Supplemental: Vastly misstating what Varney said!


Maddow’s strange meltdown continues:
In our view, it’s understandable, though not especially wise—many liberals are displeased by criticism of Rachel Maddow.

The reaction is understandable. That said, Maddow continues to spiral downward, in her manic presentation and in her basic facts. Consider her ginormous misrepresentation of fact on last evening’s eponymous show, accompanied by the standard doses of clowning, snark and snide.

Fairly late in last night’s program, Maddow teased her final segment. She said that Fox had been confronted with some “uncomfortable or damaging numbers.”

How had Fox reacted to those numbers, which hadn’t been specified yet? Maddow said the channel was engaged in “a fantastical reimagining of what the real numbers actually mean:”
MADDOW (10/29/14): I’m not sure they know what they’re doing is very funny, but it is, in fact, very funny when you see them do it. If you know somebody who watches Fox, this is what they’re being told right now is the state of the country.

That story, and the funny tape of it happening live on TV, is next.
Great! We were going to get some funny tape of what Fox viewers are being told is the state of the country.

As the segment in question began, we learned that Maddow was referring to the nation’s low gas prices. Quite correctly, she noted that conservative pundits, including many on Fox, trashed Obama in 2012 because gas prices were high.

She even played tape of Candidate Romney saying that Obama “gets full credit or blame for what’s gasoline prices under his watch.”

That’s a fairly silly notion, of course. But back then, Romney said it!

Now that gas prices are low, how is “Fox” handling the subject? According to Maddow, “Fox”—by which she seemed to mean Stuart Varney—was saying that low gas prices are harmful to the economy!

For the record, Varney is one of the most ridiculous pundits on Fox, but he’s a relatively minor player. At present, he hosts the 11 AM weekday show on the Fox Business Network, with occasional horrible guest spots on Fox News itself.

Varney is a frequent nightmare. Increasingly, so is Maddow. As she continued, she showed a chyron from Varney’s program. Plainly, the chyron said this:


Just in case you're wondering, yes. The question mark was there.

On the basis of that, and that alone, Maddow proceeded to what you see below, clowning as she went. Warning! What follows is grossly inaccurate:
MADDOW (10/29/14): Republicans have been saying forever that President Obama is responsible for gas prices, right? There’s Mitt Romney saying President Obama gets the full credit or blame for gas prices.

OK, so credit then, right? The president is supposed to get credit for low gas prices now, right? A week before the election?

That’s a problem for the right. But don’t worry, Fox has got it covered. On the business version of Fox News, look at their headline on this story about the unusually low gas prices right now. Look at this. Ha! [Banging on table in hilarity] “Cheap gas hurts economy?” Ha-HA!

This is genius. This was flagged by the website Media Matters.

Fox has now decided that actually looooooow gas prices are a threat to America! Is President Obama purposefully tanking the economy with these unconscionably loooow gas prices?

Hey, we report, you decide!

Fox has now decided that low gas prices are a bad thing. Obama and his low gas prices hurting the economy. Presto change-o! Problem fixed!
To watch the full segment, click here.

Maddow went on to moralize about what “the right”—by which she apparently means Stuart Varney—could or should have done. “The right could have just decided they just don’t believe low gas prices,” she said. “They could have decided the numbers were cooked.

“But this is even easier,” she said. “The low gas prices exist, but now they’re bad.”

Somehow, Maddow had jumped from Varney’s ambiguous chyron all the way to “Fox” and “the right.” On the basis of one chyron, we were learning what Fox is now telling “half the country.”

Unfortunately, Maddow was completely wrong about what Varney had said. What follows is becoming a nightly occurrence on Maddow’s increasingly strange TV program.

What had Varney actually said about our low gas prices? In fact, he spoke with a guest, Anthony Scaramucci, about a Wall Street Journal report which said that $3 gas “carries rewards—and risks.”

Varney and Scaramucci both came down on the side of rewards. As a courtesy, we’ll guess that Maddow had no idea what Varney had actually said on his show. But here’s the relevant transcript, drawn from the actual tape:
VARNEY (10/28/14): We’ve been trumpeting the virtues of low gas, low oil prices. The Wall Street Journal this morning says gas at three dollars carries rewards and risk. It says you get down too low and American producers stop producing and that’s bad for the economy. You go with that?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, I think there’s an efficient frontier. So I’m not exactly sure what that number is...

