WHO IS RACHEL MADDOW: Bill Maher objects!


Part 3—His guest’s latest howler: Last Friday, on Real Time with Bill Maher, something unusual happened:

Rachel Maddow’s journalism was challenged, from two different directions. At Mediaite, Josh Feldman offered a reasonably accurate summary of events:
FELDMAN (2/21/14): Bill Maher confronted Rachel Maddow on his show Friday night about MSNBC’s obsession with BridgeGate, following up on his blog post last week calling it MSNBC’s Benghazi, telling Maddow it’s just too much now and really needs to stop being a “top story” on almost every single show on the network.

Maddow responded, “I am totally obsessed with the Christie story, unapologetically.”
She pointed to the gleeful, fun way she covered the Rod Blagojevich scandal, but Maher shot back that it wasn’t covered with nearly the same kind of fervor that BridgeGate has. Maher acknowledged that it’s not the same thing as Benghazi, but the scandal has become MSNBC’s Benghazi. He said, “It’s not Watergate! He’s not the president!”

Maddow said, “When there are gonzo political corruption stories, you cover them.”
Maddow's fuller statement went like this: “Here’s the thing. I am totally obsessed with the Christie story, unapologetically, and will continue to be obsessed with it while amazing things in that story continue to happen.”

To watch this whole segment, click here.

In our view, “confronted” was too strong a word for the exchange between Maddow and Maher. But as he continued, Feldman noted that the National Review’s Charles C. W. Cooke joined Maher in his challenge to Maddow.

Cooke accused MSNBC of trying to end Christie’s presidential hopes, something he said some conservatives also were doing. Throughout the segment, Cooke agreed that this was a genuine scandal.

(Full disclosure: Like most Americans, we normally ignore comments by Brits with more than one middle initial. In this case, correspondent Cooke made some sense.)

It’s unusual to see Maddow challenged on her journalism. Maddow is a highly talented seller-of-self, a useful skill you may not want to see in your leading journalists. Partly due to her songs-of-self, Maddow is widely regarded as a highly reliable, very bright, extremely well-motivated journalist.

On this occasion, Maher and Cooke challenged one basic aspect of Maddow’s work. In response, something rather common occurred:

Maddow uncorked her latest howler.

That wasn’t Maddow’s only reaction to the concern Maher voiced. According to Maher, Maddow has been devoting too much time and too much attention to the Fort Lee scandal. In her reaction to this claim, Maddow did these things:

She briefly pretended not to know what election Cooke could be talking about. (“Why would I be excited to clear Chris Christie from whatever race you mean?”)

She constructed the world’s largest straw man, then skillfully knocked it down. (“So you think that I’ve created the bridge story out of whole cloth in order to elect a Democrat in 2016?”)

She kept insisting that the scandal was well worth covering. This forced Maher and Cooke to keep saying that wasn’t their point.

When Cooke said the extent of the coverage “has been ridiculous,” she played the right-versus-left victim card. (“Thank you for saying it’s ridiculous. I take that almost as a compliment.”)

On the rare occasions when Maddow is challenged, she tends to play such cards. Eventually, she listed the factors which make the Fort Lee matter worth covering, which of course it is.

Presumably, these are some of “the amazing things [which] continue to happen:”
MADDOW (2/21/14): Thank you for saying it’s ridiculous. I take that almost as a compliment. I mean, it’s not like we’re not covering other things. But listen. First of all, his appointee to the Port Authority resigns. Then another appointee of his resigns. Then his deputy chief of staff gets fired. Then his campaign manager gets fired. Today, the head of the police union got fired...It’s an ongoing story, worth covering.
“It is worth covering,” the long-suffering Maher said again, not realizing that his guest had just uncorked her latest howler. (There’s no reason why he should have known.)

It’s true! Two of Christie’s appointees did resign, late last year. And on January 9 of this year, Christie did fire two top aides.

Those well-known facts are certainly true. But as Maddow spoke to Maher last Friday night, had “the head of the police union” been fired that very day?

Nothing resembling that had happened. To appearances, Maddow was misstating the contents of this report in that morning’s New York Times, a thinly-sourced report which went beyond anything which has been reported by any New Jersey newspaper.

The New York Times did not report that the head of the Port Authority police union got fired. The Times reported nothing like that. Meanwhile, nothing resembling that had occurred, unless you were listening to Maddow emit her latest howler.

