• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Lies, Damned Lies, & Rachel Maddow

On Monday night, Rachel Maddow apparently made the following rather shocking claim:

MADDOW: Yes, this has happened to a smaller degree before. In 1994, in the first mid-term election after the last Democratic president was elected, we got a slate of candidates that included Helen Chenoweth of Idaho and Steve Stockman of Texas. These two were so close to the militia movement in this country that Mr. Stockman actually received advance notice that the Oklahoma City bombing was going to happen.

As Mr. Coleman amply demonstrates, this pabulum has debunked on the public record for 15 years:

Telephone toll records indicate that the fax was sent about 10:50 a.m. EDT, about 50 minutes after the bombing, a federal official said.

It’s pretty reckless to make such a claim on national television when a few minutes with Google would prove it false.

It gets worse. Maddow seems to have known the claim was false when she said it Monday:

March 25, 2010

Maddow: Back in 1995 on the morning of the Oklahoma City bombing, just after the explosion a member of Congress named Steve Stockman (R-TX) was sent a fax touting the bombing. He was sent that fax by somebody in the militia movement. Mr. Stockman later turned that fax over to the FBI. He was never implicated in any way in the bombing itself. But there is a reason that the militia movement trusted a member of Congress enough to go to him with that. [Emphasis added.]

It’s pretty hard for a public figure to win a defamation case since, under New York Times v. Sullivan, he must prove actual malice. However, having watched both videos to confirm that these two transcriptions are correct, Ms. Maddow may want to familiarize herself with the phrase “reckless disregard for the truth.”*

UPDATE (10/20/2010): Ms. Maddow retracted her and took personal responsibility for her calumny on tonight’s show:

I’ll leave it as an exercise for the readerviewer to ascertain the sincerity of her apology — and her thanks to all “the conservative bloggers” for pointing out her error and being so anxious to talk about “the Steve Stockman’s of the world.”

FTR, Ms. Maddow, your protestations aside, it doesn’t make this “conservative blogger” “angry” that you corrected yourself. As stated below before it aired: I am only too happy to note your correction. And I don’t give a flying fig about Stockman. He is entirely incidental to this topic.

UPDATE (10/22/2010): Armin Rosen at reason awards Ms. Maddow Most Sanctimonious Non-Apology of the Week:

[S]he then made light of her colossally offensive “misstatement” by arguing that her main contention still stands: The important thing, she claimed, isn’t that she said something mindbogglingly slanderous, it’s that she was justified in doing so.

The real vomit-all-over-your-keyboard moment comes at roughly the 2-minute mark, where Maddow sarcastically frames her apology as a chance to congratulate herself on bringing the specter of militant right-wing politics to the public’s attention. “For all the conservative bloggers out there who are extremely angry at me for making that mistake” she said, “thank you. Thank you for signaling such enthusiasm for discussing guys like Steve Stockman, and for getting all the details right. If the country talked a lot more about the Steve Stockmans of the world and anti-government extremism and what the experience of having anti-government extremists in Congress was like for this country the last time we tried it, I think that would be good for us in this country, particularly before this round of elections.”

So mistakenly accusing someone of being an accessory to the worst act of domestic terrorism in this country’s history isn’t really that bad, since it acted as a catalyst for what Maddow sees as a much-needed discussion? That’s not exactly a convincing argument, and not only because it’s the real-world actualization of liberal blogger Matthew Yglesias’s defense of lying in the name of some greater political good.


*Note: Maddow also repeats the lie that Congressmen got racial epithets hurled at them and were spat on at the Tea Party in the March video. But perhaps she hadn’t heard yet that those assertions were baseless.

Related Posts:

About Dodd
Dodd, who used to run a blog named ipse dixit, is an attorney, a veteran of the United States Navy, and a fairly good poker player. He can kill a mime using only his thumb. He joined the staff at OTB in May 2007. Follow Dodd on Twitter.

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    Really? Your outrage is based on the single word, “advance?”

    Let’s do a little thought experiment, Dodd.

    1) Osama Bin Laden sends a fax expressing his pleasure at the 9/11 Twin Towers bombing to Dodd 50 minutes after the attack.

    2) Rachel Maddow reports that Dodd was sent advance warning of the attack.

