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15 Feb 2012 14:38


Politics: PolitiFact chief Bill Adair responds to Rachel Maddow’s criticism

  • Our goal at PolitiFact is to use the Truth-O-Meter to show the relative accuracy of a political claim. In this case, we rated it Mostly True because we felt that while the number was short of a majority, it was still a plurality. 40 percent of Americans consider themselves conservative, 35 percent moderate and 21 percent liberal. It wasn’t quite a majority, but was close.
  • PolitiFact chief Bill Adair • Responding to some aggressive criticism from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, over PolititFact’s rating of Marco Rubio’s claim that “a majority of Americans are conservatives.” The polling used by PolitiFact to score the claim proved that, in fact, only 40% of Americans self-identify as conservative — not a majority. However, they rated his claim “mostly true,” the stated justification being “conservatives are the largest ideological group, but they don’t cross the 50 percent threshold.” PolitiFact has been the subject of some derision lately, with the spotlight turned on them after their controversial 2011 “Lie Of The Year” selection, about which Bill Adair authored a rather prickly, underwhelming defense. Earlier this week, they got some criticism over debunking a claim from an episode of “Glee.” Frankly, PolitiFact’s ratings have always brought with them a measure of subjectivity, as you might find with any media arbiter; it’s their own lofty title that makes this an issue. Majorities aren’t pluralities. For a fact-checker, that’s just a dictionary search away. source

04 May 2011 15:52


Politics: Maddow wants the media to stick to the facts on bin Laden’s death

  • There’s going to be plenty of time to score political points on this. Osama bin Laden is going to be dead forever. Osama bin Laden is never coming back.
  • Rachel Maddow • Discussing attempts in the news media to tilt the facts of the Osama bin Laden raid to suit certain political themes, in her appearance on The Daily Show last night. Maddow is spot on in this analysis, for a very good reason — it’s demonstrably obvious that news agencies since bin Laden’s death don’t have a conclusive, clear view of exactly what went down. This is borne out by the wild conflicts and discrepancies in reporting various details of the operation since word broke on Sunday. Maddow, to her credit, has done two episodes of her show post-bin Laden, and both were earnestly refreshing in acknowledging that waiting for verifiable fact is more useful than rushing to make the story sound cooler, or fit into a political narrative. source

25 Apr 2011 20:14


Politics: Rachel Maddow clarifies comments on “coming out”

  • In that interview, I wasn’t asked about Anderson Cooper, I didn’t say anything about him, he literally was never discussed during the interview at all — even implicitly.
  • Rachel Maddow • Clarifying the comments we posted about earlier to emphasize that it wasn’t about Anderson Cooper, despite what it seemed from the phrasing. (Good.) In her blog post, Maddow lays out the three ethical rules she stands by, the key one being this: “Gay people — generally speaking — have a responsibility to our own community and to future generations of gay people to come out, if and when we feel that we can.” She notes, however, if you’re using your status as a gay person to harm others, you should “reasonably expect” others in the community to out you. We’re glad for the clarification, and want to make clear that we love Anderson just the way he is, no matter what he does when he’s not covering the news. source

25 Apr 2011 16:07


Politics: Rachel Maddow talks about responsibility, coming out

  • I’m sure other people in the business have considered reasons why they’re doing what they’re doing, but I do think that if you’re gay you have a responsibility to come out.
  • Rachel Maddow • Talking about closeted people working in the TV news business, in a profile and interview with British newspaper The Guardian. The paper asked Maddow whether she felt frustration towards an “equally well-known news presenter who is widely assumed to be gay but has never come out,” which prompted the above response. (Are they referring to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, a common is-he-or-isn’t-he target of celebrity gossip sites?) While the right to not divulge one’s sexual identity is (we would argue) an absolute one, Maddow’s argument is a classic advocate’s stance — that the importance (solidarity, mainstream appeal, and inspiration) of an uber-successful media professional coming out of the closet ought to trump that person’s reluctance to admit it. What do you all think? (EDIT: Maddow clarified her comments; she didn’t mean Anderson Cooper.) source

25 Feb 2011 14:25


Politics: More on Rachel Maddow, PolitiFact and other fun stuff

  • In case you didn’t see our comment on Rachel Maddow’s war of words with PolitiFact, we’d like to point it out again for your kids. We think that there is a lot of context worthy of your time. Above is Maddow’s clip from last night, which, while accurate in pointing out that PolitiFact isn’t always right, does the same kind of cherry-picking that PolitiFact did. From the report, they only quoted a two-second part of a clip that has much more direct context at play. Tommy Christopher at Mediaite took a swing at this whole issue, too, and you know what? He noticed the same thing we did about her surplus/deficit quote. “That passage can be read both ways, but in at least the semantic sense, Politifact is wrong. Their reading of this passage is a matter of interpretation.” In other words, while the exact quote Rachel Maddow pulled proves PolitiFact’s headline is in fact “False,” the problem is that the larger context, which claims that Walker turned a surplus into a deficit (the point of the article), is closer to the truth than Maddow’s people will like. Sorry, Rachel. source