Go ahead—read that thinly-sourced report, which may have overstated the facts. After that, reread what Maddow said.

Maddow’s howler capped a week of horrible work on her show. It was a week which spilled with misstatements, overstatements and promiscuous acts of accusation based on the slenderest threads.

Tomorrow, we’ll review the journalistic misdeeds from Maddow’s Wednesday and Thursday night programs, the programs which preceded her Friday night massacre of the police union head. For today, let’s note the most striking part of the criticism directed at Maddow on last Friday night’s program.

Here’s what we were most struck by as Maher and Cooke challenged Maddow’s work:

Maher and Cooke each criticized the extent of Maddow’s coverage. But neither complainant suggested that she had made any misstatements or journalistic mistakes.

There was nothing wrong with the content of her coverage. She was simply devoting too much time to the Fort Lee matter.

Indeed, less than one minute after Maddow issued her latest misstatement, Maher went out of his way to praise Maddow and her channel for the accuracy of their work. Horrified, the analysts covered their eyes as their Uncle Bill seemed to rattle a script:
MAHER (2/21/14): Again, I say this as a viewer, as somebody who loves these [MSNBC] shows. And every, I’m like, “OK, can I just flip through this and get to the part where they’re talking about something that matters?”

MADDOW: What did I lead my show with last night?

MAHER: Not [Fort Lee]! I’m saying the network, I’m not saying you. Also, I’d also like to quote myself, when we talked about this on Overtime? I said, “I hate false equivalency. MSNBC, one of the great things about it, is that they are scrupulous fact-checkers, whereas Fox News are scrupulous fact maker-uppers.”
Exactly 35 seconds after Maddow emitted her latest false fact, Maher praised her mighty network for its scrupulous fact-checking.

We’re long-time fans of Maher around here, for his superlative tone and superlative wit if not always for every one of his views. If Maddow had competent journalistic supervision, we might be fans of her work too.

That said, Maher was flirting with a script as he praised MSNBC, and by inference Maddow, for their wondrous fact-checking. This is one of the frameworks Maddow has worked hard to hang around her own head.

For years, we’ve been struck by the fact that Maddow just isn’t obsessively honest. We’ve also been struck by the skillful way she has created a narrative in which her devoted fans say precisely the opposite.

Maddow has largely built this myth through her “Department of Corrections” reports, in which she corrects her minor mistakes while lecturing us about her honesty—about her desire to correct her own errors, even when it hurts.

Can we talk? If Maddow hadn’t successfully sold herself as the liberal world’s “Little Prince,” as an incomparably fey and sincere ethereal being, cynics might possibly view her “Department of Corrections” series as a bit of a scam.

For today, we’ll only say this: No head of any relevant union got fired last Friday. Nothing like that actually happened. We can find no news report which asserted any such thing.

That claim became Maddow’s latest howler as she listed the “amazing things” that “continue to happen” in the Fort Lee story. And sure enough:

As of today, Maddow hasn’t corrected this error. Her ballyhooed Department of Corrections hasn’t been called into action.

For several years, we’ve been struck by the contrast between Maddow’s songs-of-self and her actual journalistic conduct. Last Friday, the analysts thought they saw this pattern play out once again.

Maddow had been emitting groaners all week, but neither Maher nor Cooke said a word about any of that. As we watched the tape of the show, we were struck by the way the modern pundit corps actually works. And we found ourselves asking that question again:

Who is Rachel Maddow?

Tomorrow: The week of living cluelessly

In the New Jersey press: As Maddow often notes, the New Jersey press is leading the way in covering the Fort Lee matter.

Did Paul Nunziato get fired last week? At the widely-praised Bergen Record, a single report included the paper’s one fleeting reference to the minor matter Maddow misstated.

No, the gentleman didn’t get fired. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.

According to Nexis and the paper’s own web site, the Newark Star-Ledger hasn’t mentioned Nunziato in the past week at all.

On Real Time, the chief got fired! In the real world, not so much.


  1. you've got a lot of strengths, but cracking me up isn't usually one of them

    however, this line:

    "Full disclosure: Like most Americans, we normally ignore comments by Brits with more than one middle initial. In this case, correspondent Cooke made some sense."

    genuine belly laugh

  2. Bob, the choir you are preaching to might already be convinced and won't click on the link you provided

    But others with more open minds should.certainly not take your word for it. Judging solely by the reaction of the studio audience, Maddow held her own very well, and Maher, sensing correctly that he was losing the support of his audience, rather quickly got off the subject.

