There’s a Latin phrase “In vino veritas,” meaning in wine there is truth. Someone should buy the folks at MSNBC a drink – or several.
The latest example of MSNBC failing at what the left once called “truthiness” came on Iowa Caucus night, Jan. 3. MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, covering the caucus with a gang of fellow lefties, incorrectly told viewers that libertarian Gary Johnson was throwing his support to Ron Paul.
“The former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, who never got much traction in his effort to run for the Republican nomination, recently dropped out of a run for the Republican nomination to seek the Libertarian Party’s nomination for president. We are hearing tonight that Gay Johnson has dropped his bid for the Libertarian nomination and instead will be endorsing Ron Paul,” she explained.
Wrong. According to Erik Wemple writing in The Washington Post, “Joe Hunter, the communications director for Gary Johnson 2012, notes, ‘Some enterprising individual concocted an e-mail, using a fake ‘Joseph Hunter’ gmail address, and issued a news release.’”
To her credit, Maddow quickly corrected the error.
Both CNN and Fox News never aired the false report.
Fellow MSNBC crank Lawrence O'Donnell did his best to minimize it, saying “that’ll happen.” He added smugly, “live television, ladies and gentlemen.”
Yes, live TV, only you don’t see liberals ranting and raving about on air inaccuracies when it’s their network. MSNBC leaches off the news operation of NBC and then piles far lefty commentators on top of it. These are not newsmen and women. These are Democratic political operatives disguised as TV hosts.
Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik was equally unkind in his assessment: “I'm sorry, but that doesn't happen to journalists. No one at CNN reported the hoax, because they actually verify information before they put it on the air.
I can't wait for the next batch of ‘Lean Forward’ ads from MSNBC with Maddow talking about journalism -- a discipline she appears to have spent not one day formally studying or practicing prior to becoming a show host and election-night anchor on MSNBC.”
Zurawik was right. That’s exactly to be expected when you fill your network with people who aren’t journalists and don’t even turn to them to cover the news.
MSNBC’s “Lean Forward” strategy is lame code for “Lean Left” and the network always seems to make its errors that direction, too.
In August, Maddow had to apologize to Rush Limbaugh for incorrectly calling him a birther, citing a year-old radio comment. But Maddow didn’t like to appear wrong, so she responded to her own error by claiming Limbaugh is a racist. (Yes, you read that correctly.) “And if you are worried about overall thesis that Rush Limbaugh is not giving up on trying to use the president’s race against him, this day and age, don’t worry about that thesis. Our error in misdating that tape does not undermine our thesis, as well proven by Mr. Limbaugh on his radio show just this week alone.”
And the otherwise affable Maddow is far from the worst problem on the network.
Host Chris Matthews could pile his crazy personal attacks against the right (He called Gingrich “Mephistopheles.”) on top of his leg-thrilling adoration of Obama and the stack would loom over 30 Rock.
In fact, the quality of the network seems to have actually gone down since the departure of Keith Olbermann and that’s hard to imagine.
But all of that’s OK when it’s the liberal network. Few journalists will target MSNBC because they are in sync with what goes on there. These same journalists claim to hail accuracy or subscribe to what the Society of Professional Journalists calls for, telling them to “test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error.”
In fact, journalists complain loud and long when such errors are done by the right kind of people. When it’s left and wrong, it’s still all right.
Dan Gainor is the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.