Maddow watch: Cable clown hangs McAuliffe high!


On May 25, it got worse:
Did Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe receive unlawful campaign contributions? Did he do something else that was wrong?

Everything is always possible! That includes the obvious possibility that murky claims about an FBI probe of McAuliffe represent the latest ginned-up, campaign-year attack on Clinton, Clinton and Gore.

The murky claim of the fuzzy probe surfaced on May 23. Needless to say, the murky claim was based on anonymous sources.

A decent, mature and responsible journalist would want to be extremely careful about this sort of fuzzy campaign-year claim. A halfway intelligent liberal journalist would be especially wary, given the history of ginned up probes of Clinton, Clinton and Gore.

That's how a responsible person would act. Instead, we got the gruesome reaction of Rachel Maddow, corporate cable TV's self-adoring clown.

Maddow is frequently called "The Nun" because of her silly faux prudishness and her desire to punish. To Maddow, accusation equals conviction—and the rumor of a possible probe is equal to an accusation.

On the ridiculous Maddow Show, it's been this way for years.

Maddow has been "hanging them high" on her program for years. On May 23, she leaped into action, hanging McAuliffe high with a set of snarky insinuations of his obvious guilt.

Two nights later, she staged a segment about McAuliffe which was even dumber and worse.

Maddow's presentation on May 23 was, in itself, bad enough. Snarkily, she implied that the new report meant that the state of Virginia is just as corrupt as Illinois! To review our prior report, click here.

That was more than bad enough. But after Maddow's insinuations were done, she spoke with the Washington Post's Matt Zapotosky. Arguably, the young Post scribe was even worse than Maddow had been.

The interview started like this. So far, nothing was awful:
MADDOW (5/23/16): Joining us now is Matt Zapotosky, who covers the Justice Department for the Washington Post national security team...

So do we know anything more specific about why the FBI started this investigation or what specifically it is that they're looking into with McAuliffe?

ZAPOTOSKY: There's a lot we don't know. We know they started this investigation over a year ago, which is quite a long time. And what they're looking at is a series, not just that one contribution you mentioned, but a series of campaign contributions that Governor McAuliffe got. They're also looking at his personal finances.

My understanding of the investigation is they're looking to see if there was any kind of public corruption, that there was a quid pro quo that he got something, whether it was money on a personal account or a campaign contribution and then specifically related to that, he did something official for somebody. It's a tough thing to prove, but that's my understanding of what they're looking at.
"There's a lot we don't know," Zapotosky said. He proceeded to describe his "understanding of the investigation."

Let's just say that his understanding didn't seem extensive.

A sensible journalist would want to be careful with something as fuzzy as this. Rachel Maddow isn't that kind of person. Instead, as she routinely does, she continued hanging him high:
MADDOW (continuing directly): And that in Virginia screams Bob McDonnell, who is currently appealing his conviction to the Supreme Court.
Truly, that's pathetic. Although she knew nothing about this alleged probe, she quickly linked McAuliffe to another governor who had been convicted of a crime. This extended the insinuations Maddow had offered before Zapotosky came on.

McDonnell's conviction may yet get overturned. Even that didn't inspire Maddow to be a bit careful in her insinuations about this new alleged murky probe.

Having said that, let's be fair! As she continued, Maddow noted that Zapotosky's report for the Post said "there's skepticism among prosecutors among whether this is ultimately going to lead to charges."
You'd almost think that might have kept Maddow from indulging in her earlier insinuations!

But Maddow doesn't work that way. Sadly enough, Zapotosky doesn't either.

His comments here are barely coherent. They're also highly insinuative:
MADDOW (continuing directly): Matt, one of the reasons I wanted to talk to you tonight is that, in your report on this for the Washington Post, you said there's skepticism among prosecutors among whether this is ultimately going to lead to charges. What can you tell me about that?

ZAPOTOSKY: Well, look, Terry McAuliffe is a wealthy guy. He has a lot of financial transactions that have been reported on in the past. I think there's some skepticism among the people handling this investigation that there could be some type of quid pro quo.

You know, if you have a lot of money going into your campaign or into your personal bank accounts from a variety of sources, including foreign sources, I think that raises people's suspicions, particularly when you're in, you know, when you're in public office. But there is some skepticism, among the people who are kind of overseeing this investigation, as to whether there will be enough to substantiate criminal wrongdoing.