    And leave it to Somerby to take the molehill one sentence spoken on live TV during a vigorous debate against three -- not two -- opponents and turn it into a mountain.

    Couple of other things Bob and his old pal remembered incorrectly.

    Maddow pointed out that the Blagojevich scandal didn't drag out nearly this long between the initial allegations and the resolution. But while it did, she reported on it every day.

    Secondly, both Maher and Cooke were reduced to admitting that the bridge scandal is indeed a real scandal, but that MSNBC's coverage of it was "too much" -- without bothering to define the difference between "too much" and the "right amount."

    And that is a subjective judgment, not an objective one. To a person stuck in those traffic jams it might be "not enough." To a person interested in presidential politics, it might be "the right amount." To a person totally disinterested, it might be "too much." And to people looking for a club to beat MSNBC with, it could all be a traffic study that was merely bungled.

    1. Let us also recall that way back in December, when Maddow first started covering this scandal, Somerby already proclaimed "too much."

      Several resignations and several pending investigations later, is it any surprise he still finds it to be "too much"?

    2. I don't live in New Jersey. I don't care who is governor there. We have our own problems with corruption where I live. There is no reason for a national cable program to "update" us on every detail of this unfolding scandal, unless, as Bob hints, Rachel Maddow is a political hack and not a journalist. This would explain why you cannot trust what she says, since the "facts" she selects to report are intended to provide a political payoff, not to inform.

    3. Waaah! Waaah! Waaah!

      That meanie Rachel is making me watch Chris Christie!

      Waahh! Waaah! Waaah!

    4. "And leave it to Somerby to take the molehill one sentence spoken on live TV during a vigorous debate against three -- not two -- opponents and turn it into a mountain.
      Molehill? She made a declarative sentence that was not true. It comports with Bob's previous claims about her.

      The fact that Maher backed down a bit only shows that he too is an entertainer, not that he was correct in doing so.

  3. Let's review Parts 1 & 2 before having fun with Part 3.

    Simple bottom line.

    Somerby claims Maddow embellishes her personal history and thus can be expected to do the same with the stories she airs.

    Yet Somerby, in the one example he cites of her putting a false story on the air, lied about both the accuracy of her story and his own personal history in covering it. Today he calls it false, and says in three minutes he was able to identify its problem. Yet when he wrote about it in 2012 he admitted Maddow's statement was "technically accurate."

    Even so, some people reading Somerby's post think Maddow is the one who exaggerates based on his words.

    Amazing. This is the world we live in.

    1. Somerby has been documenting Maddow inaccuracies for years now, covering a range of topics. She isn't very honest and she doesn't correct her "errors."

    2. She learned that trick from Bobarooni.

    3. I like Conan O'Brien's approach to correcting errors.

  4. Let us also remember the full context re: Maher vs. MSNBC.

    First off, he writes on a blog post how he is giving up on MSNBC because of their "too much" Christie coverage.

    Then, face to face with Maddow, practically the first words out of his mouth, before the "debate" began, were that he didn't really mean it, he still loves MSNBC, but that their coverage of Christie was still "too much" inviting Maddow to defend it.

    And when she did, with his own studio audience supporting her (horror to a stand-up comic!), we get the "scrupulous fact-checker" speech.

    Maddow reduced Maher to a blithering idiot who was all over the map.

    1. So why is it that it is left to comics (like Bill and John Stewart) to challenge the "reporting" by pseudo-journalists like Maddow? They have no reason to pick a fight with a highly paid TV personality, other than for entertainment. Of course they ultimately back off, since it was all in fun. So where are the real journalists? Are we stuck with the "news" we get from Maddow because no one has the guts to tell her when she is wrong? Is she never wrong?

    2. "They have no reason to pick a fight with a highly paid TV personality, other than for entertainment."


      And poor child! Still doesn't realize that Rachel Maddow isn't the only source of information out there in the Information Age.

      And apparently, too stupid to use that google thingy on his computer to find other sources.

    3. So, you apparently agree that Rachel Maddow is a fountain of misinformation, but you simply don't care. Well, some people prefer to live in the real world where facts matter and misinformation is a menace.

    4. No, I don't agree that Maddow is a fountain of misinformation, and I will thank you in advance for ceasing to put Bob's theme song on my music stand.

      I do however agree that even if she were, the Republic has survived many a worse "fountain of misinformation" before, and we will again.

      You can prefer to live in a real world of your own construction. I prefer to live in the United States, where speech and press are both protected -- even the ones I don't agree with.

    5. Not so long ago, we here in the United States believed that no matter how rich you were, you couldn't buy up all of the megaphones and keep them at full volume.

      The Republic survived those "fountain[s] of misinformation" by passing laws to dampen them. Do you live in that world?

    6. Do you still believe it is possible to "biuy up all the megaphones"?

      Wouldn't those "megaphones" include blogs such as this one?

      I do live in a world in which the whole Arab Spring was engineered by social media.

    7. No, Maher just wimped out. She was still wrong.

    8. About what? That she covers and honest-to-God scandal involving a leading candidate for president "too much"? And at the expense of other important issues that Maher failed to name?

      Notice how Maher caved when she asked him, "What did I lead my show with last night?"

      It is also Somerby's narrative, dating back to her very first reports on the Christie scandal, that it was too much, and done at the expense of important stories. That doesn't make it true.

      But proud member of the choir, you BELIEVE!

    9. There is still nothing tying this back to Christie.

    10. "There is still nothing tying this back to Christie."

      Other than his campaign manager, his Deputy Chief of Staff, his handpicked operatives at the PA plus the current Chairman of PA all involved up to their eyeballs, yeah, there's nothing tying this back to Christie.

    11. Not only is there no clear idea what exactly these people were involved in (up to their eyeballs), there is no evidence Christie was involved. That means this is not about Christie and Maddow's repeated attempts to hang this on Christie are political partisan hack-work. That she equated him with Blagojevich (who has been convicted) is an example. What are they up to their eyeballs in? We don't know yet.

    12. You can be deliberately obtuse if you want. It really doesn't bother me. Maddow has been covering this story but she really hasn't been the one pushing the multiple simultaneous investigations.

      An event occurred. This is a fact. These people all were involved in the planning, execution and subsequent cover up of this event. This is also established fact.
      Two worked directly for the governor. One was a glorified secretary and one was his campaign manager. No one seriously believes that Bridget Ann Kelly would act without authority from her boss, the governor. Both have been fired by the governor once their involvement was revealed. The governor claims that he wasn't interested in asking them why they were involved. If you believe that, I've got a bridge for sale in Brooklyn.

      Two others are out of their jobs at the PA. The one remaining has been explicitly identified in emails as being involved in "retaliating" against the Executive Director of the PA.

      We don't know yet because all these people are now lawyered up and stonewalling the investigation. It's very possible Christie will escape any culpability. The only question is how many people will he throw under the bus and ruin in the process.

  5. OMB (Win One for the Gipper)

    Chalk one up for Somerby. Maddow did misstate what happened to the head of the Port Authority Police Union. Does BOB tell us what happened? No. He harps on what didn't happen. Is what happened significant? We don't know, BOB won't tell.

    In the body of his post he links to a New York Times article, but not before telling us twice it is "thinly sourced" and that it "went beyond anything which has been reported by a New Jersey newspaper." Is what others report relevant? Only to BOB, especially when covering Bridgegate. He did a whole post back in December attacking Maddow for saying "the story keeps getting bigger" basing it on the volume of coverage.

    Then, in a post script, he indicates one New Jersey paper may shed some light on what happened to the PA Police Union President, again both belittling the importance of the coverage and failing to state in a single sentence what did happen.

    PA Police Benevolent Association President Paul Nunziato gave up operational control of the union to his Vice President. He stepped aside. The thinly sourced NYT reported it Friday. Maddow badly misstated it Friday. On Saturday, the Bergen record confirmed exactly the same facts as were contained in the NYT article, which we must tell you, was thinly sourced.

    Was this action significant? The Times thought so. The Bergen Record thought it more important to focus on Christie's lawyer, paid for by taxpayers, resigning from another cushy gig at the the public trough, representing the Port Authority against its toll paying customers. Do we know the reason Nunciato kept his title but gave up his duties as Union President. Not yet. But if Obama gave day to day duties to Biden,
    or any company CEO announced the VP was taking over operational control, we might conclude something was up.

    Poor BOB. It wasn't enough to catch Maddow making a misstatemnt on a comedy show panel. He had to go the extra step to infer she also made something out of nothing. Which of course was the position he took back in December about the whole Bridgegate affair.


