3/21/09 11:50 PM

Rachel Maddow: Take Back Your Lie!

The last time Rachel Maddow, entertainer for the Air America radio network, guest-hosted MSNBC's Countdown, Keith Olbermann was forced to make a correction on the very next show. It turned out that Maddow had maligned a Republican Congressman based on an erroneous blog posting that she didn't bother to fact-check.

Tonight on Countdown, Maddow again shot from the lip, this time slandering not a Congressman but Fox News. While her phraseology is clumsy and garbled (perhaps if she slowed down a bit she could speak more coherently), she is trying to make a point that Terry McAuliffe should not praise Fox News, and cites FNC's final Democratic debate of 2004 as her evidence:

MADDOW: If you just think about the petty stuff that Fox News has done. The fact the last time they hosted a Democratic Presidential candidate campaign, they referred to all the candidates as Democrat candidates.

Where did Rachel Maddow get this idea from? She made it up! The Democratic debate hosted by Fox News, held in New Hampshire on January 22, 2004, was moderated by Brit Hume, and one of the questioners was Peter Jennings. Is Maddow trying to smear him too? Really, Rachel, that is pretty low. He is unable to defend himself. The transcript is clear: not once does Hume, or Jennings, or anyone else refer to "Democrat candidates". The same is true of the post-debate analysis. Uh oh. Has Rachel just been caught in another smear?

Well, maybe she was referring to the previous Fox debate, held October 26 2003 in Detroit. According to the transcript there was a use of "Democrat" as an adjective: by John Kerry!

Those aren't Bush Republican cuts, those are the Democrat cuts that we worked hard to put in place to protect the middle class.
But that was it. Nothing from the eeevil Fox News whatsoever. Things are starting to look really bad for mendacious Maddow but wait...maybe she was talking about the Fox debate before that one. The questioners included Juan Williams, Farai Chideya of ABC, and Ed Gordon of BET. And what do you know, there's a transcript online of this one too. Number of times "Democrat" was used as an adjective to describe any candidate? Zero. We even checked the Lexis/Nexis transcript of the post-debate analysis. Maddow flunked out there too.

So how about it, Ms Maddow? Are you going to retract your lie? Are you going to leave it to Keith Olbermann to clean up your mess again? Or are you and Keith going to let the lie stand, because deep down you believe that rules of honesty and journalism do not apply when it comes to smearing Fox News?

UPDATE: See 'Who's Petty Now'?

Well done as always, Mr. Dollar.
April 24, 2008, 10:01:43 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Fox Fan
Ms. Maddow is just another naive democrat brainwashed to hate Fox News based on repeated lies by far-left moderate news haters.
April 24, 2008, 10:38:23 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Fact checkers at news organization are so passe and outdated.
Get with it J$.
Good job.
April 24, 2008, 10:55:40 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Dr. Graham Laszlo
So exactly what is wrong in referring to the "Democrat" party as exactly that?
It's only proper English...
April 24, 2008, 10:56:57 PM EDT – Like – Reply

The Factor
Is that Rahel Maddow or a young Dick Butkus? She will make a wonderful replacement for Keith. She better not stand next to Keith at the urinal though. Keith might get imbarresed.
April 24, 2008, 11:00:23 PM EDT – Like – Reply

i'm gonna go out on a limb and say there won't be a correction.
April 24, 2008, 11:02:47 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Another Olby lackey. Olby tries to do an Edward R. Morrow impression and she trys to do an impression of Olby.
What a pandering hack. Just what network news needs more of.
April 24, 2008, 11:15:28 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Missouri Show Me
The fun part would be to refer to "MSNBC's Countdown hosted by Rachel Maddow" in these complaints, just to make Bathtub Boy squirm.
April 24, 2008, 11:27:59 PM EDT – Like – Reply

"Fact checkers at news organization are so passe and outdated.
Get with it J$.
Good job.
SteveMG | 04.24.08 - 11:00 pm | #"
Spoken like a true "Useful idiot"... Stalin would've loved you!
But, HEY! If you'd rather be lied to, by all means, do enjoy!
April 24, 2008, 11:30:39 PM EDT – Like – Reply