What I think is critical for the economy, though, is if you look at the average consumer, Stuart, below making $50,000 a year, their energy costs are roughly 21 percent of their disposable income. That’s two times more than it was in 2001 and that’s crimped the economy and that’s stalled the consumption for the middle class and the lower middle class.

So this decrease in gas prices is going to be very good for the Christmas season. It’s good for Walmart, it’s good for Macy’s, I also think it’s good for Costco.

And so, net-net, I take the position that it’s better for the economy because of the consumption value there.

VARNEY: I’m with you. Anthony Scaramucci!
It isn’t the biggest deal in the world. But Varney hadn’t said anything like the words Maddow crammed in his mouth. As he closed the segment in question, Varney said the low gas prices would be good for the economy. At the start of that transcript, he says that he has been “trumpeting the virtues of low gas prices” all along.

Everybody makes mistakes, but Maddow is now committing these groaners pretty much every night. It only gets worse if you see the way she clowns and cavorts through her bungled reports, trashing “Fox” for misstating facts even as she does the very same thing.

This segment was the latest embarrassment. A few extraneous factors make it even worse.

For starters, Maddow made an even bigger blunder about what “Fox” is saying on last Friday’s program. We’ll discuss that groaner tomorrow.

Second, consider the matter of the chyron under which Maddow herself performed:


This extended a tasteless hook which Maddow introduced, in unpleasant fashion, on last Friday’s program. We’ll discuss that tomorrow too.

In fairness to Maddow, Media Matters badly blundered here too. Because Maddow cited them as her source, we looked to see what they had posted.

All they had was Varney’s chyron,
minus the question mark. There was no sign that Media Matters checked to see what Varney actually said.

Maddow took their bullshit and ran. As she closed the embarrassing segment, this is the pablum she fed to us, her hapless viewers:
MADDOW: If you don’t watch Fox on a regular basis, I understand.

But it is important to know this is what half the country is being told this is the news right now about the election with six days to go. Be mad about the low gas prices! They’re hurting the economy!

You’re amazing.

That does it for us tonight. We’ll see you again tomorrow.
Is that really what half the country is being told? In fact, Varney said nothing like that. And he was her only example!

Something seems to be wrong with Maddow. As we’ll continue to note tomorrow, something is wrong with her show.


  1. Maddow is a misleading journalist.

  2. I know people who watch Fox. When Fox has reported something inaccurate, it is very hard to get them to change their minds about what they believe. It will be harder if shows on MSNBC are shown to be inaccurate too, because then it just seems to boil down to which inaccuracy you prefer. The only way to combat inaccuracy is with reliable information, not alternative misinformation.

  3. Whatever does she mean by "half the country"? Does she really believe half the country watches Varney's show, much less Fox News? Does it follow that she therefore believes the other half watches her show? If their combined ratings were a territory, I doubt they'd qualify for statehood. Delusional.

    I heard a report on NPR -- NPR! -- that lower gas prices might hurt domestic production. Why doesn't she go crazy on that?

  4. Maddow is a pundit, not a journalist. The smidgeon of folks who actually watch her show and MSNBC are clueless to the difference between journalism/reporting and punditry. Maddow also brags about how she doesn't even own a TV. Why she felt compelled to share that odd fact is just part of the Maddow mystique, I guess.

    Back in 2010, Maddow demonstrated her penchant for lackadaisical fact-checking. Maddow proclaimed on her show that a Republican congressman "received advance notice" of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. After bloggers demonstrated that she was completely bullocks, her on air mea culpa had a built in caveat. She didn't get her facts wrong, merely made an error in editing.

    "When I mentioned Steve Stockman again on this show on Monday night, I misstated the details of that true account that you just heard me give there back on the show in March. On Monday I said that Mr. Stockman's notice from the militia movement about the Oklahoma City bombing was advance notice. It wasn't in advance, it was right after the bombing, I apologize for the misstatement. It was an editing error and it was mine alone" R.M.

    Jon Stewart summed up MSNBC perfectly.

    "MSNBC Is Like The Munsters. Everyone else over there is ****in' nuts!" Jon Stewart November, 2010

    1. Maddow is not a pundit. According to the definition, a pundit is "an expert in a particular subject or field who is frequently called on to give opinions about it to the public." Maddow has a degree, as do most journalists, but she does not work in any field except journalism and her expertise is limited to her work in that field. For example, she is not a member of the State Department, an academic on faculty at a university, a CEO of a corporation, a researcher or scientist, a politician or campaign manager, or any of the numerous categories of experts that give their opinions on topics. She came to MSNBC from Air America where she was a radio personality and reporter (journalist), not a pundit.

