Willa Frej at the Huffington Post:
It was a vintage Rachel Maddow stemwinder. A deft, 25-minute weaving of carefully curated sound bites, screenshots of news reports, slick maps and graphics, all strung together to make the case that something fishy is afoot. It’s a style Maddow has perfected, and it has propelled her to the top of the ratings heap.
There was just one problem. Maddow’s theory was so flimsy that it could be debunked by a quick glance at a map, let alone a phone call with an expert.
Janet Malcolm of The New Yorker recently described Maddow’s show as “a piece of sleight of hand presented as a cable news show. It is TV entertainment at its finest. It permits liberals to enjoy themselves during what may be the most thoroughly unenjoyable time of their political lives.”
“By reducing the story to its mythic fundamentals,” Janet Malcolm wrote earlier this month, “Maddow creates the illusion of completeness that novels and short stories create. We feel that this is the story as we listen to and watch her tell it.”
It’s a tactic that right-wing hosts like Sean Hannity and Alex Jones have perfected, building myths using unrelated or unreliable information in ways that brought us the birther lie and the Benghazi controversy, putting the country on a path to fake news and the Trump presidency.
On Thursday, Maddow reduced the story so thoroughly that it lost any semblance of the larger truth.
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