    3) In fact, Osama did not contact Dodd until three quarters of an hour after the attack.

    Victim = Dodd? Poor Dodd? Let’s feel bad for Dodd?

    If you’re correct on the facts, Maddow will admit it on-air tomorrow and apologize. Maddow has made a habit of correcting mistakes. Something your Hannitys, O’Reillys and Becks could not do without turning every show into an hour-long correction.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4

  2. Dodd says:

    If, she did all of that, including the retraction, on a one-off basis, it’d be no big deal. OTOH, if she’d previously indicated she knew the truth and then, two weeks before an election, decided to lie, that would be different.

    I’m sure I don’t know why you can’t see the distinction.

    As I said, I watched the videos, Mr. Reynolds, to be absolutely sure I had my facts right, lest I say something that the available evidence proved to be in error. In any event, she’s already had a day. No retraction I’m aware of.

    As as side note, it’s amusing to me that the standard response to such things is an unsupported pro forma ad hominem about Hannity, O’Reilly, and/or Beck. I don’t watch any of them, but you just assume (despite explicit evidence I didn’t just take NewsBuster’s word for it without double checking), that such a reply will actually have some salience.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  3. ponce says:

    ” But perhaps she hadn’t heard yet that those assertions were baseless.”

    Except, of course, for the video of the incedent up on YouTube.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  4. Davebo says:

    Is it just me or has Dodd gotten more pathetic by the day?

    ” it’s amusing to me that the standard response to such things is an unsupported pro forma ad hominem about Hannity, O’Reilly, and/or Beck. I don’t watch any of them, but you just assume (despite explicit evidence I didn’t just take NewsBuster’s word for it without double checking), that such a reply will actually have some salience.”:

    No, it’s not just me….

    Great blog you’ve got going here James. Care to defend this one?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  5. sam says:

    No, no, Dodd’s right. That was egregious, esp given her March statement. I don’t know if malice was afoot, I think not and I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt. As for “It’s been 24 hours and no retraction,” well, it was Monday. The error was pointed out yesterday. Tonight’s show (Wednesday) will be the telling moment. If she doesn’t retract, she damaged herself, imo.
    For a better chronology of the fax, it’s receipt, and the sequel, see http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur37.htm.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  6. sam says:

    BTW, this is a pretty sneaky way of presenting things:

    “OTOH, if she’d previously indicated she knew the truth and then, two weeks before an election, decided to lie, that would be different.”

    Surely it would be different, but I have to say, presenting it this way in advance of tonight’s show is rhetorically kinda suspect, loading the dice, wouldn’t you say? If she retracts, will you retract your headline and its implicit accusation that she lied?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  7. James Joyner says:

    @Michael and @Davebo

    Saying that a Member of Congress had advanced knowledge of the biggest domestically based terrorist attack in American history is a pretty serious charge indeed. Given that it happened 16 years ago, it seems especially egregious to make that charge without scrupulous fact checking.

    That she’d previously read something written by her staff getting it right doesn’t necessarily count as proof in my mind that she “knew” she was wrong this time. I can attest from personal experience that it’s easy to forget something one has written; fire and forget is frequently the nature of daily news coverage and analysis.

    Beyond that, I don’t know much about Maddow or Stockman and their reputations. I gather Maddow is more of a firebrand than, say, Stewart or Colbert but much less so than her network cohort Olbermann. But this is at very least reckless.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  8. Maggie Mama says:

    Maddow’s theory is flawed. Criminals often contact members of the press with this kind of information so let’s now look at her quote.

    “But there is a reason that the militia movement trusted a member of Congress(insert the Press) enough to go to him with that. ”

    Zodiac killer sent letters to three Bay area newspapers ….. what does THAT say about the press, Rachel?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  9. Andyman says:

    Perhaps she meant that he received notice “in advance” of how he would have gotten the news otherwise, i.e. by watching CNN. That’s a far more likely explanation, but because it’s also more benign, less satisfactory to Dodd types.

    I’m not a physicist but I’ve read that in some areas the present is defined by the speed at which information travels; if you outrun information you’ve traveled into the future. So in a sense she’s right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  10. ratufa says:

    “Note: Maddow also repeats the lie that Congressmen got racial epithets hurled at them and were spat on at the Tea Party in the March video. But perhaps she hadn’t heard yet that those assertions were baseless.”

