Shorter Rachel Maddow: Hey, rubes!


Her ridiculous segment on Rice: On Wednesday night, we decided to give Rachel Maddow another try.

Over at Salon, Kid Pareene had called her a national treasure. But she lost us that night with some of her typical bad faith and bullroar.

This time, her typical bullroar concerned Ambassador Rice.

The independent report about the Benghazi attacks had been filed that day. Treating her viewers like absolute fools, Maddow pretended to discuss the way Rice was mistreated with respect to the Benghazi matter.

What follows is complete total crap. Presumably, Maddow knows this.

Right from the start of her presentation, Maddow refers to the new report about Benghazi. To watch this full segment, click here:
MADDOW (12/19/12): Does this mean we get Susan Rice back? I know, I know, it’s a done deal. We are told that the president is picking John Kerry to be secretary of state after Hillary Clinton.

But if this was supposedly the reason that Susan Rice could not be considered for that job as well, this [report] is out now, and it says that, in a fair world, we would get Susan Rice back in contention.

This is the report of the Independent Accountability Review Board that was authorized by law as part of the response to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, the attack that killed a serving U.S. ambassador for the first time since the 1970s. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in an armed assault by a militant group on a U.S. facility that was in an area known for its armed militant groups.


The report, which was chaired by long-time diplomat Thomas Pickering and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, placed blame on the U.S. for being unable to foresee that attack and unable to protect against that attack squarely on the U.S. State Department.

And so somebody totally unrelated to that can’t be secretary of state now? I don’t understand.
“I don’t understand,” Maddow said. Although of course she did.

As Maddow noted, the independent report placed blame for the security failure on the State Department. Rice isn't part of the State Department. That means the security failure couldn’t have been her fault!

Of course, Republicans never blamed Rice for the security failure. And Maddow of course understands that.

As Maddow of course understands, that wasn’t the basis for the GOP’s relentless attacks on Rice. The fact that the new report blames the State Department has nothing to do with the actual accusations the GOP advanced against Rice—attacks which Maddow failed to address until mid-November, when Obama finally spoke up.

That’s right, liberals! For two solid months, Maddow sat on her big self-dealing ass and said nothing as these attacks against Rice gathered steam.

Now, safely after the fact, Maddow pretends to stand in outraged defense of Rice! As she continued her presentation, she kept pretending that the new report somehow debunked the accusations against Rice:
MADDOW (continuing directly): Republican senators after the election decided that the person they wanted to attack for Benghazi was somebody who had nothing to do with that attack, nothing to do with embassy security, with diplomatic security, not even somebody who works at the State Department. But she was somebody who the president was considering nominating for secretary of state. She was the U.N. ambassador.

Well, Susan Rice last week withdrew her name from consideration for the secretary of state job because of Republican senators unrelenting criticism of her on the basis of Benghazi. Then today, the long-awaited accountability report on that attack reiterates that she had no role, no responsibility for what went wrong there whatsoever.

Because of who the report did find responsible, three State Department officials did resign today, including the assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security and two deputy assistant secretaries responsible for that region of the world and for embassy security specifically.

The top dog at the department, Secretary Clinton, says she is accepting all of the review board’s recommendations, even the classified ones that we don’t get to know about. She said the State Department is requesting that Congress transfer more than $1.3 billion out of a contingency fund for Iraq into bolstering security at embassies and U.S. facilities worldwide.

That will include funding for a thousand more U.S. Marines to be distributed to U.S. embassies around the globe. A thousand, that’s a lot. And it is likely to be all but permanent.

Joining us now is Andrea Mitchell, NBC’s chief foreign affairs correspondent. Andrea, thank you very much for being with us. I appreciate your time.
As Maddow continued, she continued to marvel at the absurdity of it all. Why can’t Rice be considered again? She had absolutely nothing to do with the security failure!

Maddow just kept playing it dumb, treating her viewers like fools in the process.

Maddow is certainly right on one point. “The long-awaited accountability report” did (indirectly) reiterate that Rice “had no role, no responsibility for what went wrong there whatsoever.”

But no one had ever accused her of that! That isn’t what the accusations against Rice were about.