In the McDonnell case, they said that, in exchange for all this money from a businessman named Johnny Williams, the governor lended a lot of official help. That may be harder to prove with Terry McAuliffe.
Zapotosky's meaning was a bit hard to discern. That said, we were struck by his final construction:

McDonnell had been judged to have committed a crime, Zapotosky said. But "that may be harder to prove with Terry McAuliffe!"

It may be harder to prove? Is it possible that it will be "harder to prove" because it didn't happen? There was no sign that this possibility had entered these strivers' heads.

Zapotosky didn't seem to know a whole lot about this alleged investigation. Still, he used the insinuative language of the hanging judge.

In the final Q-and-A, the interview reached peak cluelessness. Here's how the twin ingenues left things:
MADDOW (continuing directly): One last question for you, Matt. In the terms of the way this story got to press today, obviously, it was a number of different news sources have been able to confirm it, including NBC News, including the Washington Post. Is there any story about why this has become public information?

Obviously, no charges have been filed. There's been no formal announcement from the FBI.
It strikes me as interesting that the governor himself had never been notified that he was target of an investigation.
Anything unusual about this coming to light in the way it did today?

ZAPOTOSKY: You know, I think a lot of investigations come to light before people in the Justice Department or the FBI would want them to. And I don't know that there's anything really funny about this coming to light. If anything, it surprises me that they were able to keep things quiet for over a year.

MADDOW: Matt Zapotosky, a reporter with the Washington Post. Matt, thanks for helping us understand this ongoing story.
Imagining no evil, the Post scribe said he "didn't know that there's anything really funny about this coming to light." Neither of these clueless wonders imagined that the "investigation" might perhaps have anonymously "come to light" as a way to smear McAuliffe and, by extension, the Clinton presidential campaign.

All in all, this was an unfortunate presentation. Through her typical snarky asides, Maddow slimed the state of Virginia first, then slimed McAuliffe himself.

Virginia was just like Illinois! McAuliffe was just like McDonnell!

Maddow was too clueless to imagine nefarious motives for the leak of the alleged probe, which doesn't seem to have gotten very far. In her standard role as a hanging judge, "The Nun" doesn't think that way.

Aside from Fox's Megyn Kelly, Maddow led all cable purveyors in pimping this extremely murky story this night. CNN and the rest of Fox barely mentioned this topic at all. If anything, Kelly was more fair to McAuliffe—and Maddow's worst was yet to come.

Tomorrow, we'll review the ridiculous clowning Maddow aimed at McAuliffe two nights later. Especially from a "liberal" corporate news star, Maddow's clowning on May 25 was a gong-show and a disgrace.

The First Amendment protects such clowns. On the bright side, The Nun has gotten very rich hanging the evildoers high and flashing her big orange shoes.

Tomorrow: May 25. No, we aren't making this up


  1. "Maddow has been "hanging them high" on her program for years." B.S.

    It's Ok for Maddow to act like Pat Hingle in "Hang 'Em High" when the object of the exercise is conservative, but when the noose fits snugly around the crappy neck of a liberal it is "irresponsible."

  2. cicero, Bob mercilessly went after Maddow for her attacks on Gov McDonnell, so you are very much wrong again. Additionally, there is no noose fit snugly here, as Bob says, this is all murky at best. No named sources, no evidence, no notification to McAuliffe, no charges, no formal investigation, possibly no investigation, likely a false leak by republican operatives.

    1. @5:13

      McDonnell was convicted. Did B.S. apologize to R.M?

      What leak? The Obama's DOJ press release is a Republican "leak?"

      "Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and prosecutors from the Justice Department's public integrity unit, U.S. officials briefed on the probe say.

      The investigation dates to at least last year and has focused, at least in part, on whether donations to his gubernatorial campaign violated the law, the officials said."

      "McAuliffe is the second consecutive Virginia governor to be investigated by Justice Department and the FBI. In 2014, Bob McDonnell was convicted of corruption charges related to $175,000 in loans and gifts he received from a donor and friend. The Supreme Court is weighing an appeal of the conviction."

    2. Yes leak, silly cicero, your quotes are from two unnamed sources. As Bob notes, it is best to proceed with caution in such a situation as this has proven in the past to be a ruse on the part of republican operatives. And yes the information about this is from unnamed sources leaking it.

