about going on certain networks that seem to have a bias."
He continued, "They went on a whole day repeating something over and over again, and it makes me less inclined to go on a network" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary, relevant section at 2:50, h/t HotAirPundit):
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):
On this weekend's Fox News Watch, panelist Jim Pinkerton cited this NewsBusters item in which Joe Scarborough passed along the comment from an unnamed conservative insider questioning "what the hell was [Rand Paul] doing on MSNBC?", a reference to Paul's appearance on the Rachel Maddow show in which he made comments on the 1964 Civil Rights Act that have caused controversy. The irony of course is that Scarborough is himself an MSNBC host. H/t NB reader Gat New York.
Pinkerton and his fellow News Watch panelists got a chuckle out of this NewsBuster's fond wish which concluded the item: "Oh to be an olive when Joe and Rachel sip martinis together at the MSNBC TGIF."
Joe Scarborough might not have won any brownie points with his employer, but he gets credit for candor . . .
Commenting on the Rand Paul matter, Scarborough passed along the comments of an unidentified conservative insider who asked "what the hell was he [Paul] doing on MSNBC?" That of course was a reference to Paul's appearance on the Rachel Maddow show in which he made comments on the 1964 Civil Rights Act that have caused controversy.