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Artificial Sweetener: If You Can't Get the Money Quote, Manufacture One

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Posted on September 23 2009 1:00 pm

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In some alternate dimension, there is a Rachel Maddow who makes reasoned arguments. She never stretches the truth or invents stories out of thin air. She never unfairly smears her opponents and is not afraid to bring them on her show for a friendly chat. Somewhere, Rachel Maddow is smiling a smile  filled with something other than saccharine falsehood and smug pomposity. Somewhere, Rachel Maddow is not lying.

But we are not that somewhere. We are stuck with the here and now, with the Rachel Maddow who is nothing like that. Take her latest on the man who supposedly said “porn makes you gay.”

She goes to great lengths to reassure her audience that “Yes, he said it.  No, he was not misquoted or taken out of context.”

Well, actually, all of that is a lie.

The man in question is Michael Schwartz, who works as Chief of Staff to Senator Tom Coburn. At the Values Voters Convention—ever the popular target for Maddow’s sneering condescension—he related a quote:

Schwartz told the crowd about Jim Johnson, a friend of his who turned an old hotel into a hospice for gay men dying of AIDS. “One of the things he said to me,” said Schwartz, “that I think is an astonishingly insightful remark… he said ‘All pornography is homosexual pornography, because all pornography turns your sexual drive inwards.”

maddoweyebrowMaddow certainly seemed certain he said porn makes you gay. She used that phrase no less than seven times in her show. But that turns out not to be true. Maddow ignores that the Schwartz’s quote came from a friend, not himself. And not just any friend, but one who has worked and cared for gay AIDS patients in their suffering.  What you also may notice is the complete lack of the words “porn makes you gay.” Nowhere in there. Not once.

Note that the quote is actually concerned with the nature of pornography, not about “turning you gay.” And while the quote might be contentious, in the words of Obi-wan Kenobi, what he says may be true, from a certain point of view. After all, most porn is made by men, for men. And the part about pornography turning your sexual drive inward is certainly true—it teaches people to rely on themselves for pleasure. It is focused solely on the self—and you are your own gender. It teaches people to objectify the other person in their sexual encounters—that the only real person is you and that sex is all about your own pleasure. All of these are serious arguments about the consumption of pornography, and doesn’t even begin to touch on the issues that affect those who produce and act in it. Certainly, there’s room for disagreements about his quote and his arguments. But there is no room for Maddow’s lies about it.

In fact, if you read further into the lecture, Schwartz was speaking on ways to discourage young men from looking at pornography. Now, “porn is homosexual” may not be the most politically correct thing to say, and as we said there’s room to debate whether it’s even accurate, but it turns out that Schwartz wants to use this line much like “masturbation makes you go blind” or “it’ll make you grow hair on your palms.” Neither of which are true, but both of which have been used by mothers from time immemorial to try and discourage certain behaviors in their children. So yes, Rachel, you did both of the things you claimed you didn’t—misquoted Schwartz, and took him out of context.

Of course, these lies are all in the service of Maddow’s greater goal—smearing Republicans. Her target this time is Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell. Turns out Bob McDonnell cited Schwartz twice in his master’s thesis twenty years ago. What those citations were, Maddow doesn’t bother to say. Guilt by association is guilty enough for her—even if that guilt is built on a lie.

Maddow can’t even be bothered to fact-check her own script—or perhaps she just reads whatever is put in front of her, Ron Burgundy-like. Maddow said that McDonnell went to “Pat Robertson‘s Liberty University.” Well, if Rachel could bother to spend thirty seconds on Google, she would know that Liberty University was founded by Jerry Falwell. Pat Robertson’s university is Regent University (McDonnell actually attended Regent University School of Law). But what does that matter? Why bother with research? They’re just Christians, and they’re all alike.  What does it matter who started what university, they all look the same, right Rachel? After all, it’s OK to smear them, because you disagree with them.

So why the sudden and factually-challenged attacks on McDonnell? Could it be that trying to argue that Creigh Deeds, his Democratic opponent, is a better candidate on the facts and better prepared to be governor hasn’t turned out well? Could it be that the Deeds campaign is desperate, inept, and in need of a distraction? That wouldn’t have anything to do with it, would it Rachel?

The funniest thing is that Maddow goes on to laugh at “conservatives eating the Republican party” and saying how foolish it is for Republicans to listen to their conservative base. This is the same woman who earlier in the show attacked a Democratic Congressman who doesn’t toe the leftist line as strongly as Maddow would like. This is the woman who uses her show to promote far-left organizations that want to “primary” moderate Democrats. This is the same woman who couldn’t muster up any outrage over President Obama’s association with the likes of Saul Alinsky, Bill Ayers, Reverend Wright, and Van Jones but goes full-bore after a man like McDonnell for something he wrote that referenced a man who wouldn’t utter the quote she lied about for another twenty years.

Rachel Maddow. Almost as much cred as this guy.

Rachel Maddow. Almost as much cred as this guy.

Is Maddow even aware of her own self-contradictory stances? Is she so blindly partisan she can’t see it? Or is she simply the Left’s Ron Burgundy, smiling while she tells San Diego exactly what it can go do?

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