    I don’t know what “baseless” means in this case, except something like “my side says it didn’t happen and there’s no video”.

    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9F21KAG1&show_article=1

    And, please don’t take this as a “Tea Party folks are all racists” argument — I don’t believe that’s true.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  11. floyd says:

    Because of her politics, Maddow will not be brought to task or suffer any real consequenses.
    She is lying for a cause in which the ends always justifies the means.
    She was, afterall, hired for her intolerant views and her intolerable attitude.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  12. Herb says:

    Hmmm….so Maddow was in error about the timing of the fax, but did Stockman get a fax from “the militia movement?” Apparently so…

    So good job, Dodd. You proved Maddow was wrong when she claimed Stockman got advance notice of the Oklahoma City bombing.

    But what about the “so close to the militia movement” point? I guess when we’re swiping at ankles, we don’t have to worry about that, eh?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  13. Dodd says:

    I have to say, presenting it this way in advance of tonight’s show is rhetorically kinda suspect, loading the dice, wouldn’t you say? If she retracts, will you retract your headline and its implicit accusation that she lied?

    Obviously I don’t agree that it’s “loading the dice.”

    I will certainly acknowledge any retraction, but, given that it’s necessitated by such reckless indifference….

    So good job, Dodd. You proved Maddow was wrong when she claimed Stockman got advance notice of the Oklahoma City bombing. But what about the “so close to the militia movement” point? I guess when we’re swiping at ankles, we don’t have to worry about that, eh?

    Yes, clearly the completely unaddressed ‘militia ties’ argument (which is relevant to this post only because it’s the context in which Maddow defamed Stockman) has now been conclusively proven – and far outweighs the ‘accusing someone of willingly letting 168 people die’ issue. Well played.

    That she’d previously read something written by her staff getting it right doesn’t necessarily count as proof in my mind that she “knew” she was wrong this time. I can attest from personal experience that it’s easy to forget something one has written; fire and forget is frequently the nature of daily news coverage and analysis…. But this is at very least reckless.

    I would suggest, James, that a national TV talking head has a somewhat higher responsibility for accuracy than a blogger. Regardless, under Sullivan, recklessness with respect to the truth constitutes malice (and, of course, “knew” also encompasses “should have known” but I didn’t want to get overly legalistic in my post), which is my point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  14. Herb says:

    “Yes, clearly the completely unaddressed ‘militia ties’ argument (which is relevant to this post only because it’s the context in which Maddow defamed Stockman) has now been conclusively proven ”

    No, no, Dodd. I’m not saying anything has been “conclusively proven,” although you seem to think it is. (Okay, so maybe you’re holding out for the verdict in the defamation lawsuit.)

    What I’m saying is this. Maddow says Stockman has militia ties. “Oh yeah,” we say. “Prove it.”

    Maddow says, “He’s getting faxes from militia members before the Oklahoma City bombing.”

    If we were to say, “No, he got the fax after the bombing,” we’d be right. But if we were to say, “Aha! This proves Stockman had no ties to he militia!” we’d be idiots.

    Maddow’s case is, on its face, weak. Yours, though, is even weaker. Defamation? Yeah, sue Rachel Maddow because she got the timing of a fax (that was indeed sent, by the way) wrong? Such a low standard for defamation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  15. george says:

    On the face of it, the difference between informed before and after seems pretty critical. If someone informs me that they’re going to into a school and start shooting students 50 minutes before they do it, and I fail to inform the police then I’ve probably committed a grave offence. If they inform 50 minutes afterwards I’m probably in the clear unless I have a working time machine.

    And the implication of what Maddow says make the pre-informed vital. Just informing people afterwards means nothing; bombers have been informing police and newsgroups after the fact for decades – it means nothing other than they like to see their names in the papers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  16. [...] the Beltway writes about something Rachel Maddow said on Monday… On Monday night, Rachel Maddow apparently made the [...]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  17. michael reynolds says:

    George:

    No one is arguing that Maddow should not get her facts straight, or should not correct errors.

    But to pretend that the timing disproves a connection is untenable. The militias did not contact Stockman as a member of the media, or to make small talk. They contacted him because they believed he was a friend.