17 Jan 2011 00:34


Politics: Max Headroom: How 24-hour news cycles numb grave tragedies

  • Look, it’s been a long week. It feels like a lot has happened since the events of last Saturday, and it might feel good to have a palate-cleanser here, but instead, here’s this Lawrence O’Donnell clip. This whole Arizona debate has been about tone – the whole thing. It’s never been about looking for blame, even if that’s what some saw in it. It was a valid argument then and it still is a week later. That’s why this clip makes us uncomfortable. We somehow got from tragedy to Sarah Palin to this story angle, where it feels like everything has come full-circle – the emotion isn’t there. It’s just the acerbic commentary that doesn’t help as much as it thinks it does. There’s a good debate here – about what Palin or other commentators on both sides should or shouldn’t have done. If anything, the circumstances lent themselves to these questions. Now it’s time to let the questions stand on their own, without the shadow of the tragedy. Let’s make them two separate things.
  • Chris Christie: Not arrogant enoughYou know, in the face of all the accolades that GOP darling Chris Christie, New Jersey’s governor, is getting for his approach to politics, what’s most refreshing is the way that he brushes them off like they’re not a big deal. Christie – again – says he’s not running for president. Why doesn’t anyone believe him?
  • A welcome Zodiac respiteAs ugly as this news week got, at least we had this story about the zodiac signs to use as a breather. Even as we had our own qualms with a certain angle of this story, we can say that it was the palate cleanser we needed. Rachel Maddow’s excited for the chance to focus on something else for a moment.

26 Dec 2010 23:36


Politics: Max Headroom: Tom Coburn explains his beef with spending

  • In recent weeks, Tommy Boy Coburn has been making his hack-slash budget views very known. In the last couple weeks, his meddling has even led to the omnibus spending bill (which would’ve, among other things, paid for health care) getting pushed back. He’s been putting attention on earmarks and other major factors, so when Coburn showed up on Fox News Sunday today, it’s obvious what he was there for. He wanted to get his two cents in on wasteful spending. Here’s the key part (which we skipped ahead for), where he talks about redundancy. Is he right? Is the redundancy what’s killing us? And why did Tom Coburn grow a beard, anyway, guys?
  • A little out of breath Poor Martin Savidge. Beyond the fact that he was working at CNN on Christmas Day (the worst of the worst shifts, by the way), he appears to have leapt into his chair almost too quickly, completely unable to keep up with his lines We can’t judge. We’d blow this, too.
  • Hockey confuses Rachel Maddow It’s the holidays; even Rachel Maddow is allowed to let the seriousness fade away for a few days and take it easy. So, she has a question … what the heck is this waffle-throwing phenomenon with the Toronto Maple Leafs? And why does she need to care?

06 Nov 2010 00:23


Politics: Rachel Maddow: “We should have Keith back hosting ‘Countdown'”

  • Leave it to Rachel Maddow to put a useful period on the end of that sentence.

25 Oct 2010 00:07


Politics: Max Headroom: Juan Williams’ sloppy wet kiss from Fox News

  • Racism = Promotion? Newsbusters pulled this clip as if to vilify Andrew Sullivan for his views on Juan Williams, but it seems like they don’t have much to go on. It seems to us he’s questioning the corporate culture in general here.
  • Clip after clip Rachel Maddow made a good point about the Juan Williams thing here, noting that controversial comments about Muslims are a common theme on Fox News – and importantly, it’s not a first amendement issue.
  • After the storm On “Fox News Sunday,” there was a lot of rallying around Juan Williams, who is now a full-time anchor for the network. It seems, in fact, downright lovey-dovey. Aww, it’s a love-in with Brit Hume!

18 Aug 2010 20:40


Politics: Biggest surprise of Iraq troops leaving: Rachel Maddow’s there

  • Whoa, how did that happen? Well, a lot of reasons. NBC and MSNBC nailed an exclusive in getting time with the last combat troops to leave Iraq (kudos to embedded reporter Richard Engelfor the scoop), and to celebrate, they had Rachel Maddow secretly leave for Iraq without telling anyone. Which, beyond surreal, is kind of awesome. Good show, MSNBC. source