    2. The bankrupt Air America didn't employ any reporters, journalists or offer any information not sifted through the liberal ideological colander.

      Maddow is an expert in liberal ideology. Just as was Keith Olbermann. There is negligible difference between the on air personalities and pundits.

      And then there is this:

      "Rachel Maddow, host of the Rachel Maddow Show, is one of the first liberal women to take a stab at political punditry. Maddow’s show first aired on September 8, 2008, and has since been named “one of the best shows of the decade” by the Washington Post. Maddow’s ability to tackle political issues and explain them in an interesting and coherent way make her show a valuable contribution to MSNBC."

  5. MSNBC is in the tank, like CNN. Ratings and the bottom line make desperate acts a necessity, but she doesn't suck on knee-caps with Tweety's skill and enthusiasm, so she has that going for her.

  6. You should be asking Maddow why she doesn't have Ann Coulter on her show to debate with?

    The reason is she saw this debate and it scared the hell outta her!

    She can't have Ann on her show & make a fool out of her, the video goes viral & she becomes a clown, her schtick of being super smart would be gone LOL

  7. The same reason why "The View" wouldn't dare select A.C. to be the lone conservative pov on that show. Rosie and Whoopie would be storming off the set every day.

    1. Easy

      Having Ann on the show would make the other hosts look like country bumpkins lol

    2. Coulter makes outrageous remarks without any semblance of support in a hit-and-run fashion that prevent serious discussion or debate. People would walk off because that isn't any kind of civil discourse, not because she was making anyone except herself look foolish.

    3. The libs who throw pies at Coulter when she is allowed to appear at higher learning institutions would be the "hit-and-run" loons.

      All of A.C's facts are annotated. in her books.

      When has Rosie O'Donnell ever engaged in serious discussion? The women is a 911 Truther moonbat as well.

    4. "People would walk off because that isn't any kind of civil discourse, not because she was making anyone except herself look foolish."

      Really? Rosie O'Donnell is a guardian of civil discourse? Progressives like Martin Bashir are actually interested in civil discourse?

      I have a hard time buying that load of ...

    5. "Kill their leaders and convert them to Chritianity." That was the Ann fanboy cry back in the days when Iraq was going to be a cakewalk.

    6. When she appears on Bill Maher he tells her not to be ridiculous when she pulls that stuff. There is no sense that she believes a word she says. She is a waste of everyone's time, unless you are 12 and just enjoying holding your own opinions in disagreement with her.

    7. The only people who get a pass for still giving a shit about 9/11 after October 1, 2001 are those who lost friends or family on 9/11.
      All others who bring it up are just trying to score cheap political points, and should be ignored.


    8. Sane could be said for Ferguson. But POTUS Obama, AG Holder, Al Sharpton, assorted libs. plan to get as much mileage out of that shooting as possible.

  8. Good Lord, spending keystrokes on two pundits only a handful of people watch on a good day. Who cares?

    1. Thomas Steinbeck (son of John) thinks R.M.'s musings are as accurate as Uncle Walter. Cronkite was known as "the most trusted man in America." Walter Leland Cronkite III was not available for comment.

      "MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Wins John Steinbeck Award"

      "Listening to Rachel Maddow is like listening to Walter Cronkite.. We have that kind of trust in her.” Thomas Steinbeck

    2. 4:41 in fewer keystrokes: "Leave poor Rachel ALONE!!!

    3. 517 - read comp fail. Shorter 441 - Who cares?

  9. "Bob's strange meltdown continues ..." cicero,cicero,cicero,cicero,cicero,a.perez.

  10. Don't the rest of us count?

  11. Varney is indeed a piece of work. I remember him from his CNN days at the same time Jerry Falwell was using his weekly Sunday morning Old Time Gospel Hour to promote anti-Clinton conspiracy theory tapes. When Clinton dismissed the matter in the most disinterested way possible, Varney "reported" the matter, straight faced no less, as Clinton attacking Falwell for holding religious beliefs. After that there's been no point listening to another word coming out of his mouth.

  12. A look at Bob's comments would show him why his obsession with Maddow is misdirected -- if, that is, he were genuinely interested in media criticism, or advancing progressive interests. But he ain't. I didn't see a donation post today. I wonder if someone came up with a big enough donation to allow him to dispense with his attempts at varying his subject matter, and return to his Maddow obsession, with a side order of Gore 2000, full time.