    If we were talking about Osama instead of Tim McVeigh, Dodd would be calling for Stockman’s immediate transport to Guantanamo.

    There is within the far right a degree of sympathy with militias and with mass murders like McVeigh that is obviously not there when we’re talking about Islamic terrorists. This post would never have been written if very detail was exactly the same but we put a turban on McVeigh.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  18. melanerpes says:

    Andyman said: I’m not a physicist but I’ve read that in some areas the present is defined by the speed at which information travels; if you outrun information you’ve traveled into the future. So in a sense she’s right.

    That is a stretch. By several light years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  19. george says:

    “George:

    No one is arguing that Maddow should not get her facts straight, or should not correct errors.

    But to pretend that the timing disproves a connection is untenable. The militias did not contact Stockman as a member of the media, or to make small talk. They contacted him because they believed he was a friend.

    If we were talking about Osama instead of Tim McVeigh, Dodd would be calling for Stockman’s immediate transport to Guantanamo.

    There is within the far right a degree of sympathy with militias and with mass murders like McVeigh that is obviously not there when we’re talking about Islamic terrorists. This post would never have been written if very detail was exactly the same but we put a turban on McVeigh.”

    You’re right it doesn’t disprove anything, but proving a negative is in fact impossible. You’re completely correct that if the tables were reversed the republicans would be doing the same thing – in fact they do it regularly, claiming Obama puts Muslim sympathies ahead of America. And on the same basis – some Muslims like Obama and feel he is sympathetic, so obviously he must be in league with them. And since some communists took part in anti-war marches in the 70’s and 80’s (before the collapse of the USSR), obviously eveyone who took part preferred the USSR to the US. This is the kidn of guilt by association that the right has been especially quick to use …

    But its still wrong. You cannot disprove a negative. Its true in science, in math, and in everything else. You prove positives. Because someone from group A thinks person B is sympathetic says a lot about that person from group A, but not much about person B …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  20. michael reynolds says:

    George:

    Obviously I disapprove of guilt by association. But it’s not guilt by association when, to take your example, an individual war protester expresses sympathies with the goals and aims of the Communist Party. That doesn’t extend to every protester, but it would tend to indict the specific individual as a Communist sympathizer.

    I think that’s closer to the case with Stockman. Guilt by association would be extending that beyond him to, say, the rest of his party or to all conservatives. Stockman was a militia supporter, and was in turn supported by militia groups. So he’s not the typical war protester of your example, he’s the war protester waving a hammer and sickle at the rally.

    Dodd is trying to gin up sympathy for Stockman by saying that Maddow was wrong on a detail that, while important for accuracy, is not critical to her indictment of Stockman as sympathetic to militias.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  21. [...] Outside the Beltway, BLACKFIVE, Weasel Zippers, JammieWearingFool, iOwnTheWorld.com, Megan McArdle SHARETHIS.addEntry({ [...]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. Dodd says:

    If we were talking about Osama instead of Tim McVeigh, Dodd would be calling for Stockman’s immediate transport to Guantanamo.

    Still more of your usual schtick of responding to the caricatures in your head instead of what’s actually before you. As with the silly Beck/Hannity/O’Reilly remark, you just assume a whole bunch of nonsense about me that has no basis in fact. If you wish to be taken seriously, you should just read the black parts of my posts and not the white parts.

    Dodd is trying to gin up sympathy for Stockman by saying that Maddow was wrong on a detail that, while important for accuracy, is not critical to her indictment of Stockman as sympathetic to militias.

    Um, no I’m not. I don’t give a damn about Stockman or whether or not people sympathize with him. I’d forgotten he existed before this happened.

    I care about a talking head defaming someone with outrageous calumny she knows to be false for political advantage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. The issue I see here is the association of contemporary Tea Partiers with militias and therefore with violence.