      According to CNN:

      "Spokespeople for the Justice Department and the FBI declined to comment"

      So yes indeed a leak. A leak, cicero! If this was a real investigation, they would comment as they tend to do.

      According to the Washington Post:

      "State Del. Marcus B. Simon (D-Fairfax) said: “I really don’t think there’s any there there. I’m a little suspicious of the motive of whoever leaked this at this particular moment in time. This is probably politically motivated and designed to make life more difficult for the Clinton campaign and Governor McAuliffe.”

      Yes it is a leak.

      cicero, not a DOJ press release! Are you easily duped or just a fraud?

    3. @9:02
      The source is the Justice Department's public integrity unit*. The FBI, as we have seen in the HRC criminal investigation, has a policy of not commenting on the progress of ongoing investigations.

      Simon says it is "probably" politically motivated and you are duped into believing the standard of "probably" is sufficient for your confirmation bias.

      *"The Public Integrity Section (PIN) oversees the federal effort to combat corruption through the prosecution of elected and appointed public officials at all levels of government."

    4. Really cicero, are you easily duped? Or is it just fraud? My guess it is fraud, but you represent the easily duped.

      Wrong cicero, the source is not the public integrity unit, the sources are unnamed us officials who make the claim that the public integrity unit is involved with the alleged investigation. You are very wrong here cicero, wrong as usual. Indeed the sources for the report, the unnamed us officials who leaked the information, are most likely republican operatives.

      You are also wrong about the FBI and their review of the HRC email issue. The FBI has spoken about it, many times actually. Indeed the head of the FBI has spoken about it and pointedly refused to call it a criminal investigation. So you are doubly wrong.

      wrong wrong wrong, you are always wrong cicero, it is interesting.

    5. Director Comey denied the FBI is doing a "security review/inquiry" which is a term he never heard of, but repeatedly used by HRC. The FBI only does criminal investigations.

      DOJ Loretta Lynch told FNC Bret Baier she doesn't comment on HRC's investigation.

      If you do not believe Justice Department's public integrity unit is investigating McAuliffe take it up with CNN. They are hardly flaks for the right wing.

      That your go to source is Simon Says means you just follow along in the usual liberal robotic fashion.

    6. Comey did not deny the FBI is doing an inquiry, he coquettishly in the presence of Fox News clown Herridge pretended to not know what the word means. Inquiry actually means an official investigation. Again, cicero, Comey pointedly refused to call the FBI inquiry a criminal investigation.

      Again cicero you are wrong about Lynch. She did comment about the HRC email issue. In fact, amongst other things, Lynch said that it’s being handled “like any other review,”.

      Indeed cicero, I use your own sources to show how you are wrong. The Comey and Lynch info I sourced from Fox News reports.

    7. Since detecting the constant presence of hissing sounds emanating from above the ears, cicero is a bit squeamish about the subject of leaks.

    8. @9:59

      Your go to term for a journalist doing their job is "clown." FNC's Rosen, Herridge, Griffin, are doing what liberal heroes Berstein & Woodward did in 1972. Of course you may believe Woodward has become a "clown" for being critical of HRC's private server and Clinton Foundation. Is it your contention that HRC is above scrutiny and should be afforded the benefit of the doubt in the way he media treated candidate Obama in 2008?

      I never said Comey didn't say HRC was under investigation, but that he hasn't commented on the progress of that investigation. Also, Comey has not only told Catherine Herridge he didn't what HRC was talking about, he also said:

      "It's in our name. I'm not familiar with the term 'security inquiry,' to a roundtable of reporters as Politico reported.

      "I don't even know what that means, a 'security inquiry.' We do investigations here at the FBI," Comey told Fox News' Catherine Herridge

      Nothing coquettish about that on the record comment.

      Lynch saying it is being handled is not revelatory. Beier tried to get Lynch to provide answers to when the investigation will be completed, had HRC been interviewed by FBI, and Lynch refused to comment.

    9. cicero, no politician has been more scrutinized than HRC.

      Berstein & Woodward are not liberal heroes, or heroes. They were just doing their jobs. Nixon was actually engaged in bad behavior. In contrast, your FNC clowns are just trying to take down their opposing side to fulfill their own needs, largely greed and ego. They don't give a whit about the truth. Their tactics more resemble Nixon, not Bernstein & Woodward.

      Comey is a well educated person and clearly knows what the word inquiry means. Comey and Lynch both have commented on various investigations including the email one, no one has gone on record to comment about any investigation into Terry McAuliffe.