    1. You know the rules around here, KZ.

      Bob's statement that Nunziato wasn't fired is "technically accurate." We must wait at least two years before we can call it an "error."

    2. He is simply asking the VP to become "more active" in day-to-day operations. That is the kind of clearing the decks you might expect if someone were expecting to be embroiled in an investigation (he was subpoenaed) and with lawyers during upcoming months. It is a far cry from being fired.

    3. So when Clinton was subpoenaed in the Paula Jones case, we would have expected him to turn things over to Bob's buddy, Al?

      After all, Bill was pretty much embroiled in an investigation and with lawyers for months.

      In fact, I can't think of a single president, CEO or anybody like that who "simply asked the VP to become 'more active" in day-to-day operations" at the arrival of a subpoena.

      Perhaps since it is so common, you can help refresh my memory.

    4. You get it Irishguy. The hope among Republicans was that Bill Clinton would be so preoccupied with defending himself that he would have no time for governing.

      It is common for the head of an operation to ask a second-in-command to become more active -- for a variety of reasons. I was speculating and I do not know this guy's reasons. They could be because he has lost the trust of the union members but they could also be for reasons we know nothing about, unrelated to this business. Health reasons, nearing retirement, problems with a wayward child, incipient Alzheimer's, and so on. When you know for sure, be sure to tell us here.

  6. KZ -

    When someone is praised for their great contributions and "transitioned to a consultant role" we all know what happened.

    Maddow drew the obvious inference from "stepping down from day-to-day operations" and bone-gnawer went ballistic.

    1. Sorry, much as we admire the sdentiments behind you commentary we. like the troll patrol, take grave offense at your constant reference to the OTB as "bone-gnawer."

      BOB is a ruminant. If you doubt it, wander to the next post and watch him chew, and rechew the fields of clover.

      We do not excuse Maddow's error.


    2. Is Bob a ruminant or a muser? I often lose track.

      Yes, Maddow did misspeak, but perhaps like Susan Rice before her, she was only going on the best information available to her at that moment.

      I do not offer that as an excuse, as Bob has in the past, but to merely ask whether our ruminant/muser ever considered that to be "possible" -- as fond as we know he is of never closing the door to all "possibilities."

    3. She embellished to enhance her narrative, which consisted of a list of fired people. The story is better if the list is longer and he was fired, so she made him fired. That is the problem with the way she reports lots of topics. She bends the facts to suit her story line.

    4. Right. Union presidents under subpoena step down from their day to day functions all the time. No pressure whatsoever.

      And of course, Somerby was not advancing any of his own narrative by glomming onto that one comment spoken in the head of a three-on-one nationally televised "debate" in which Uncle Bill was reduced to praising MSNBC and condemning Fox, a mere week after his "divorce" blog post, vowing never to watch MSNBC again.

      Yeah, he really cleaned her clock and put her in her place.

    5. There is a difference between asking the second-in-command to become more active and "stepping down" (he did not do that). That comment Maddow made (that he was fired -- not simply that he "stepped down" which implies voluntary resignation), with wrong. It deserves to be pointed out.

      It is odd to me the way some people here want to make this about who "won" on Maher's show. Whose clock got cleaned. Maybe that comes from the Mediaite post, but it doesn't make any sense in a discussion panel show. For one thing, as host, Maher's hands are tied because he cannot attack his guests aggressively or he will soon have no one willing to be guests on his show. Maddow's statement is only convincing to those who already like her, in my opinion.

      “Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.” Nietzsche

      To the extent that Maddow is a partisan who loves gonzo politician stories (affecting the other side of course), she is not an objective reporter and her statements are suspect. She isn't careful about what she says and she doesn't try to be fair. That makes her a waste of time to watch, in my opinion.

  7. Gee, could we possibly know someone other than Maddow who is obsessed with some issue or person and can't stop his obsessing on the subject?

    1. Again, someone unacquainted with the rules in Bob's World.

      Three months and counting of Christie and the Bridge with no resolution yet in sight? Too much.

      Six years and counting of Maddow obsession? Not enough.

    2. I think it's Bob's job to critique the press. Maddows' nyah nyah nyah tone about Christie is starting to wear thin, and I'm glad he's analyzing why..