    To be sure, today’s Tea Partiers and the militia types of 15 years ago would agree on the proposition that the Federal government has become too powerful. There, the relevant comparison ends. The militias were always about guys with guns getting ready to stand up to an oppressive Federal government — the raid on Waco was their rallying cry and gun-totin’ Randy Weaver was their hero and martyr. They had some focused leadership in elected officials at the county level in a handful of Western states, and at least those people steeped themselves in the rhetoric of Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and George Mason to ascertain when they might claim legitimacy in resisting the Federal government, whether in a legal or governmental way and when that failed, when they might have legitimately resorted to arms using the logic of the Declaration of Independence. The Oklahoma City bombing made nearly all of these types put down their Kool-Aid and sober up; nearly all the financial, political, and intellectual steam went out of the movement because they found that the cost of genuine resistance to the government — the taking of innocent human lives — was not very much to their taste. Sadly, it took something of the magnitude of Oklahoma City for that to happen.

    By contrast, the Tea Party is an amalgamation of people who complain about paying high taxes, budget hawks, nerdy libertarians, even more nerdy Constitutional autodidacts, and in some areas, social/religious conservatives, who have in common with one another not much more than a largely-inchoate dissatisfaction with the Federal government. They are poorly-led, unorganized, politically clumsy, and likely have hobbled their own chances for long-term political success by embracing an ethic of anti-intellectualism, and it seems that their advocacy of theoretically reducing the size of the government weakens considerably when presented with actual policy proposals to accomplish that goal — but I see few signs that, apart from a few nutjobs, they are organized around a principle of violence or a political theory that would tolerate, advocate, celebrate, or condone violence. They aren’t really organized around much of anything other than, as I noted above, inchoate dissatisfaction with the government.

    Where I would criticize Maddow is in her suggestion by association that the present-day Tea Party is that a criticism of the role of the Federal government, by itself, is a legitimate political position one might take, and not something that ought to be associated with the fear of violence. It’s one thing to say, “No, we really need a strong Federal government,” and that’s a legitimate position to take too. But by saying the Tea Party of 2010 is a recycled militia movement, Maddow is fearmongering, and that’s a problem whether she gets a detail of her story right or not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  24. Herb says:

    Dodd in his original post:

    “It’s pretty hard for a public figure to win a defamation case since, under New York Times v. Sullivan, he must prove actual malice.”

    Dodd in his latest comment on the subject:

    “I care about a talking head defaming someone with outrageous calumny she knows to be false for political advantage.”

    Having already admitted that Maddow’s error doesn’t rise to the level of defamation, Dodd will now use that word repeatedly to describe what happened. You know why? Because he’s a man of integrity and fairness….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  25. sam says:

    “I care about a talking head defaming someone with outrageous calumny she knows to be false for political advantage.”

    You’re begging the question again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  26. Dodd says:

    Having already admitted that Maddow’s error doesn’t rise to the level of defamation, Dodd will now use that word repeatedly to describe what happened. You know why? Because he’s a man of integrity and fairness….

    On the contrary, I strongly suggested that it might very well rise to that level, despite the high standard. Twice:

    It’s pretty hard for a public figure to win a defamation case since, under New York Times v. Sullivan, he must prove actual malice. However, having watched both videos to confirm that these two transcriptions are correct, Ms. Maddow may want to familiarize herself with the phrase “reckless disregard for the truth.”

    Regardless, under Sullivan, recklessness with respect to the truth constitutes malice (and, of course, “knew” also encompasses “should have known” but I didn’t want to get overly legalistic in my post), which is my point.

    I think what comes after your ellipsis is “… addresses the actual argument before him, not the one he wishes were there.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  27. Herb says:

    “On the contrary, I strongly suggested that it might very well rise to that level, despite the high standard.”

    Okay, so I gave you way too much credit. See, I thought you were trying to be clever, but turns out you just have really bad judgment. Apologies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  28. [...] there you go. Oh, one more point: Outside the Beltway dug around a bit and found that this isn’t the first time she’s referred to Stockman [...]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  29. floyd says:

    “By contrast, the Tea Party is ….. that goal ”

    Transplanted lawyer;
    That was well written, but is sounds like you could have been “transplanted” from British aristocracy circa 1770’s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. André Kenji says:

    Dodd is right. I´m neither a Republican nor a Conservative and I confess that I liked Rachel Maddow show in the beginning: you could disagree with everything, but it was smart, wonky and fun. There were even Republicans being interviewed(!), always graciously. Now, it´s this kind of partisan attack after this kind of partisan attack, and cheap shots about Koch Brothers and militias and whatever.

