Rachel Maddow can dish it out, but she can’t take it.
About a week ago, she said that Tip O’Neill probably coined “All Politics Is Local” back in the 1930s. We’ve long known that Tip O’Neill himself denied coinage. There was no correction and no response to my scholarship. Hey, it’s only national tv.
After the Rand Paul interview, Rachel Maddow wondered why no other Republicans would appear on her show. On Thursday, she was so happy to be able to sabotage a Republican on live national tv–Oregon Congressional candidate Art Robinson.
A normal interviewer would prep both the candidate and the audience.
PREP THE CANDIDATE: Are there any points you want to discuss in this interview? I’m going to ask these types on questions, some involving research you’ve done decades ago, that no one on the campaign trail is talking about. Is that OK with you? Are you prepared to discuss that? This “prepping” is fair to the candidate so he or she is not surprised by a “gotcha” question out of the blue. David Letterman and Jay Leno prep their guests. Rodney Dangefield would prep Johnny Carson about his jokes. Johnny would ask, “How’s the wife?” And then Dangerfield would go, “Oh, my wife! I get no respect!…” Prepping a candidate need not mean giving them the actual questions, just something simple, like we’re going to be discussing Obamacare, or we’re going to talk about what you did in college 30 years ago.
PREP THE AUDIENCE: Does anyone know Art Robinson? No. So why not introduce him to the audience? Robinson is a research scientist who worked with Linus Pauling. Start off with a softball question: “Tell us about yourself. You’re a research scientist…” THEN, you get to the controversial stuff. You don’t start off with: ‘Art Robinson, no one knows who you are, but you Republicans are committing murder. Do you have any defense?” Also, be fair. When the candidate himself tells you that the Democrat is the race has the same amount of money, and his money is just as dirty and contains more strings (big labor), don’t brush that off because you just want to attack your one point. Give your audience both points. If you have a Republican on your show to simply play defense to attack questions, the audience isn’t getting a fair interview.
THE INTERVIEW: Yes, it was that bad. Maddow started off with: “You’re getting money from unnamed sources, damn you! Defend yourself!” Robinson said that he didn’t know where the money was coming from, but he was thankful for it, because DeFazio had raised a ton of money from the unions. Maddow wasn’t interested in that. “But the money could be coming from the mafia!” Maddow interrupted Robinson several times. Maddow then briefly asked about global warming, then quickly (and wisely) realized that she didn’t want to open that can of worms. She jumped to something Art Robinson had written 15 years ago about HIV.AIDS. Robinson said that he wasn’t prepared to discuss that. “But you wrote it!” Maddow screamed. The words appeared on the screen. If the Maddow show has enough time to give the tech staff notice about this, why not tell the candidate that this was going to be brought up? It was incredibly unfair. Maddow then asked about low level radiation. Is the Maddow show really the place for a scientific discussion? Robinson said that he’d taught several students, but he couldn’t teach Maddow, because she kept interrupting. Maddow then said that Robinson didn’t know there was a slight delay in satellite interviews. If you look at the interview, Maddow’s interruptions weren’t because of any delay or any “unsophisticated interviewee” error on Robinson’s part. A gracious host would say, ‘I’m sorry for interrupting,” and let the candidate continue.
MADDOW’S SECOND DAY ATTACK ON FRIDAY: It was bad enough, and the next day, Maddow could have apologized for the interruptions, or just made a comment or two and moved on. Not Rachel Maddow. She devoted her entire opening segment to belittling Art Robinson when he wasn’t there to defend himself.
Maddow Debriefs On Art Robinson Showdown With Unscientific Kookiness Graph
Frances Martel | 12:14 pm, October 9th, 2010
What news organization runs a Kookiness Graph? Would the beloved Walter Cronkite or Edward R. Murrow have a Kookiness Graph? Are we in junior high school here?
Art Robinson home schools his boys with reading that includes the novels of G. A. Henty. Henty wrote about 100 novels (mostly for children) in the 19th century. Henty held Victorian views; they were like Hardy Boys novels for good old England.
Maddow could have left it at that, but she didn’t. She had to destroy G. A. Henty, and by doing so, destroy Art Robinson and all Republicans as racists who absolutely believe everything in every Victorian-era novel they read. She chose a perceived racist passage out of those 100 books and read it to her nationawide audience. See? All Republicans are racists!
I could do the same with Mark Twain. I could do the same with Charles Darwin. See, liberals read Mark Twain and Charles Darwin and these 19th century books! All modern Democrats are racists!
The second day attack was so petty and childish, that I wrote a post on Maddow’s blog. Although I broke no rule that I can see (other than disagreeing with Rachel Maddow), my post was removed in its entirety:
Newsvine – Your Comment Has Been Removed
Dear Barry Popik,
A comment of yours has been removed by the author of the post or seed it was
written on. Authors are expected to be the moderators of the content contained
in their own columns and are charged with keeping comment threads on-topic and
free from offensive or otherwise inappropriate comments.
Greetings from a registered Republican (although I don’t always agree on many
issues and candidates) from Austin, Texas way. Come visit us for the Austin City
Do you want any Republicans to come on your show? The Art Robinson interview
was bad enough. Did you have to trash him again today–when he wasn’t present to
How low class can you get?
For example, Art Robinson believes in home schooling and gives his boys the
novels of G. A. Henty to read. Young boys have been reading Henty’s books for
over 100 years. Yes, they were written in the 19th century.
So what do you do? You hunt for the perceived racist passages in G. A.
Henty, read them on the air, and smear Art Robinson (and all Republicans,
naturally) as racists. Henty wrote over 100 books, mostly for children.
Congratulations–you found what you wanted! That poor staffer can stop reading
Listen, Maddow, I can read passages from Mark Twain on the air and you’d
swear that Twain was a racist. I can read passages from Darwin and you’d swear
that Darwin was a racist. What would that show? Would that show that everyone
who reads Mark Twain or Darwin is a racist? It would show that I’m reading
highly selected passages to smear someone from the 19th century–and smear
someone in the 21st century.
Art Robinson worked with Linus Pauling, winner of two Nobel prizes. Why don’t
you mention that? Why don’t you ask him about that–ever? Instead, you come to
an interview with preconceived “attack” pieces only. Why not start off with a
few questions like this–what Art Robinson is known for? Define Art Robinson
first, and then get to his politics?
You ended the show laughing off the charges about Acorn. Acorn’s many frauds
have been proven. If can’t find them (maybe you weren’t looking, as you were
with G. A. Henty’s novels), I’ll be happy to show you many links about Acorn
The second-day smears of Art Robinson were petty. I can’t see how any
Republican would ever want to appear on your show.
Location of the discussion your comment was removed from:
I have no idea why my comment was removed. I used no offensive language. I said what I believe to be true. I commented on Maddow’s Friday show on Maddow’s blog. If she wants only positive comments on her show on the Maddow Blog, I suppose that’s what she’s going to get. I won’t “offend” Maddow Blog again.
And she wants Republicans on her show?
The show ended with a comment about ACORN. Rachel Maddow believes all the charges against ACORN are false. I guess her staff looks for stuff in certain areas, and is blind as a bat in others.
Rachel Maddow can dish it out, but she can’t take it.
I don’t know Art Robinson, I don’t live in Oregon, and I don’t necessarily agree with everything he’s said in his life, but no one deserves two days of unfairness and savage attacks on national television. Maddow gave a poor interview on day one, and then was simply childish and petty in attacks on day two.
No Republican should go on her show, ever.