      I'm really amazed too that her general fey approach to things isn't starting to offend people. She's just so silly and cute, it makes you want to scream. As I've said before, I'm not asking for Pauline Frederick, but come on. Maddow has gotten awfully puerile the last few years.

  8. Within the incredible, massive volume of pro-Maddow posts in this combox there is a deafening silence. Beyond the insults and the dissection and the beating lies the glaring omission.

    What could these hordes have missed? With their never-ending call outs of error and hypocracy? With their mocking of repitition and bordom with recounting of far-too-old history? With their sad and lonely cries of "why don't you love me the way you used to?"

    A silence. A hole. A blind spot.

    The unspoken: the sorry condition of the modern-day Fourth Estate.

    1. Oh woe is us because of the sorry condition of the modern-day Fourth Estate!

      Oh for the good old days when there were absolutely no scoundrels and scalawags, misfits and drunks, nitwits and dimwits within its ranks, and the Fourth Estate was as pure and perfect as the driven snow!

      But who is this sorry modern-day Fourth Estate fooling? Certainly not I, and certainly not Somerby, we of such keen minds and penetrating insight.

      No, indeed it is the "rubes" -- the great unwashed masses of inferior intellect upon whom we sneer daily and disdain for their lack of understanding.

      A pox on them all! And for the sorry Fourth Estate pandering to them, the lowest possible common denominator!

      We will continue to bask in the glow of our own brilliance.

    2. Anon 2:02-

      Do you think that the consolidation of mass media due to the dismantling of the rules regarding media ownership have had little effect on the quality of news reporting?

      This is not nostagia for the good old days. This is a real change in what we allow the most powerful to get away with.

    3. "But who is this sorry modern-day Fourth Estate fooling? Certainly not I, and certainly not Somerby, we of such keen minds and penetrating insight.

      No, indeed it is the "rubes" -- the great unwashed masses of inferior intellect upon whom we sneer daily and disdain for their lack of understanding."

      And I'm sure that Coke would sell just as many bottles without advertising.

      Your not-so-hidden strawman is the idea that by pointing it out, one automatically puts oneself above the crowd. This is untrue. I buy Coke.

    4. Again, the point missed.

      There was never a time in human history where the "media" wasn't filled with error, and outright propaganda.

      And there has never been before in human history more access to information than there is today. This very blog did not exist before 1998.

      So how are we using our great access to information? By reading opinions we already hold (thank you, John Oliver!)?

      By sneering at those who are obviously more easily fooled that we are? By wringing our hands and crying about how terrible things have gotten, and how surely they will grow worse?

      If so, then this blog is the perfect spot for you.

    5. "Do you think that the consolidation of mass media due to the dismantling of the rules regarding media ownership have had little effect on the quality of news reporting?"

      To answer your serious question seriously, yes there has been a consolidation of mass media.

      But at the same time, there has been quite the fragmentation in our access to information in which we are less dependent on "mass media" to get to the truth than ever before.

      I tried to raise this point before in the "Rodeo Clown" episode from last summer. The whole thing started with a non-journalist with a Smartphone and a Facebook account.

      We are all sharing information with each other, quite independent on our former mass media gatekeepers.

    6. I do not share your optimistic attitude that we need no longer worry about mass media's influence. The recent news regarding the serious threats to net neutrality is my evidence.

    7. I did not say you need no longer worry about the mass media's influence.

      And the news regarding the serious threats to net neutrality is also my evidence? Why do you think that is happening if the mass media, in fewer hands than ever before, is so well in charge of American thought an action?

      What makes net neutrality such a threat to ruling plutocracy that they must stifle it?

    8. Arguing that because others in the media are corrupt or inaccurate, it is useless to point out Maddow's corruption or inaccuracy is wrong. She is not any better as a journalist if others are portrayed as also bad.

    9. That's not what I am arguing at all. I am arguing that the "mass media" is not in decline because there was never a time when it was anywhere close to being what the hand-wringers today imagine it to be.

      It was always filled with bias and errors and downright unethical and even illegal practices -- such as Woodward and Bernstein hounding grand jurors to leak secret testimony.

      Holding out Rachel Maddow as the symbol of the Decline and Fall of Western Journalism is ludicrous.

      And truly, if Bob has already convinced you of Maddow's "corruption and inaccuracy," what's the point in trying to convince you otherwise? It's like convincing a fundamentalist that his beloved pastor is wrong to call evolution a secular humanist plot to take over the world.