    10. @2:49

      "Woodstein" were just doing their jobs? They were working for WaPo editor Ben Bradley, famous friend of JFK and #1 critic of Nixon since he was Ike's VP.

      Alan Pakula made a movie about Bob & Carl with Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman portraying them. Many liberal reporters say that film inspired them to careers as journalists.

      How are Rosen, Herridge, Griffin not doing their jobs investigating HRC's bad behavior? In 1972, "Woodstein" didn't even know the Watergate break-in had anything to do directly with POTUS Nixon. They followed the money and found Nixon at the end of the trail. Rosen, Herridge, Griffin are following the evidence of the FOIA releases, Brian Pagliano's limited “use” or “derivative use” immunity agreement with the Justice Department in December, the Benghazi Committee, to the end which may or may not be the FBI recommendations to DOJ to indict HRC.

      At least you do not deny the media lionized, not scrutinized Senator Obama. But you are indignant that HRC is scrutinized and that her record obfuscation doesn't warrant scrutiny.

      What have Comey and Lynch said about their investigation into HRC's private server? If you have any specific information the rest of us missed please enlighten us.

      Has Comey and Lynch been asked by reporters about the on-going McAuliffe investigation? If not, how do you know how they will reply?

    11. Yes cicero doing their jobs, yes they worked for the Washington Post. This is good, good cicero. The less wrong you are the better. Yes Woodstein as you say were overly romanticized to ill effect. As far as we know HRC has not committed bad behavior. Even if you accept the worst view of the issues, her actions were neither nefarious nor harmful. This is in direct and stark contrast to FNC clowns who use tactics taken from the worst republican operatives in order to destroy HRC because she supports sensible economics and secular ideas about society. Obama has been overly scrutinized by right wing media, but not as much by the mainstream media. HRC gets it from all media. Read Gene Lyons book to get a better understanding. Comey and Lynch have commented on the HRC email issue, they will not discuss ongoing specifics of the case and no one would expect them to for obvious reasons. Yes the DOJ and FBI when asked about McAuliffe refused to comment. This is all in Fox News reports, read their full reports.

    12. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest refers to HRC email server as "criminal investigation."
      1:06 into video

      Good to here that the DOJ and FBI answered in the same fashion when asked about HRC and McAuliffe.

      "This is in direct and stark contrast to FNC clowns who use tactics taken from the worst republican operatives in order to destroy HRC because she supports sensible economics and secular ideas about society."

      Your confirmation bias forces you to believe HRC's weltanschauung is superior to conservatives. Great. Go vote for her. But why is it Ok for liberal media clowns to use tactics taken from the worst Democratic operatives (David Brock/Brad Woodhouse/James Carville/etc) in order to prop up HRC and destroy any conservative principles such as 2nd Amendment, capitalism, less government, less federal taxes?

    13. "White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest refers to HRC email server as "criminal investigation." cicero

      Um, no, he didn't.

    14. "the president when discussing this issue in each stage has reiterated his commitment to this principle, that any criminal investigation should be conducted independent of any sort of political interference"
      White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest response to FNC's James Rosen's question about the FBI investigation into HRC's private server

  3. Bob is incapable of fairly judging Maddow. She is female. And a Rhodes Scholar.

    1. According to the NYT, Bernie is a sexist for running against HRC. That must mean HRC was a racist for running against Senator Obama.

  4. Today "Maddow is frequently called "The Nun."

    The other day we learned Maddow sometimes calls herself The Nun. At least according to a fan/follower of Bob Somerby, who cannot bare to hear that Somerby made the nickname up himself, and so tried to out-invent his imaginative blogger pal.

    We don't know why Bob sleeps though obvious false claims in his comment box, and by silence, endorses them. (We assume Bob is asleep, many of his team, Team Liberal is, and quite often too.)

  5. More republican fraud exposed, par for the course though, comes with the territory. They love to make stuff up, mislead, misinform, con.

  6. I feel really bad that of all the bloggers across this great nation of ours, only Bob Somerby will stand up- again and again and again - for the all-too-obvious fairness of Fox Cable News and its leggy young starlet, Megyn Kelly.

    1. MK is 45. That's two years older than the MSNBC starlet, RM.

    2. cicero, you're an idiot.

  7. More Maddow Derangement Syndrome from an old, southern, conservative white guy.

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