"Spoken like a true "Useful idiot"... Stalin would've loved you"
Oy. Did you see my "Good job" line at the end? That was praising J$ for his work.
That was also to indicate that my comment was sarcastic.
April 24, 2008, 11:39:20 PM EDT – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
Just to be clear, she wasn't hosting tonight. She was just doing her usual, seemingly nightly guest appearance as an expert on (tonight) media analysis. There is NOTHING she isn't an expert on!
April 24, 2008, 11:51:34 PM EDT – Like – Reply

"Spoken like a true "Useful idiot"... Stalin would've loved you"
Oy. Did you see my "Good job" line at the end? That was praising J$ for his work.
That was also to indicate that my comment was sarcastic.
SteveMG | 04.24.08 - 11:44 pm | #  
In that case, my apologies. (You might want to note the sarcasm a bit better in the future. lol!)
Again, I apologise and here-by retract my previous statement.
April 25, 2008, 12:00:00 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Democrat it is! I've been educated well on this subject, most afternoons from 12 - 3 p.m. ET.
April 25, 2008, 12:14:45 AM EDT – Like – Reply

This is weird. You have a story about someone named Rachel, but you have a picture of some smarmy looking guy.
What's the deal?
April 25, 2008, 1:01:39 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Wait, maybe I missed something, but I'm still confused as to why it would be upsetting that someone called a Democrat a Democrat. Maybe I'm just half asleep and such concepts make total sense??
April 25, 2008, 1:19:50 AM EDT – Like – Reply

I don't get the weird faux-outrage over the use of Democrat--real or imagined. I mean... who cares?
April 25, 2008, 1:54:08 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Josh, it's because it's the dems, and they're petty.
Also, they hate it when their party is referred to as "democrat" and not "democratic". But that's the exact adjective to use to describe the current state of their party, which will certainly be deemed undemocratic by whomever (between Hillary and Obama) does not get the nomination.
April 25, 2008, 1:56:16 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Jamie in Las Vegas
Yikes. I could concede that Rachel--speaking extemporaneously--got her facts a little garbled. But to claim that FOX "News" doesn't use the phrase "Democrat candidate" or "Democrat Party" would be absolutely wrong.  
"Democrat" is a noun, and "Democratic" is the adjective. The name of the party is the Democratic Party. Republicans long ago focus tested the words, and began using "Demcrat" in all cases, because "Democratic" sounds too nice.
Most of the FOX hosts use "Democrat" all the time, as does Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and almost all the rest of the right-wing talkers. Do people like John Kerry occasionally use the adjective incorrectly too? Of course.
It's a question of intent. And in the case of the conservatives mentioned above, the intent is almost certainly for the reasons mentioned above.
Why not be honest, and just admit it?
April 25, 2008, 2:22:14 AM EDT – Like – Reply