Rice was accused of lying about what happened at Benghazi. She was never accused of being responsible for the event itself.

Obviously, Maddow knows that, despite what she said Wednesday night.

Why did Maddow stage this gong-show, a common occurrence on her program? Below, we’ll offer a guess. But first, please understand:

Maddow said nothing for two solid months as the Fox News Channel and John McCain launched their attacks on Rice. For two solid months, the darling climber said and did nothing as these attacks mounted.

Quite literally, Rice’s name wasn’t even mentioned on Maddow’s show for the first two months of this GOP war. Rachel Maddow, Our Own Rhodes Scholar, was thoroughly silent—AWOL.

That said, why did she stage this presentation, pretending that Rice came under fire for permitting the lax security? We’ll take a guess:

Now that this whole affair is settled, Maddow wants to kiss Rice’s ass, ostentatiously if possible. This is how big-time networking is done among the millionaire elite.

Maddow is a master of this practice. See below for one more example.

Presumably, Maddow assumed her viewers are too damn stupid to spot the inanity of her presentation. Or she figured they wouldn’t care as long as she fed them some simple-minded comfort food straight from the tribal pantry.

Or she simply didn’t care if we the rubes did notice.

At some point, Maddow could have explained what was wrong with the GOP’s actual accusations against Rice. We did so here, again and again.

Maddow didn’t do that in real time, and she didn’t bother on Wednesday night. She simply pimped some silly shit, assuming her viewers would swallow.

Maddow is a horrible climber. When Rice needed help, she was totally AWOL. On Wednesday night, she kissed the ambassador’s high-ranking keister and insulted her viewers' intelligence. And uh-oh:

Speaking of the kissing of asses, Maddow's a master of the practice. This is the way this segment ended:
MADDOW: Andrea Mitchell, NBC’s chief foreign affairs correspondent. It’s an honor to have you here, Andrea. Thank you.

MITCHELL: My honor. Thank you. Good night, Rachel.
Rachel is constantly telling the stars that it's an honor just to be near them. At any rate, if that doesn’t make you gag, congrats! Nothing ever will.

By the way: If you watch the entire segment, you will note a key point. At no time does Maddow ever ask Mitchell about the report's alleged exoneration of Rice.

The reason for that is obvious. If Maddow had raised such a stupid point, Mitchell would have been forced to explain that Rice was never accused of creating the security problem.

Maddow pushed the Rice card during her intro. Then, she let it drop.

In our view, Maddow is strikingly less than honest. Regarding Rice, Maddow was AWOL when it mattered. She played us for fools Wednesday night.

Final point: Kid Pareene called Maddow a national treasure! Until he recants, will someone please get The Kid off our lawn?

Department of pseudo-corrections: In fairness, Maddow did self-correct about Ke$ha’s name! To watch her do that, just click here.


  1. I'll tell you what makes me gag: Maddow's nightly exchange with Ed when she peppers her dialogue with faux-hippie "mans" (Thanks, man, etc.).

    As far as Rice is concerned, I recall a rather tense live appearance by Rice on the show early on in the Obama administration. Seems that Maddow advanced one of her blithe generalizations and Rice corrected her rather tersely; Ms. Maddow did not take kindly to this and there was a real edge from then on.

    Rice has made subsequent appearances, but I've never discerned anything more than an icy cordiality between them.

    Perhaps, like John McCain, but with much more subtlety, Maddow has been getting back at Rice for past slights. After all, one just doesn't correct Ms. Maddow, it's bad form.

  2. While I do agree somewhat with your analysis of Rachel Maddow's commentary, is it necessary to use words like "self-dealing ass?" I found those words quite unacceptable.

  3. Bob, I am convinced that watching Maddow is a waste of my time so I never bother clicking on the links you provide if we want to see the whole segment. A long time ago I used to think the liberals needed a Rush Limbaugh of their own until they started emerging. I don't need or want someone who shares my views to feel they have to resort to dishonest distortions and spew bile infested rants to make points that will best be accepted on their own merits.

  4. when will she self-correct about Inouye's name?

  5. It's true that Maddow didn't address the actual GOP accusations against Rice and this post makes that point well.

    But when TDH says:
    Maddow is a horrible climber. When Rice needed help, she was totally AWOL.

