Rachel Maddow went all in on blaming the Koch brothers for something they had nothing to do with, and she won’t issue a correction.
We have addressed Koch Derangement Syndrome before. One of the most obsessive purveyors was Think Progress.
- Koch Derangement Syndrome Jumped The Shark Rather Quickly
- Think Progress’s War Against The Koch Brothers
- Another Misleading Think Progress Attack On Koch and Walker, and Prosser Too
Now Rachel Maddow has caught the bug, and it’s eating away at her reputation as the intellectual giant, ahem, of MSNBC.
She’s come undone.
The short version is that Maddow went all in claiming the Koch brothers were behind a Florida law requiring drug testing for welfare recipients. Except that it wasn’t true, and her explanation was lacking in logic or credibility.
The logic is so convoluted it’s hard to summarize. Basically it involved participation by the Florida Foundation for Government Accountability (“FFGA”) in the State Policy Network (SPN), to which the Kochs contributed about $40,000 over several years. FFGA defended the drug testing law. Maddow blamed the Kochs. (Video here)
This was the worst form of guilt by association — that some group involved in an issue was a participant in a larger group to which the Kochs contributed.
But, there was no evidence the Koch brothers were involved FFGA’s initiative (put aside whether there would have been anything wrong, if they were).
Erik Wemple at WaPo explains:
The allegedly Koch brothers-affiliated group is the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), a Naples, Fla.-based organization that promotes “public policies that achieve limited, constitutional government and a robust economy that will be an engine for job creation across the states.” The FGA helped to defend the 2011 Florida law that required welfare applicants to submit to drug testing. On several instances, Maddow claimed tight links between FGA and the Koch brothers. For example: “That’s the Koch brothers group that has been promoting this idea, right, the same Koch brothers group that has been telling people not to get health insurance. They’re the ones that came up with the idea that it’s a great use of state funds.” …
The Kochs’ extensive reach notwithstanding, they cannot be connected to everything. Tarren Bragdon, the chief executive officer of the FGA, tells the Erik Wemple Blog that his organization “did not work with the Kochs on the Florida drug-testing issue. To the best of my knowledge, they were not involved at all.” The Kochs’ general counsel, Holden, is a bit more definitive: “Right hand to God, we were not involved.”
Wemple goes on to recite more proof that the Kochs were not involved, including a quote from someone at Mother Jones:
Daniel Schulman, a journalist with Mother Jones who’s at work on a book about the Kochs, e-mails this assessment of the alleged link between the Kochs and the welfare drug-testing law:
The Kochs have certainly supported the State Policy Network and some of its think-tank affiliates. But I haven’t seen evidence that they have directly funded the Foundation for Government Accountability or proactively pushed for the drug-testing law. Do they want to rein in entitlements? Absolutely. But in the case of Florida, I think the connection is tenuous
But here’s the zinger from John Hinderaker at Powerline. If contributing to SPN makes all contributers responsible for what every participant in SPN does, then guess who else is responsible? (emphasis in original)
So Rachel Maddow’s entire segment was one big lie. Her central premise, that the Florida welfare statute was an initiative of the Koch brothers, was false, and she knew it. She made the whole thing up to fool the low-IQ viewers who form MSNBC’s base. But the story gets even worse….
But wait! A final level of deception remains to be revealed: 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.
There’s a song about this.