    It´s tiring. It´s boring.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  31. steve8714 says:

    Herb; the “militia movement” has no Pope, they have a spectrum as wide as “civil rights organizations”. Therefore saying Stockman has ties to the militia movement is tarring of both.
    Obama has ties to community organizations, like the New Black Panther Party and Symbionese Liberation Army. Disprove it if you can.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  32. Herb says:

    “Obama has ties to community organizations, like the New Black Panther Party and Symbionese Liberation Army.”

    Uh oh….don’t let Dodd see this bit of defamation. He really cares about defamation. He doesn’t care about scoring political points against his opponents. Oh no, he’s got principles…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  33. Dodd says:

    Uh oh….don’t let Dodd see this bit of defamation. He really cares about defamation. He doesn’t care about scoring political points against his opponents. Oh no, he’s got principles…

    Are you completely immune to irony or is this thread some sort of avant garde performance art you’re putting on?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  34. michael reynolds says:

    Rachel Maddow corrected the record on her show:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2010/10/21/rachel_maddow_corrects_record_on_stockmanokc_bombing.html

    Which is what I said she’d do. And which puts her way ahead of Dodd’s favorite media personalities who, should they ever begin correcting misstatements and outright lies, would still be at the job 5 years hence.

    Dodd swings and misses. Again. Always.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  35. Dodd says:

    Rachel Maddow corrected the record on her show:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2010/10/21/rachel_maddow_corrects_record_on_stockmanokc_bombing.html

    Um, yeah. I posted the video in the update above an hour ago.

    Which is what I said she’d do. And which puts her way ahead of Dodd’s favorite media personalities who, should they ever begin correcting misstatements and outright lies, would still be at the job 5 years hence.

    You don’t read so good, do you? Do you even bother to read what other people say at all or do you just carry on conversations with the voices in your head and assume that they speak for people you don’t agree with?

    Dodd swings and misses. Again. Always.

    Ok, now know you all are just engaging in some sort of weird meta-ironic performance art.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  36. michael reynolds says:

    I want to thank you for this, Dodd:

    And I don’t give a flying fig about Stockman. He is entirely incidental to this topic.

    That is of course utter bullshit.

    Have you ever once called out a conservative for an on-air mistake? This is not about the truth or about principle. It’s about you using a thin excuse to attack an honest show host while you carefully avoid criticizing the members of your own tribe.

    You’ve performed what you apparently think is your job: to act as mindless echo chamber for the right wing blogosphere. Chalk up another brownie point.

    Out of curiosity, do you ever intend to write anything original or interesting?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  37. michael reynolds says:

    As for your update, Dodd, it was not visible on my browser when I posted the link.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  38. Dodd says:

    Well, I’m glad to see that you do in fact read what people say in response to you. Alas, you don’t seem to actually apprehend those replies since you’re still talking at one of the caricatures of your opponents you call thinking instead of the real person on the other side of the conversation.

    FTR, I’ve been blogging off and on for a decade. I’ve called out plenty of people of every political persuasion for errors when I’ve become aware of them. But, as I already said, I don’t actually watch any of the bogeymen you assume are my “favorite media personalities,” so your assumption that , as a knuckle-dragging, troglodytic conservative, I just uncritically lap up what they say is entirely inapposite. Those kinds of shows bore me.

    As for my posts being uninteresting, I invite you to ignore them if I bore you. It would save me a lot of time playing whack-a-mole with your prejudices.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. Herb says:

    “Are you completely immune to irony or is this thread some sort of avant garde performance art you’re putting on?”

    Neither. I’m just amused that you went for the “defamation” nonsense right out of the gate and wouldn’t back down. If it occurred to you that Maddow made a mistake, it certainly didn’t stop you from titling this post “Lies, Damned Lies, and Rachel Maddow,” calling her “reckless,” insinuating that she may be guilty of defamation, etc.

    Good of you to post an update (and good of Maddow to correct the record). Do you still think she’s a liar, out to deceive the public? You think we should start filing the paperwork on that defamation suit? Or can you admit that you just assumed the worst, maybe because she’s on TV, maybe because of the network she’s on, maybe because of her political affiliation?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. Thank you, Floyd. I take that as a great compliment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. Dodd says:

    If it occurred to you that Maddow made a mistake, it certainly didn’t stop you from titling this post “Lies, Damned Lies, and Rachel Maddow,” calling her “reckless,” insinuating that she may be guilty of defamation, etc.