    Is it really Maddow's job to help administration officials? It's not like they have trouble getting press coverage to get their message out. To carry the Maddow defense further, why should she get out in front to defend Rice when the Pres waited 2 months and after the election to find his voice?

    1. "But when TDH says: Maddow is a horrible climber," anyone willing to look at the long history of evidence would have to agree.

      "When Rice needed help, she was totally AWOL. Is it really Maddow's job to help administration officials?"

      No, it's not her job to help. She seemed to pretend it was.

      But then, what *is* Maddow's job?

      On the evidence, it's conning liberals with feel-good pablum and misdirection.

      "Why should she get out in front to defend Rice?"
      "It's not like they have trouble getting press coverage to get their message out."

      It sounds like you weren't paying any attention during the Benghazi debacle. Because it was very much a press failure. The press as a group was actively distorting and mis-stating the message that you seem to think had no trouble getting out.

      It's reasonable to criticize Maddow -- or any other journalist or commentator -- for failing to document this press failure, which was itself big news.

    2. A 15 minute press conference by the President could have clearly stated the government's message. He chose not to do that for reasons unknown.

      As far as being a press was certainly far from a perfect press performance, but the press focus on Benghazi did force the government to admit to different facts than they originally put forth. If the press were always this skeptical, the public would be better served.

  6. She was worse tonight. She had a segment on Hagel. Hagel is under attack for three reasons--his anti-gay comments, the fact that he's a Republican (The Daily Kos people don't want Democrats picking Republican Defense Secretaries), and the fact that he's pretty far left by American standards on the subjects of Iran and Israel and has said derogatory things about the Israel Lobby, even calling it the "Jewish" lobby at one point. It's this last set of issues that has Hagel in trouble with Republicans and has also created a split among Jewish groups concerned about Israel (with J Street supporting him, but others opposed).

    Rachel says nothing about the Iran,Israel, and lobby issues. I think it's deliberate--if she had to comment then no matter what stand she took she'd probably anger some of her fans. Anything involving Israel is touchy. (Boohoo. Get out of the political commentator business if this bothers her.) Or maybe she just wants to pretend that Republicans oppose Hagel because they just like opposing Obama nominees. Whatever the reason, she's not informing her viewers.

    1. Change the word "fans" to the word "MSNBC" ("she'd probably anger some of her fans"), and your contention would be more accurate.

      It shouldn't be news that mass media, which depends on the largesse of government, and whose upper management is as establishment as it gets, will not countenance criticism of American policy in Iran, Israel or anywhere else. Expecting Maddow to take up these subjects is as silly as blaming her for the absence of Shakespearean drama in prime time.

      Of course, blaming Maddow does serve a purpose, as TDH exhaustively proves, day after day -- it avoids confronting the real issue.

  7. The republican attacks against Rice for lying about Benghazi were all about flexing republican muscle with the media in tow. There was no there, there. All one need do is reread or re-watch a feeble-minded blowhard named John McCain reel out his song and dance to know that he and other republicans were mendacious about the early story with regard to Benghazi. Whether Rice was honest or not about the early information available to her was not relevant, because nearly all information concerning national security cannot be trusted until a few days after an event when enough time has passed to collect evidence and investigate the circumstances involved. Rice's response on the Sunday talk show circuit was simply parroting the intelligence available to her.

    There were several events throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa that were either planned due to the 9/11 anniversary, or were spontaneous due to ongoing resentment and a desire for vengeance against the West in general and the U.S. in particular.

    1. Maybe not always after a few days, but rather a few years, if ever.


  8. The idea that Republicans only wanted to fault Rice for misstatements or even lying on the Sunday talk shows is fatuous. They wanted to blame her and the Obama administration for the attack and deaths in any way they could. Since Rice had nothing to do with the actual security they could not take the line that she had bungled security without being accused immediately of lying themselves. Nevertheless, the (false) connection was implicit.

    The debate all along has been over whether Rice and Obama could be saddled with responsibility for the attack, or whether that responsibility belonged with the CIA and other professional agencies, including State. The release of the report was just another battle in that campaign, and there seems no good reason to criticize Maddow for taking part in it.