Ed Driscoll

A Conspiracy So Vast...

“In Rachel Maddow’s Koch-Addled World, MSNBC Is Funding the Tea Party Too.” Andrew Johnson writes at the Corner, noting that “MSNBC walked in lockstep with the Koch brothers in support of a recent Florida policy to drug-test welfare recipients, according to Rachel Maddow’s train of logic:”

Last week, Maddow offered a convoluted, and inaccurate, rant that accused the Koch brothers of pushing the Florida drug-testing law through a group called the Florida Foundation for Government Accountability (FFGA). The Kochs have contributed a relatively small amount of money ($40,000) over the years to the State Policy Network, a trade association of think tanks that counts FFGA as a member. But FFGA doesn’t receive from the State Policy Network, and the Koch brothers say they weren’t even aware of the group. Maddow claimed that the connection nonetheless could pin the law on the fraternal philanthropists’ influence.

When Koch representatives requested a correction, the defiant Maddow claimed she always owns up to errors, but wouldn’t admit this one: “The Koch brothers’ lawyers are not denying that they fund these networks or that the Florida Foundation for Government Accountability is one of the groups that has been funded through these networks,” she said on a later show — when the latter was in fact one of her mistakes, aside from the generally misleading nature of the broadcast.

As Johnson concludes, “Be sure to read the entirety of Hinderaker’s takedown of Maddow, and her failed takedown of the Kochs, here.”

And then check out Eliana Johnson elsewhere at the Corner, as NBC pushes back from her terrific profile yesterday of their beleaguered cable network yesterday, and Maddow’s role in both generating and sculpting the chaos:

I also write about why, though MSNBC parted ways with (read: fired) Bashir and Alec Baldwin after they caused offense, Melissa Harris-Perry is unlikely to suffer the same fate. I said she’s part of Maddow’s in-crowd, a Tulane professor and one of the liberal wonks now ascendant at MSNBC. ​Maddow said in a statement to National Review Online, “This is categorically false. I have never had any role in any management decision at MSNBC. Any source who says otherwise is wrong.” That’s word for word what Maddow told Page Six in December when it reported that she was behind Baldwin’s firing, and Keith Olbermann’s before that. MSNBC told me on Monday that “Rachel has absolutely no role in network management decisions. Writing her show every night is more than enough work. She gladly leaves talent management to her bosses.” That’s the same thing the network told Page Six, too.

Of course Maddow is not issuing pink slips from her office, but, as I note in my piece, Griffin has publicly called Maddow “our quarterback” — the team leader who, as The New Yorker reported in September, “sets the tone for the network.”

As Johnson notes, after being besieged by NBC boilerplate, “MSNBC’s Lauren Skowronski writes to say that, at MSNBC, ‘There have been no changes in our editorial process.’ I stand by my reporting.”

I imagine there was all sorts of frantic pushback and crazed press releases during the equally chaotic Fred Silverman era as well.

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Related: At Newsbusters, “Historic Low Ratings for NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ Could Spell End of Gregory as Host.”

Last week, Hugh Hewitt suggested replacing David Gregory with Luke Russert, which would certainly be a classic network move; in recent years, television has tried dusting off remakes of Kojak, Hawaii 5-0, and Ironside with varying degrees of success to hold on to its aging, retro-obsessed audience; why not add the scions of departed TV anchors to the recombinant mix as well?