Kudos to the producers behind the scenes at MSNBC for correcting this nonsense before it even made it out of Rachel Maddow’s mouth. Here’s Maddow from her show last Friday night asking why Attorney General William Barr is working through the Mueller report himself while a chyron below her reads, “Barr: Special Counsel is Assisting with Redactions.”
Tip for @Maddow: if you're going to keep misleading your audience, make sure your producers aren't correcting you in real-time. Here, the chyron accurately states Friday's news Mueller is "assisting" Barr w/ redactions. Meanwhile, @Maddow is falsely claiming the exact opposite: pic.twitter.com/rTSAABngp2
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) April 1, 2019
Her whole tone is conspiratorial. “This is a thing that Mueller’s team does in it’s sleep,” she said. “It is hard to believe that they’d leave the newly appointed 68-year-old Attorney General William Barr to himself personally pick through the report to try to figure out ‘what mentions in this 400-page report might pertain to open cases?'” she added. Maybe it’s hard to believe because you don’t know the facts.
In case you’re wondering, this is not an April Fools joke. The full clip published by MSNBC is posted below and the chyron contradicting Maddow is in there. She’s in the midst of spinning out this idea as if it’s more proof that Barr is up to something nefarious while the chyron is basically saying ‘Nope, nothing to see here.’
But as many have pointed out, this sort of conspiracy tone has been extremely profitable for MSNBC. Forbes reports today that MSNBC even proclaimed Maddow the kind of cable talk today, only it looks like they jumped the gun on that announcement:
There’s a certain risk in releasing ratings news releases on April Fool’s Day. But for MSNBC, the chance to reverse a week of stories about slumping viewership–and a presidential tweet joking at the network’s ratings compared to Fox News–was reason enough to start April with a bold new headline, one the network provided to reporters Monday in a news release with a breathless, all-caps headline: “MSNBC’S ‘THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW’ IS THE #1 CABLE NEWS PROGRAM IN A25-54 FOR THE QUARTER, DELIVERS THE SHOW’S HIGHEST-RATED QUARTER EVER IN TOTAL AUDIENCE.”…
Why not wait until Tuesday when we can compare MSNBC’s ratings apples-to-apples against the competition at Fox News and CNN? Well, perhaps because a best-ever ratingamong total viewers might sound somewhat less ALL-CAPS dramatic if you have to add the detail: “while finishing in second place behind Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity.”
She may not be number one but her ratings are significantly higher than they were before Trump’s election and a lot of that is because of the Russia collusion story. She’s got to keep the story rolling and right now that means making AG Barr part of the plot and suggesting all the real collusion material is still waiting to be seen in Mueller’s report. At some point, she’s going to have to admit she was wrong but for now, she’s doing her best impersonation of Fox Mulder: The truth is out there. And it is. Sometimes it’s just a few inches below her face.