FHWiR: The Phony 'Journalism' of Rachel Maddow

A look at Rachel Maddow’s lazy, hypocritical defense of Keith Olbermann. It’s a special edition of Fox Haters Week in Review! With must-see J$P Video!
Before we get to Ms Maddow a few words about Dana Milbank’s atrociously dishonest ‘review’ of Fox election night coverage. Bill O’Reilly has already nailed him for trying to suggest that FNC had only one Democrat on its punditry team. And then there are the laughable ‘examples’ Dana gave of biased commentary, like Sean Hannity referring to the returns as ‘historic’. An odd complaint given that his own newspaper repeatedly used the same term. Milbank objected to Karl Rove referring to a ‘blowout’...even though CBS’s Bob Schieffer did too. And poor Chris Wallace earned Milbank’s scorn by using the term ‘tidal wave’, a phrase also used by--you guessed it--the Washington Post.

But all you need to know about Milbank is his characterization of Megyn Kelly’s reportage. Megyn has addressed it, but it so perfectly sums up the deceit of Milbank’s writing that it deserves to be documented here. Ms Kelly reported that Barney Frank had won his Congressional race, going on to say:

KELLY: The incumbent has prevailed over his challenger, Sean Bielat. Barney Frank hasn’t faced a serious challenge for this seat since 1982. Sean Bielat gave him a run for his money; this guy’s an Iraq war veteran who went to Wharton and has spent his life post-grad and post-service in the military working for a company that designs ways to fight IEDs for our soldiers on the ground. He gave Barney Frank a run for his money but alas it was not to be for Sean Bielet. Barney Frank winning his 16th term in Congress.

How did Milbank report all that?

When Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass), said by Fox commentators to be endangered, cruised to an easy win, Kelly commented: "Alas."

Enough about Milbank, we have smaller fish to fry.

Maddow Blasts Fox from her Glass House at MSNBC

Rachel Maddow gave a lengthy defense of the recently suspended Keith Olbermann that spent little time justifying his violation of NBC policy (undisclosed donations to Democratic candidates). Instead Ms Maddow sought to fog the issue by launching into a diatribe about the evils of...Fox News! She kicks it off with a laundry list of sins from ‘Fox News hosts’. Unfortunately, she cites example after example that have nothing to do with Fox! Hannity interviewing his pal John Gomez: Rachel doesn’t tell you this but that was on his radio show. Hannity endorses Kasich: radio. Beck helps Bachmann raise money: again, radio.

Maddow thinks she has a gotcha when she reveals that Sean Hannity headlined a Republican fundraiser. But then there’s this:

The Broomfield Democrats invite you to the Carter Dinner. This is the largest annual fundraising event for the party and this year's keynote will be given by MSNBC's Ed Schultz!

We hear a lot about Rachel Maddow, the great ‘journalist’, the Rhodes scholar. But she doesn’t know when hosts on her own channel are raising money for the Democratic party? The reason is simple: Maddow didn’t do any research. Her idea of journalism is to lift her facts straight from Media Matters, a partisan, agenda-driven website. Since Media Matters didn’t tell her about Schultz’s fundraising, Rip ‘n’ Read Rachel didn’t know about it.

Maddow hones in on Sarah Palin for her contributions and endorsements, inexplicably referring to her as a ‘Fox News host’. In fact, Palin is a contributor at FNC, just as Harold Ford Jr is a contributor at MSNBC. You know Mr Ford. He’s the guy who gave thousands to Dick Durbin (D), Barbara Boxer (D), Jack Conway (D), Kirsten Gillibrand (D), Steny Hoyer (D), and several other (D) candidates in the 2009-2010 cycle. Rachel gave him a pass, but to be fair, how could she have known? Media Matters didn’t tell her. Not to mention Howard Dean, contributor on CNBC who also serves as an analyst on MSNBC. He’s been busy raising money all over the place.

Maddow has a convenient out regarding Dr Dean: since he works for CNBC, he’s ‘not bound’ by the same rules, even though he appears regularly on MSNBC. But wait. If Dean’s political work is irrelevant because he doesn’t come under NBC rules, then why does Maddow spend all that time rattling off Media Matters talking points about people on Fox? They don’t come under NBC rules either! FNC allows its opinionators to make contributions because that’s what they are: opinionators. Like Sarah Palin. Or Harold Ford. On Fox News, journalists host election night coverage; opinionators don’t. On MSNBC Keith Olbermann makes secret donations and violates NBC policy, while hosting what is called a ‘news hour’ and anchoring coverage, including election night, of the very people he gave money to.

By the way, Olbermann writes for, and has raised money for, a website with this stated purpose:

This is a Democratic blog, a partisan blog....It's a Democratic blog with one goal in mind: electoral victory.

Nothing political there, right?

Rachel Maddow’s holier-than-thou smugness is best encapsulated in her claim that on Fox News, hosts allow fundraising for Republican candidates on the air. Ergo Fox is political, MSNBC isn’t. Ms Maddow’s examples of this happening on FNC? A grand total of: one. John Kasich, appearing on Hannity, gave out his website URL and encouraged donations. It’s the only example Maddow gave because it’s the one Media Matters cited. That’s called ‘journalism’.

What follows is the video Rachel Maddow doesn’t want you to see. In it you will find fundraising URLs spouted by guests and even by hosts. You’ll see on-air soliciations for everything from campaign volunteers to cold, hard cash. Presiding over it all: Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Ed Schultz, and--yes--Rachel Maddow. We report, you decide:

Spot something you’d like to see in the next Fox Haters Week in Review? Send us an email!

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