    I insinuated nothing. She was guilty of reckless disregard for the truth — she made a false allegation that has not only been proven false on the public record for 15 years but which we know she knew to be false.

    That makes the comment defamatory, even under the high bar set by New York Times v. Sullivan. The retraction is mitigation, but it doesn’t change the harm she did Monday night. Not to mention that to make even one such “editing error” seriously undermines her credibility on any other factual claim she might make. I’m glad she set the record straight (albeit, rather classlessly), but it doesn’t change the fact that in her fervour to push her ‘dangerous, extremist speech’ meme (which, from watching the relevant videos, one would think occurs only amongst right-wingers in defiance of all reason), she defamed the man.

    Would he win a lawsuit if he filed one? As a lawyer, I know the answer is “it depends.” But given such gross indifference to the truth, she has forsworn the benefit of the doubt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. Darren says:

    More of the same. Maddow throws out that Stockman got the fax 50 minutes prior to the bombing seems to be an appeal that he got the advance notice, yet did nothing to alert the authorities. Oops, but she was wrong – it was after the bombing. Her bad. Sorry that disinformation got out on the airwaves. It wasn’t even really an apology from Rach – more of an admonishment to all those unforgiving right-wing bloggers. Solid. Her appeal for discussion was less than inspiring.

    Very astute by some of the commenters to conclude that Stockman’s receipt of the fax is ironclad proof he is sympathetic to the cause. But, my favorite line is that “They contacted him because they believed he was a friend.” Throw-away line of the year. But, you’d never agree that Obama’s years of association with Ayers and the Rev meant that he was sympathetic to domestic terrorism and black-liberation theology. And there’s a hell of a lot more proof to implicate Obama on those charges.

    Here let me finish the discussion for all the left-wing apologists: Hannitybeckbushhitlercheneyhalliburtonlimbaughrove.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. Herb says:

    “It depends” my eye. If anything, Rachel Maddow is guilty of GIGO punditry, which is quite common not only in the citizenry but also among the professional pundit class. It may be irresponsible, it may be annoying, but it’s constitutionally protected speech.

    If we’re going to sue Maddow for defamation for getting the timing of the fax wrong, we might as well get the paperwork rolling for all kinds of more egregious offenses. A birther on TV? Sue em! Rick Sanchez says Jews control the media. Sue him! Jesse Ventura says 9-11 was an inside job. Sue him! Sarah Palin says Obama is palling around with terrorists and setting up death panels. Sue her! Dodd says Rachel Maddow is a reckless liar. Sue him!

    Clearly, that’s ridiculous.

    I wonder, though, how much of your view on this is colored (or should I say coloured) by your upbringing. This kind of thing may be legally actionable in Canada or where ever you’re from, but here in the States? Not so much.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  44. Herb says:

    PS. During this entire discussion, I’ve had the feeling that Maddow’s true offense wasn’t getting the timing of the fax wrong, but that she used the fax to support the idea that there were ties between the militia movement and Stockman (in particular) and the militia movement and the Republican party (in general).

    Darren’s comment seems to confirm this. And that’s fine.

    If you disagree with her thesis on that, cool. She made a very weak case. (I often get e-mails that call Barack Obama a Muslim. Does that make me a birther? Hardly.) But there’s a difference between “making a weak case with bad information” and “being a liar.” Just ask George W. Bush.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. Slartibartfast says:

    Great commentariat you have here, Dodd. They seem to know what you’re thinking, even when you don’t share.

    They contacted him because they believed he was a friend.

    I’m sure this is absolutely the only reason. I’d bet my life on it.

    Meanwhile, here‘s Stockman’s official statement, along with the text of the fax, below:

    04/19/1995 08:59 16169660742 WOLVERINE PAGE 1

    First update
    Bldg 7 to 10 floors only military people on scene –
    BATF/FBI
    Bomb threat received Last week
    perpetrator unknown at this time

    Oklahoma

    Sure, that explains everything. It’s specific as all get-out. It’s just the kind of thing I’d communicate to a friend.

