Is MSNBC’s Maddow Too Fixated on Fox News?

by | August 6, 2010 at 3:20 PM | Cable News, The Late Show with David Letterman, TV News

Rachel Maddow on CBS' 'Late Show With David Letterman'

Rachel Maddow on CBS' 'Late Show With David Letterman'

Look, we all realize there’s this huge ideological rift in this country between right and left and, along with that, this tooth-and-nail rivalry between left-leaning MSNBC and the right-leaning Fox News Channel.

But can’t Rachel Maddow leave it alone for five minutes?

She and David Letterman really got into it Thursday night on Letterman’s ‘Late Show,’ devoting the better part of her guest appearance to bashing conservatives in general – and Fox News in particular.

I mean, this woman is obsessed with Fox News. If Maddow spent as much time working on improving her own MSNBC show as she does exploiting opportunities to crab about her competition, then maybe her own show might actually present a challenge to Fox News in the ratings.

Some of the things she said on ‘Letterman’ really made her seem unhinged – raving about conservatives and Fox News whipping up fear about “scary black people” as a tool for persuading white voters to vote for white, conservative candidates. I mean, the whole thing, with her implications of a vast right-wing conspiracy and her resort to schoolyard name-calling, smacked of extreme whacko paranoia.

Goaded by Letterman, she called Fox News “a political hack job operation” and the Fox News personalities “slimeballs.” She characterized them as “unscrupulous” and “slimy” as part of a discussion she and Dave were having about the Shirley Sherrod incident.

Sherrod is the African-American U.S. Department of Agriculture official who was fired by the Obama administration earlier this summer after videotape surfaced of a speech she once delivered that seemed to indicate she was biased against white farmers. The impression that she was a racist turned out to be false when it came to light the video had been doctored by this conservative gadfly Andrew Breitbart before he posted it on his web site. OK, Breitbart made a serious boo-boo here and, for a time, the Fox News Channel hosts went along with it and the liberals let them have it.

But come on, Rachel – do we really have to spend all summer fighting over this now-dead story?

“I think that with Fox in particular [it] is part of the pattern – they keep running the stories about, for lack of a better phrase, scary black people,” Maddow said. “About scary black people at the USDA discriminating against white farmers, and scary black people stopping white people from voting [referring to a story Fox News has followed about New Black Panther members allegedly intimidating white voters at polling places], and scary black people stealing the election, the whole ACORN scandal. There’s this theme.”

“So, in the collective ideology of Fox and others, what is the objective of this sort of nonsense?” Dave asked.

“Scaring white people is good politics,” answered Rachel, somehow managing to keep a straight face. (I mean, at first I thought she was kidding.) “It always has been the idea that you sort of rile up the white base to be afraid of… the scary immigrants or the scary black people, somebody coming to take what is white people’s rightful property. And you get them riled up so they feel like they need to vote in self-defense and they vote for conservative candidates.”

Watch Maddow’s ‘Letterman’ visit here:

According to Maddow, Americans on the right who don’t agree with her way of looking at the world are too dumb to make their own decisions about who to vote for, and wind up voting in lockstep for whoever Fox News tells them to vote for. To borrow a phrase from libertarian Fox News guy John Stossel: Give me a break!

You too, Dave – I thought the Letterman show existed for the sole purpose of providing silly entertainment in the middle of the night – you know: A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants. Whenever Dave turns on the partisan political talk, it just makes me want to scream. Leave the politics to the cable news channels, Dave. And Rachel, don’t you have anything else to talk about besides Fox News?