Jan 20, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 18 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Things have been a bit of a mess at MSNBC lately. The network’s fortunes are tied to the fate of liberalism, and with Obama’s undeniable incompetence the preeminent political topic for the last few months, this has sent the network off on an increasingly desperate search for right-wing villainy to discuss. The results have not been pretty.
Host Martin Bashir resigned after a disturbingly detailed rant about how Sarah Palin should be defecated on. On January 4, host Melissa Harris-Perry issued a tearful apology for a segment in which she and her panelists made fun of the fact that one of Mitt Romney’s sons had adopted a black child. In a ludicrously chivalric attempt to quell the controversy, Atlantic senior editor Ta-Nehisi Coates then leapt to Perry’s defense, dubbing her “America’s most foremost public intellectual” (sic). Well-deserved mockery of Coates’s over-the-top encomium ensued, which he chalked up to “the machinery of racism.”
National Review Online’s Eliana Johnson made a game attempt to figure out which MSNBC patient is running the asylum. According to Johnson, the network’s prime-time anchor Rachel Maddow is running roughshod over the network executives in a bid to push MSNBC’s programming—and ultimately the opinions of the show’s younger generation of viewers—to the left, ratings be damned. The Oxford-educated Maddow has long appeared to be more substantive than the network’s other personalities, though when compared with the likes of Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz, the competition is not stiff. But now there are signs that even Maddow has descended into the fever swamps.
On January 2, a producer for Maddow’s show fired off an email to the general counsel for Koch Industries‚ the left’s particular bête noire, asking about their financial support for the Florida Foundation for Government Accountability (FFGA), a group that had helped pass a law requiring mandatory drug tests for welfare recipients in the state. The email was sent at 7:14 p.m., well after business hours and less than two hours before Maddow went on air to run a report accusing the Koch brothers of being in part responsible for the law.
The accusation was flimsy, to say the least. The Kochs had never directly given money to the FFGA; they had given $40,000 over the course of eight years to the State Policy Network, of which the Florida Foundation for Government Accountability was one of many dues-paying members. The accusation was even more preposterous because the Koch brothers are staunch libertarians. The idea that they would push mandatory drug testing by the state is risible to anyone who knows the first thing about their politics.
But we’re just scratching the surface of Maddow’s shoddy reporting. The blog Power Line reports that another well-known donor to the State Policy Network happens to be Comcast, which owns MSNBC and signs Maddow’s paychecks. “Maddow could equally well have said that MSNBC ‘ha[s] been promoting forced drug tests for people on welfare,’ and that FFGA is an ‘MSNBC-affiliated group,’ ” observes Power Line blogger John Hinderaker. Watchdog.org further notes that the Florida drug testing law was overturned by a lawsuit from the ACLU—an organization to which the Kochs have directly given some $20 million.
Asked about correcting her report after questions started emerging, Maddow responded with the sneer that’s become her trademark. “I do not play requests,” she said. At this point, expecting a modicum of integrity from anyone at MSNBC is probably expecting too much.
3:30 PM, Oct 18, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Last week, Senator Jon Tester, D-Mont., forcefully condemned business that have dealings with Iran. Not surprisingly, Tester used the issue to zero in on Koch Industries. Since the Koch brothers are patrons of many conservative and libertarian causes (at least when the DSCC isn't begging Koch for money themselves), Democrats have tried to make hay out of the company's alleged shady dealings in Iran.
4:24 PM, Aug 25, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
Warren Buffett wrote an op-ed last week making his case for higher taxes on the rich, like himself, who he said shouldn't pay at lower marginal rates than their underlings—and indeed Buffett paid a relatively paltry $6.9 million in taxes last year.
11:00 AM, Jun 2, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
The left has been slamming the Koch brothers’ donations to education after the Charles G. Koch Foundation’s made an agreement with Florida State University to sponsor an academic position in the university’s economics department. The real controversy is not related to the academy at all, of course: It’s the extension of a well coordinated, long-time political attack against the Kochs.
12:01 PM, May 12, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
Have you heard the news? First the nefarious Koch brothers were trying to end education for kids in Wisconsin (well, until they weren’t actually). And, now, if you can believe it, the news is that the Koch brothers are trying to promote education! Some nerve…
5:00 PM, Jan 31, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
In Palm Springs, California, this past weekend, one set of rich folks was the target of another set of rich folks. It is, uniquely, an American story. Here’s how it played out: The Koch brothers, Charles and David, held a closed-door meeting with their political allies at a local hotel. Outside, Common Cause, with plenty of support from the Center for American Progress and several others, held a protest, saying that the Koch meeting shouldn’t have been private and that the billionaire brothers were up to no good.
5:45 PM, Jan 27, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
Guess who’s holding a super secret, ill-intentioned meeting this weekend in Palm Springs, California? The nefarious Koch brothers – nefarious because they donate to conservative causes, of course.
Already, leftist groups are beginning to fulminate (against what, it’s not quite clear), insisting that there’s something inherently corrupt in the free assembly of the Koch brothers and their cohorts.