GEAH good point.... I do believe it is Mr. Maddow
April 25, 2008, 7:00:51 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Vince P
Here's a YouTube of a Democrat going on and on and on about how it's an evil conspiracy when people say Democrat instead of Democratic... It's the funniest thing I have ever saw
April 25, 2008, 7:08:24 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Rachel needs to buff up those shoulders. Pretty wimpy for a guy.
April 25, 2008, 7:54:40 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Jamie in Las Vegas, can I have some evidence that Republicans "focus tested" the word "Democrat" versus "Democratic"?
Also, let me know why "Democratic" would test BETTER than "Democrat." I can't imagine one being significantly better testing than the other.
April 25, 2008, 8:08:31 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Vince P
This is a comment I wrote in that video, it's useful here:
I live in Chicago.. and EVERYONE calls them Democrats. I grew up in the heart of the poltical neighborhood.. i can assure you if using "Democrat" is offensive, those using it or those hearing it don't know the difference.
April 25, 2008, 8:24:28 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Oran Woody
I'd never heard of her before this article, but based on her picture, she lies about being a guy, too. Or would that be "lies about being a girl?" It's just hard to tell.
April 25, 2008, 8:32:57 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Since when is calling a democRat a democRat a hate crime? The DemocRat Party is anything but democratic. Just look at their primary fiasco. Super delegates? Some people in the democRAT party are just more equal than others, I guess. Can you spell socialism?
April 25, 2008, 8:51:25 AM EDT – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
> Most of the FOX hosts use "Democrat" all the time
Oh yeah sure they do. Other than Sean Hannity, the one who is explicitly a commentator hired to present the Republican/conservative point of view, what other Fox hosts use "Democrat" as an adjective "all the time"? There are tons of transcripts on the fox news site so you can start with Fox & Friendfs and go all the way to Greta. It should be easy for you to show how MOST of them say "Democrat", right? We'll be waiting for your report.
April 25, 2008, 9:34:15 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Jamie in Las Vegas
This is just stupid. It's like saying FOX is REALLY "fair and balanced." Are you actually saying you haven't noticed that conservatives on FOX and elsewhere use "Democrat" as an adjective. Really?
Listen, the name--the actual name--is the Democratic Party. Using it without the "ic" is incorrect. Arguing that point is pointless.
April 25, 2008, 9:54:08 AM EDT – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
Oh wait, first it was all the "hosts" on Fox. Now it's "conservatives on Fox and elsewhere". Moving the goal posts a bit?
I'd like you to point out transcripts that show Shep Smith, Brit Hume, Bill Hemmer, Jane Skinner, Greta, or even O'Reilly using "Democrat" as an adjective "all the time"? Or even frequently.
I'm sure you won't deliver this time either. Because it's hard to prove "facts" that you just made up on the spot. Are you sure your name isn't Maddow?
April 25, 2008, 10:00:51 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Pat Hickey
Well, between us boys, Rachel suffers ,as do all us guys , from that top-heavy testosterone level that make us climb trees, gun-down bad guys, burn ants with magnifying glasses and chase girls with snakes.
It's a guy thing!
April 25, 2008, 10:06:40 AM EDT – Like – Reply

