And what Maddow didn’t: Like Kevin Drum and others, we recommend Katherine Eban’s detailed report in Fortune concerning the Fast and Furious fury. For Drum’s take, just click this.
Eban’s piece is long and detailed—and it's deeply perplexing. If it’s accurate, it turns the Fast and Furious story completely on its head.
To read Eban’s piece, click this. It's fascinating, detailed and long.
Last night, when Eban appeared on CNN, Soledad O’Brien did the right thing. She asked the obvious question: Why the heck did Eric Holder say the things he said?
O’BRIEN (6/27/12): The premise of your article is that there was no gun-walking in Fast and Furious, which completely contradicts really the central argument that we've seen in the political sphere now for months.At this point, O’Brien played tape of Holder testifying to Congress. “Instances of so-called gun-walking are simply unacceptable,” he was shown saying. “Regrettably, this tactic was used as part of Fast and Furious, which was launched to combat gun trafficking and violence on our southwest border.”
EBAN: That's right. After six months of investigation, what became clear to me is that the things that Congress was holding up as centerpieces of proof that guns had been walked were, in fact, misconstrued, incorrect, resulted from other motives, other reasons, that there were alternate explanations and that really, this was a case of cherry picking, you know, small phrases, sentences, without any of the context really that you need in order to understand what actually happened in Phoenix Group Seven.
O'BRIEN: So why, back in November of 2011, would the Attorney General Eric Holder say that, in fact, the tactic happened and it was unacceptable?
Why the heck did Holder say that if Eban’s reporting is accurate? If there was no gun-walking in Fast and Furious, why did he say there was?
We don’t know the answer to that. Neither did Eban, although she offered one possible explanation. (“I do say it appears that the Obama administration has basically caved or laid down on the railroad tracks in order to hold it at bay,” she said. “You know, let's not let it come up and get the political appointees. Let's hold it down in Phoenix.”)
If Eban’s reporting and explanation are accurate, Democrats should be the ones seeking Holder's head. That said, O’Brien did the right thing last night. She noted the obvious contradiction at the heart of this matter:
Eban says there was no “gun walking” in Fast and Furious. But Holder has said that there was.
Why did Holder say that? We don’t know. But if you watched Rachel Maddow interview Eban last night, you didn’t have to worry your pretty or handsome little head about that obvious question.
Maddow didn’t do the right thing. (Increasingly, this is her program’s trademark.) She simply accepted on faith that everything Eban wrote was correct. She never even mentioned the conflict with what Holder has said.
On Maddow’s show, Eban’s report unambiguously proved that the bad guys have been completely wrong. The fact that our guy has said they were right was sent to the ocean floor.
Maddow suppressed the contradiction which lies at the heart of this matter. But then, she seems to engage in this sort of conduct pretty much every night now. On Tuesday night, she pulled another one of her phony “quotation events,” this time involving Karl Rove.
Rove is a slippery player, of course. Increasingly, so is Maddow.
Maddow toyed with a statement Rove made on a recent Fox program. She made you think that she had played his answer to a particular question. But she hadn’t actually done so. In fact, she had clipped out the part of the session where Rove did give his actual answer, such as it was.
Maddow marveled at how unresponsive Rove was, after throwing away the part of the session where he gave his response.
(Other parts of this segment were equally awful. On a journalistic basis, Maddow’s program is sinking quite fast.)
To watch Tuesday night’s segment, click here. To us, that segment just didn’t sound right.
For that reason, we fact-checked what Rove had said. As usual, we found that Maddow’s presentation had pretty much been doctored.
When you watched that segment on Tuesday, could you pretty much tell?
Tomorrow: Maddow, Frank Rich and Bain Capital