      But let me add that of all the forces at work for the benefit of the 1 percent against the middle class, Rachel Maddow really doesn't even show up on the radar screen.

  9. All TV news has become "infotainment." Maddow was hired and given a show because she serves the audience ideologically opposed to Hannity, not because she's the second coming of David Brinkley. There was a market, and the market is served.

    The important thing to know is that the primary purpose of shows like Maddow's is not to inform. It is to entertain.

    1. Yes, but does SHE know that? (!!!)

  10. Maddow doesn't understand the difference between covering something and being obsessed about it.

    1. Another ironic statement.

    2. Ironic, because it's at least as bad, and probably It's Much Worse, for a puny blog to point out Maddow's bullshit, than it is for Maddow to be so full of bullshit.

  11. Maher has been an interesting figure. Often funny, as often foul mouthed and obnoxious, he can claim status as pretty much the lone voice of sanity the week of Monica, when the Press Corp took it upon themselves to force a sitting U.S. President from Office, just as Republicans had always falsely accused them of doing to Nixon.
    Thing is, he argued passionately but never very well, and never called out the likes the Irish gang for their lies, and Matthews often comes on his show and cleans his clock, knowing his own checkered past will never be referred to. We will never know, of course, the extent to which ground rules are brokered on these shows.
    At anyway, we can note that Bob doesn't love a parade and Jack Welch likes the Irish. The only interesting thing that comes up here is said group's possible bigotry of the south that ended up aimed at Clinton. I find this possible, but nothing is presented to support it.

    1. Maher is an idiot. You can admire his courage but not his thinking. He is a food and health faddist who espouses total nonsense on his show in those areas. He kowtows to Ann Coulter for reasons that escape me. He never misses the chance to make a racist or sexist joke, usually unfunny as well, chastising the audience if they complain as if racism or sexism is excused by humorous intent. He frequently repeats incorrect information, most recently the wrong stuff he said about old people stealing the future from today's youth because they accept social security. His main virtue as a host is that he tries to politically balance his panels and he intervenes if his audience is too biased against his guests. But, he is nowhere near as adept a political humorist as John Stewart (even with the current decline in the quality of writing on his show). At this point, I believe he does more harm than good for progressive causes. I do not expect him to support Hillary because he pretty much hates women and I do expect him to come out as a libertarian soon, although I would like to be wrong about that one. I cannot see what Somerby likes about him and that worries me because I tend to like Somerby's posts.

    2. Now we are getting somewhere.

      Bill Maher has taken Reagan's signature line and dressed it up in "progressive" clothing -- "Government is not the solution to problems, government IS the problem."

      He is basically the same neo-populist libertarian offering simple solutions to complex problems. I don't expect him to come outright and support Rand Paul, but it wouldn't surprise me either.

    3. No. We are getting nowhere. We still don't know who killed JFK or who really pulled the plug on Alec Baldwin.

    4. Actually, Maher has always taken the stand the libertarianism sounds good but it unlikely to implemented with any common sense by the nuts who promote it. And in his shift to the left in recent years, he has often pointed out that Government job is to serve the public and not make money. Again, as in his defense of Clinton during Monicagate (which ought to be recalled at least as much as Matthews debacles during those years) is still the best example: right on the issue, bad on the argument.
      The problem with show business is that its Show Business. These people work for the same agencies, or there agents are friends. Michael Woolf's piece of the dubious promotion of The Farrow kids states it feather well. On rare occasion Maher will call out a guest, present or not, on bald inaccuracy, naming names. But it's rare,and as far as correcting the times he has put out bald misinformation (Zimmerman), forget about it. So it's not JKF stuff, it's Show biz, you promote me I'll promote you stuff. The other night he was yucking it up with the noxious buffoon P.J. O"Rourke, mr. "Give War A Chance" himself. Yuk.

  12. So far no troll has be able to refute the fact that Maddow has clown shoes.

    1. Maybe it's time we thought about retiring the meaningless insult "Troll." What did that ever mean anyway? Someone who disagrees with me?

    2. Troll was defined a few weeks ago. Someone who is not on topic, whose posts are nonsense or gibberish, someone whose purpose here is to heap scorn on Somerby instead of discuss issues, someone whose purpose here is to vent hostility on other commenters, etc. It is actually pretty easy to tell trolls from real comments, and it has nothing to do with disagreement.

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