A complete lie, of course.
But, even if it were true, would Democrats prefer they use the real name of their party?  
"The Socialist Party"
Yea, that's much better!
April 25, 2008, 10:13:10 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Johnny, news/politicsl analyst Maddow and Murrowesque Olbermann don't make up facts, they diligently pass along the vast creativity of certain others (blue blogs)... :D
April 25, 2008, 10:18:06 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Jamie in Las Vegas
Johnny, arguing on your boards is incredibly frustrating. I don't know why I bother. "All the time" is a figure of speech, and you know that. Nobody actually does much of anything "all the time."
I must remember when I come to sites like this to type explicitly, and without exaggeration, irony, sarcasm or any figure of speech. I must write in precise, unshaded, black-or-white terms only.
For the record, I don't believe that someone posting on a message board must bring sources, links and quotes for every statement. I did, however, find this link from The New Yorker, regarding the "Democrat vs. Democratic" issue:  
As for combing transcripts for various FOX anchors/commentators/guests for the use of the phrase, nah. Waste of my time. You'd only claim, "well they don't ALL ALWAYS do it. And you'd be right about that.  
But, I've personally heard many of them do it, much of the time. John Gibson used it, as have Brit Hume and William Kristol. Krauthamer too. Tony Snow and Chris Wallace, also guilty. I know you believe that Sean Hannity is the only partisan on FOX, and that delusion is best saved for another discussion. You watch FOX quite a bit for this site, I'm sure. Just prick up your ears a bit for uses of the word "Democrat" if you don't believe me.
Outside of FOX, virtually every right-wing talker I've ever heard--national or local--uses "Democrat" incorrectly as an adjective.
The reason, is of course that "democratic" is right up there with "freedom" and "liberty," and sounds too good to assign to a party that the right wants to paint as evil. So they drop the "ic." Simple really.
I've re-read this post twice, but I'm sure I've written something to nitpick, so start your engines. . .
April 25, 2008, 1:25:50 PM EDT – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
> Johnny, arguing on your boards is incredibly frustrating
You mean, because I ask people who make accusations to back them up? Yeah, that definitely can crimp people's style.
> I did, however, find this link from The New Yorker
Very interesting. Where exactly does it talk about Fox News?
> John Gibson used it, as have Brit Hume and William Kristol. Krauthamer too. Tony Snow and Chris Wallace
Gibson is not a host on Fox News. When he was, he was there as a commentator. It's possible he may have used it, but then again he was an opinionizer, not an anchor. Kristol and Krauthamer are NOT hosts on Fox and never have been: they are opinion commenters, like Bob Beckel, Juan Williams, etc. Tony Snow hasn't worked for Fox for years.
There are hundreds of videos of Brit Hume and Chris Wallace, no make that THOUSANDS, posted on the web. So you'd think you could point to a couple of them and say--see, there it is! Never mind the "all the time" part. Just point me to some videos of Wallace and Hume saying it. If it happens so much it should be a snap to find the examples. So link to a couple from each. Then we can move on to Shep Smith, Greta, Jane Skinner, Jon Scott, Alan Colmes, Bill Hemmer, etc, to establish that "most" Fox hosts use this term. Thank you so much.
PS: Let me congratulate you on an Excellent diversion. Oh yeah, Maddow made up facts out of thin air and lied about Fox, but hey, someone must have said it sometime! Never mind Maddow's lying smear. Well done.
April 25, 2008, 1:34:47 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Missouri Show Me
Thanks for the correction about Maddow not guest hosting this time. I now understand that she erred while guest-hosting earlier and inferred she also guest-hosted this time for this lie.
April 25, 2008, 1:36:44 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Maybe Maddow was using Jamie's method of reporting. When she said that FOX "referred to all the candidates as Democrat candidates" she didn't actually mean ALL the candidates... she was just using a common phrase.
Maybe we're all being too sensitive.
I mean, where do we get off thinking that someone on a news program, or someone on a blog who makes a claim, should be able to back it up with actual facts and evidence? Isn't it enough that they SAID it... does it also have to be true?
April 25, 2008, 1:43:45 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Missouri Show Me
To Jamie in Las Vegas:
The reference you cite is the one MMFA trots out all of the time.
One jarring claim in it:
"Other dictionaries, and reference works generally, appear to be unanimous on these points. (omission of Democrat as an adjective in their listings)
This point of view is shut down by the major dictionary publisher, Merriam Webster, in their reference book "The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage":
"(Democrat as an adjective): It is, however, unlikely to require notice in dictionaries because it is simply an attributive use of the noun."
And, yes, they have a section on what an attributive noun is.
April 25, 2008, 1:51:13 PM EDT – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
Interesting point, Missouri. I have no doubt that some of those on the right use "democrat" as an adjective to needle Democrats. But that doesn't mean Anyone who uses it does so with that purpose. And it certainly doesn't prove that the term runs rampant on Fox News, as has so often been alleged (without evidence, natch).
April 25, 2008, 1:57:52 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Jamie in Las Vegas
Dictionaries are QUITE beside the point, and it is also not the point of the article. This is what I mean about frustration posting here!
The point of the article, and the reason I "trotted" it out, is that it shows that the phrase was FOCUS TESTED, by Frank Luntz (of all people). You wanted a source for my claim of focus testing.  
The dictionary definitions, while interesting, are beside the point. The name of the organization is The Democratic Party. Period.