    I found this in less than five minutes. I know this is a revolutionary idea, this going out and seeing what really happened, and what conclusions one can reasonably draw from those events. As opposed, I mean, to the conclusions manufactured from little more than nothing at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  46. Slartibartfast says:

    the idea that there were ties between the militia movement and Stockman (in particular) and the militia movement and the Republican party (in general)

    Oh, that’s just brilliant. It’s utterly shocking that the militias would find Republicans, who are on the average much stronger supporters of second amendment rights than are Democrats, to be better friends than Democrats. The implication that this relationship has some bidirectionality, on the other hand, is kind of thin.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  47. cathyf says:

    Just a small note — calumny and slander are both the assertion of bad things about others, with the difference being that calumny is true, while slander is false. Slander is always a sin, while of course there are circumstances where telling the truth about someone is not calumny. But if you have no good reason for repeating something nasty about someone, then it’s calumny and it’s wrong.

    But anyway, Maddow committed slander and libel this time. The calumny was in March.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  48. Herb says:

    “The implication that this relationship has some bidirectionality, on the other hand, is kind of thin.”

    No shit. Maddow made a bad argument based on erroneous information, we can all agree. But is that defamation? I say no. Dodd says maybe. I’m not putting words in his mouth. I’m not reading his mind. I’m accurately describing his position, am I not?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  49. Slartibartfast says:

    But is that defamation? I say no.

    Not being a lawyer, I can’t say one way or the other. But it was a deliberate smear, in my view.

    I’m accurately describing his position, am I not?

    That’s up to him to say, not me. But I didn’t say otherwise.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  50. Dodd says:

    During this entire discussion, I’ve had the feeling that Maddow’s true offense wasn’t getting the timing of the fax wrong, but that she used the fax to support the idea that there were ties between the militia movement and Stockman (in particular) and the militia movement and the Republican party (in general).

    Your “feeling” is based entirely on your own presuppositions, since my words here affirmatively and unequivocally make it plain that’s not the case. So Slartibartfast has you dead to rights there.

    As for “it depends,” that’s a lawyer -in-joke, i.e., that that is a correct answer to 99 44/100% of legal questions. In this case, your hypotheticals notwithstanding, it’s also correct in the non-joke sense. The prima facia case is there. I’ve told you why. You don’t like that answer, so you just call it ridiculous. /shrug

    Maddow made a bad argument based on erroneous information, we can all agree.

    No we can’t. “Erroneous information” connotes having some valid, good faith basis for believing the allegation. She made a allegation she knew or should have known was false. I keep pounding on the phrase “reckless disregard for the truth” because that’s the standard set by New York Times v. Sullivan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  51. Herb says:

    “I keep pounding on the phrase “reckless disregard for the truth” because that’s the standard set by New York Times v. Sullivan.”

    Yes, I know. But that’s not how the legal system works. You don’t decide someone is guilty of something (say, defamation) and then squirm with squinted eyes and tilted head until you meet that standard. You look at the offense and figure out which statute fits best.

    Sadly, Maddow’s “crime” is much too common among pundits to single her out and it’s not even a crime!

    Tell ya what, Dodd. When Rachel Maddow is sued civilly for defamation, or charged criminally, then I’ll concede that you’re right. Untill then, I’ll conclude that you’re just being petty or partisan or both.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  52. Dodd says:

    But that’s not how the legal system works. You don’t decide someone is guilty of something (say, defamation) and then squirm with squinted eyes and tilted head until you meet that standard. You look at the offense and figure out which statute fits best.

    You’re the one deciding in advance what the result should be then distorting your vision to make the facts fit it. I set forth the facts and the standard. Together they form a prima facie case for defamation. The fact that you don’t like it, or that it’s a common fault amongst pundits, are irrelevant.

    Note, BTW, that I haven’t accused her of a crime. I’ve accused her of a tort.

    Anyway, she retracted the charge, so it’s pretty much water under the bridge now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  53. Herb says:

    “Anyway, she retracted the charge, so it’s pretty much water under the bridge now.”

    Yep, so much for that prima facie case, huh?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  54. Slartibartfast says:

    The moral of this story is: Herb can find a way to make himself right, in the midst of being utterly and completely wrong.

    It’s one step above dancing the victory dance over getting all of one’s punctuation right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0