Rachel Maddow Still Feeling Heat over Bogus Koch Brothers Report

Rachel Maddow has doubled down on her spurious “bombshell” report alleging that the nefarious Koch Brothers helped  fund a shockingly outrageous initiative in Florida (which the vast majority of Floridians happened to support), but no one outside of the MSNBC clown car seems to be buying it.

John Hayward wrote about the latest MSNBC embarrassment, here, a few days ago. 

As Hayward put it, “she breathlessly tried to pin the ostensibly inhuman drive to institute drug testing for welfare recipients on the Kochtopus – an evil that looms almost as large in liberal fever dreams as racism.”

Unfortunately for MSNBC, the Koch Brothers had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the initiative in question.  Maddow based her entire garbage “report” on the extremely small donations made by the Koch organization to a network that also happens to include a group that did advocate for welfare drug testing.  As Hinderaker explains, the connection Maddow laboriously spun out of this was entirely phantasmal.

See Powerline for the ultimate takedown of Maddow’s hit piece. 

Best part: “…one of the many companies that have contributed to the State Policy Network is Comcast, which owns MSNBC and is Rachel Maddow’s employer. So in her Thursday broadcast, Maddow could equally well have said that MSNBC “ha[s] been promoting forced drug tests for people on welfare,” and that FFGA is an “MSNBC-affiliated group.” She didn’t do this for obvious reasons. She knew that she was addressing a stupid audience that would never know the difference.”

Humiliating Maddow from a different angle,  John Cassidy of Watchdog.org notes, “Charles and David Koch have donated some $20 million to the American Civil Liberties Union, which just won a court victory overturning a Florida law requiring the drug testing of welfare recipients.”

On one side of this debate, you can follow the Koch’s $20 million straight to the ACLU. On the other side, you can follow some $40,000 the Kochs have given over eight years to a group called the State Policy Network, a sort of trade association for scores of free-market state policy think tanks.

One of the State Policy Network’s members is the Foundation for Government Accountability, a new Florida think tank that supports the state law.
Based on that pittance donated to the umbrella group, Maddow felt free to label the think tank a “Koch brothers group that has been promoting this idea.”

Now, via Ace, we have Erik Wemple of WaPo’s media blog on the case. He interviewed Mark V. Holden, the general counsel at Koch Industries Inc., who “has a big file relating to MSNBC,” but his attempts to get comment from MSNBC “were unsuccessful.”

A Nexis search seeking coverage of Koch involvement in the 2011 welfare-drug-testing debate in the months prior to the law’s passage comes up limp. Nan Rich served as the minority leader of the Florida state senate at the time when the drug-testing bill was under consideration. “I do not recall that there was any involvement to my knowledge. Now, that’s not to say there wasn’t,” says Rich, who saw it as a “signature” initiative of Florida Gov. Rick Scott. Rich is now mounting a campaign for the governorship. Representatives of the Florida Justice Institute and the state’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union each told the Erik Wemple Blog that they encountered no evidence of the Koch brothers among the law’s champions. “This is the first I’ve ever heard of the Koch brothers being involved. You got me,” says Randall Berg, executive director of the Florida Justice Institute, a group that, along with the ACLU, successfully challenged the law in federal court.

***

The Erik Wemple Blog has presented MSNBC with questions on this matter: What’s the standard for calling a group “Koch-affiliated”? Is it any free-market, libertarian or conservative interest group? Is it any group that has a first- or second-generation funding or affiliation relationship with some Koch entity? Or is it a more strict standard? Holden notes that David Koch has given generously to the Lincoln Center, as well as to the Smithsonian. “Are they Koch groups?” asks Holden. “Where does it end?”

“MSNBC — they like to look for ways to put us in every story. Whether it’s sloppy, whether it’s malicious, it’s hard to tell sometimes,” says Holden. This latest go-round, says Holden, provides evidence that the network is committed to convincing viewers that “we’re after people on welfare.” That allegation, he’s convinced, will eventually acquire a “race angle.” “They try to make us into these right-wing reactionaries. It’s just not true,” says Holden.

Ace says, “but she’s the smart one, right? The one who does her homework and does careful research, right?”

Not so much, Ace. (Check out the impressive dossier Newsbusters has on her.) But she’s a good little soldier for the ascendent left, who will continue to prove “speaking truth to power” is less about “truth” than it is about “power.”

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