As for "MMFA," if that's Media Matters, I did not consult them when looking for a source. I just Googled.
As for your constant cry for "evidence," maybe I'll take you up on it. I find the excercise ridiculous, as the phrase is used to the point of ubiquity, but hey, it's the weekend. If I have time.
April 25, 2008, 2:05:18 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Jamie in Las Vegas
One more thing (well maybe more than one, I may be back). Calling what Rachel said a "lie" is pretty extreme. She wasn't "reporting" she was commentating, a distinction you keep hammering me on, even though I'm not sure I ever said "anchor" at all.
I'm not here to defend Rachel, though I like her very much. But she was in one of those Crossfire-like overlapping conversations here, wasn't she? She may have gotten her facts mixed around, but calling it lying is pretty harsh. If you believe she was, you could find evidence of almost any of these commentators in exactly the same type of "gotcha."
Nobody could come out of that type of scrutiny unscathed. Not even you, I'd wager.
April 25, 2008, 2:15:11 PM EDT – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
Well Olbermann has repeatedly called people liars: Tony Snow, Bush, Cheney, Limbaugh, Beck, I could go on for several more lines. And it's often for something they said during a spontaneous free-flowing conversation. So I am applying Olbermann's standards here. If he can toss around the L-word at the drop of a hat, then his show has to be held to the same standard.
Oh by the way, here's a quote. Tell me which tv news host said it:
Typically, this far into the primaries, the remaining Democrat candidate goes after the Republican.
OK, the floor is open for guesses. The only hint I will give is that it is someone who hosts a program on one of the cable news channels.
April 25, 2008, 2:35:42 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Awesome catch J$. Your site is a breath of fresh air sometimes.
And didn't Rachel Maddow also say something outrageous about Fox News existing to destroy the Democratic party?? If Mr. Bill is reading, I think this calls for a Pinhead nomination.
April 25, 2008, 3:22:49 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Jamie in Las Vegas
I'm guessing your quote above comes from Keith Olbermann. What do I win?
The truth is, these Frank Luntzian "Words that Work" actually do work. "Death Tax," for instance has lost its quotatioin marks, and is used by the left and right alike. The difference, in the case of "Democrat Party" is as I said before, in the intent.
On my short drive home from work, I heard Rush Limbaugh misuse the word at least three times, once saying "Democrat National Convention." Rush knows what he's saying, and he knows why he's saying it. And he's joined by, in my estimation, most other right wing talkers.
My mistake in my original post was to state that this usage is common on FOX "News." I still believe that. But it is not the crux of my argument, and served as nothing but a red meat diversion from my main point. My fault for being snarky about the main topic of this blog.
I read this post because it was about Rachel Maddow, a person of whom I am fond. I've tried to ignore the lesbian jokes (classy!), and just focus on the Democrat/Democratic element of the post. I commented only because it seemed--at the beginning of the thread--that no one was hitting the hows and whys that subject.
And as always, when I make a comment here (or on boards like this), I come back and feel like I'm being hit with Nerf bats. It doesn't hurt, but it's disorienting and annoying! It seems I always say something that gets pounced upon that was outside my main point. Again, my fault for being too wordy (and look, I'm doing it again!).
It is clear that no sources or links would end the argument in my favor. I could spend two hours researching and bringing you links to instances where FOX hosts have used "Democrat" incorrectly. I know they're there, I've heard them say it. But I'm sure you'd come back with, "well, they don't ALWAYS say it ALL THE TIME, and you don't know their intent."
Fine. On that point, I really don't care if you believe me. Just listen for yourselves. You can go on believing that FOX "News" doesn't need those quote marks I like to use, and I'll go on believing they're ridiculous. Really no harm done either way.
April 25, 2008, 3:22:51 PM EDT – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
Well this is a blog about cable news, with something of a focus on Fox News. I really don't care what Limbaugh says or how he fractures the language.
By the way, you win the prize, if we had one. It was Keith Olbermann. If nothing else, you have given me an idea for a delightful new post. Thank you so much.
April 25, 2008, 3:34:55 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Thanks, Johnny.
Compelling argument (such as 'This is just stupid. It's like saying FOX is REALLY "fair and balanced."') aside... we can all breath easier knowing that after an accusation that FNC "does it all the time", at least ONE instance of a cable host substituting Democrat for Democratic was found... :D
April 25, 2008, 4:02:01 PM EDT – Like – Reply

Funniest line of the week had to be Keith introducing Maddow as host of Air America Radio, which ( in Keith's words) is patriotic.
Air America Radio listeners. MSNBC viewers. put em' together, yeah it might be a little tight but. I think you could fit them all in that phone booth!
April 27, 2008, 1:53:11 PM EDT – Like – Reply

I wonder if there's a link to actual VIDEO of the debate, because a TRANSCRIPT might have been doctored to make FOX news look less petty.
May 4, 2008, 12:28:15 PM EDT – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
Yeah, sure. All the transcripts were doctored. And somehow "they" managed to doctor Every Newspaper Report on the debates, because I can't seem to find any of them mentioning any of this in their reporting on it the next day. Yeah, that's the ticket.
Oddly, Maddow has nothing to support what she said: neither video NOR a transcript. And yet some people seem desperate to believe her rather than what the evidence shows. Whatever.
May 4, 2008, 12:49:36 PM EDT – Like – Reply