  13. Bob rightly points out that Media Matters badly blundered here. I'd like to see Bob take on Media Matters. This organization is funded by George Soros and other wealthy liberals. In theory its purpose is to point out errors in conservative media. In practice, it mostly attacks Fox News, with criticisms that are often inaccurate. Bob could write many a column pointing out errors in Media Matters.

    1. "The Internal Revenue Service has revoked the tax-exempt status of a conservative group for engaging in political activity. Meanwhile, the liberal-leaning watchdog group Media Matters has kept its tax-exempt status"

    2. You expect people at a liberal blog to get excited about that?

    3. I don't expect libs to acknowledge the venal IRS hypocrisy much less get excited.

    4. Yes. All these political outfits (including churches) should be taxed. It'll even help reduce the deficit conservatives whine about when the government wants to invest in the people.


  14. OMB (Watching Rachel With the OTB)

    BOB's strange meltdown continues: In our view, it’s understandable, though not especially wise—many conservative commenters are pleased by criticism of Rachel Maddow.

    The reaction is understandable. That said, BOB continues to spiral downward, in his manic presentation and in... basic facts. Consider ginormous misrepresentation of fact on last evening’s eponymous show, accompanied by the standard doses of clowning, snark and snide.

    Not content to level a valid criticism of Maddow for a poor, misleading segment, BOB employed his favorite weasel words.

    "According to Maddow, “Fox”—by which she seemed to mean Stuart Varney—was saying that low gas prices are harmful to the economy!"

    BOB followed with a statement about what a piece of bad (but minor) work Varney is. (We plan a series on how BOB turns right wing nonsense spewers into minor players while elevating liberals into "leaders" but we will procrastinate and do it later.) Then he got out the weasels again. For the record, weasels do not "howl."

    "Maddow went on to moralize about what “the right”—by which she apparently means Stuart Varney—could or should have done."

    BOB then presents evidence of what Varney did say, in an effort to show how off base Maddow was. In all this post features Varney's name eighteen times, including the headline.

    "Maddow was completely wrong about what Varney had said," BOB tells his readers. "Varney hadn’t said anything like the words Maddow crammed in his mouth," BOB repeated for emphasis.

    Here is something we can say about BOB's post. We don't "apparently mean" BOB's post. We don't "seem to mean" BOB's post. We say this about BOB's actual real post.

    Rachel Maddow is eighteen mentions of Stuart Varney behind BOB.
    She never crammed a word in his mouth because she never mentioned his name. She mentioned the headline with a question mark posted by FOX news on a program Varney hosted. She mentioned several other headlines which Bob ignored entirely. She mentioned FOX repeatedly. The name Stuart Varney never came out of her mouth.

    Did Rachel go overboard in her effort to ridicule the competition?
    We say yes, but that "isn't the biggest deal in the world" (How could it be when Carol Costello has already ruined the whole darn place for you earthling life forms). The question is, if Rachel went overboard, why did BOB follow her with a full back flip into the deep end?

    1. Go take your meds and settle down.

    2. Competition? MSNBC programing isn't even competitive with community access cable shows. Making FNC the bogeyman didn't work for Keith Olbermann. He went back to concentrating on "Worst Person In The World," only in the ESPN sports arena.

    3. It's unbelievable what ZKoD can create out of nothing. He's determined to find some terrible crime in everything Somerby (or "BOB") says. What a waste.

    4. Exactly why we opened with BOB's explanation for your defense of him. BOBfans react just as he predicted Madddow fans would react.

      Not a substantive refutation of the facts.

      ZKoD 18
      BOBfans 0

    5. It is a pretty terrible blogging crime to be complaining about all the things Rachel said that Varney said when she talked only about the chyron -- which most likely stayed up the whole time because Fox, far more clever than Bob, recognizes that many viewers leave the the video on with no sound -- and never even mentioned his name or said he said anything. The fact that he could blow it far worse than Maddow did in this case he is citing is indicative that there has been a severe loss of perspective.

  15. Next week, FOX News will resurrect the question regarding whether or not Obama is indeed the anti-Christ.
    Of course, by the end of the segment they will conclude that the evidence is inconclusive, so it's all good.

    1. Is this the opening segment in this year's War on Christmas?

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Too bad liberals war on women isn't seasonal.