Friday night on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Rachel Maddow compared so-called conservative “poll-truthers” to the mullahs and theocrats of Iran, who would rather construct an artificial, sanitized Internet than risk having their fellow Iranians access the wider internet and be exposed to new information.
Iran, Maddow began, is about to get its own Internet. The religious leaders who control the country have always had an uneasy relationship with the Internet, blocking certain sites that could undermine their hardline religious rule.
“So they’ve been busy closing off bits of the Internet to the Iranian public,” she said. “You can’t use Google. Now you can’t use YouTube. You can’t use specific sites where the government doesn’t like what you can read there or what you can see there.”
Now, rather than continue to try and manage the crazy patchwork of censored and uncensored sites, Iran is creating its own, government-sponsored Internet environment for Iranians, keeping them from accessing anything too provocative or secular.
This week, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued some of the best jobs numbers the nation has seen since President Barack Obama took office, with the unemployment rate falling below 8 percent for the first time since January of 2009. Some Republicans have reacted to this, Maddow said, just like Iranian mullahs. Rather than accepting a reality they don’t like, they’re just constructing a safer, alternate reality.
The host then rolled clips of conservatives loudly declaiming election polls from summer and fall 2012 that show Obama ahead of the Republican candidate, former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA). Rather than accept that these polls might be telling the truth, Republicans flocked to Unskewed.com, a polling site that purports to correct mainstream polls for “liberal media bias,” therefore pushing Romney ahead of the president.
Similarly, when too many conservatives began to read things they didn’t like on Wikipedia, they decided to invent Conservapedia, which also purports to eliminate “liberal bias” and only gives conservatives information that will square with their view of the world.
“If you don’t like the real world,” she said, “invent your own.”
Conservatives are not alone in this, she said, talking about the new theory that Romney cheated during the debate by bringing a cheat sheet. Maddow dismissed the theory out of hand, saying that whether or not Romney cheated, the reason that he won the debate was because the president turned in a lackluster performance.
“The worst example of this, though, the invention of a comforting new parallel reality that means you do not need to face hard truths,” she said, are the “poll-truthers,” people who allege that the Obama administration has fudged the new BLS numbers, accusing the president, the bureau and its head, Hilda Solis, of doctoring the unemployment rate in order to reinforce Obama’s re-election chances.
Maddow pointed to former GE CEO Jack Welch’s outburst on Twitter from Friday morning, in which he wrote, “Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers.”
The right picked up that ball and ran with it all day Friday, from Rep. Allen West (R-FL) to Fox host Eric Bolling to conservative radio host Laura Ingraham. Ingraham called the new data “total pro-Obama propaganda.”
“Forget the real world,” Maddow said. “They were going to build their own private world that made them happier.”
Maddow was joined by Jared Bernstein, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Watch the clip, embedded via MSNBC, below: