If you’re a journalist going to lie about a statement an individual made to your outlet, it helps if that statement wasn’t sent via email.
I don’t think I need to point out the reasons why. If you need the receipts, so to speak, the transaction is sitting right there in your inbox. If the controversy becomes heated enough, there are ways to ascertain the validity of emails. This is pretty much Fake News 101: If you’re going to butcher a quote, make sure it wasn’t sent via email.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, perhaps cable TV’s foremost fake-news peddler, didn’t get the hint. You would think after years of pushing the Russiagate conspiracy theory far beyond its outer limits, she would get how the game works. (We’ve been documenting Maddow’s lies for years now — and we’ll continue to hold her to account. You can help us by subscribing.)
Alas, that’s not the case. On Thursday, the press secretary for the Florida Department of Health had to publicly reprimand Maddow for leaving off part of the quote he gave, completely changing the context.
Maddow, for instance, told her audience that press secretary Jeremy Redfern responded that it was “cute that you’re asking for comment” about a controversy regarding GOP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo.
What he actually said was that it was “cute that you’re asking for comment at 8:21 p.m., 39 minutes before your deadline, expecting that I wouldn’t respond.”
Is there a reason you didn’t finish reading the rest of the sentence from that statement I sent you? pic.twitter.com/xrWtI51a18
— Jeremy Redfern (@JeremyRedfernFL) January 28, 2022
That does change the context a bit indeed, making it bad journalism on two levels. Not only did her show ask for comment at the last minute, they lied about the comment they were given and what “cute” referred to.
For fuller context, Ladapo is the latest DeSantis-centric pandemic controversy because, during his confirmation hearing Wednesday, he wouldn’t offer a gung-ho endorsement of vaccination as prophylactic against contracting COVID-19.
When asked if the vaccines were preventative, according to CNN, he answered, “Yes or no questions are not that easy to find in science.”
Despite acknowledging they have a “relatively high effectiveness for the prevention of hospitalization,” Florida state Senate Democrats staged a walk-out on Ladapo’s hearing in protest — or, at least, as an effective way of garnering attention. The committee’s Republicans voted to favorably recommend Ladapo after the Dem-led stunt.
The sturm und drang extends to the fact Ladapo was a member of America’s Frontline Doctors, a controversial group that, during the early months of the pandemic, advocated for the use of hydroxychloroquine. He appeared at a news conference for the group in Washington, D.C., in 2020, which was removed from social media networks and flagged as disinformation.
This isn’t the real problem here; as Fox News noted, Ladapo said during the hearing that vaccines are effective at preventing “hospitalization and death from COVID-19” but that “I don’t think the objective of public health is coercion. I think it’s education, and I think it’s to allow people to make choices, so they don’t feel coerced.”
No coercion, no dice — at least when it comes to the left and vaccines. Cue Maddow, telling her viewers that they “might not expect the leader of a state with one of the highest body counts from COVID to look to someone from [America’s Frontline Doctors] to become the top health official in the state.”
She also repeated claims from doctors at UCLA, where Ladapo previously practiced, that he was “misleading the public about his experience treating COVID patients there” and hadn’t treated anyone on the front lines. The claims Maddow was citing were originally reported by … Rachel Maddow, according to a November report in regional site Florida Politics. In the interim, the allegations haven’t been proved.
Why shouldn’t you trust those reports if there’s no concrete proof? Because the reporter pulls stuff like this:
Not surprising that Rachel Maddow decided to edit out @JeremyRedfernFL's statement that he sent her. Her entire show is one big conspiracy theory. Facts aren't allowed to seep in. pic.twitter.com/tgCB1jd0wB
— Kevin Tober (@KevinTober94) January 28, 2022
“The press secretary for the Florida Department of Health responded by calling our request comment ‘cute.’ That was an actual quote,” Maddow said.
“This is a state government.”
No, it’s an incomplete quote — and a stupidly deliberate incomplete quote, considering a digital copy of the real quote existed and could be tweeted by a press secretary from the DeSantis administration, who had every motive to own Maddow for her duplicitous reporting.
It’s thoroughly unsurprising to turn to any liberal outfit and see another attempt to depict Ron DeSantis as the Grim Reaper — a figure of death standing atop a pile of COVID-stricken bodies, scythe in one hand and pen in the other, looking to sign some legislation that’ll kill even more benighted Floridians by giving them [shudder] their freedom. The left may not have the facts to justify another 700 days to slow the spread, but it certainly has the fear.
What is surprising, however, is the attempt being made in such a shabby manner. Maddow, one supposes, is a perfervid believer in P.T. Barnum’s maxim that there’s a sucker born every minute — and what’s more, she’s under the impression they’re all tuned to MSNBC between the hours of 9-10 p.m. Eastern Time.
Then again, if she still has a consistent viewership after all these years, she may be on to something.