On Friday night, Rachel Maddow delivered a blistering reply to a letter from attorneys representing billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch. While she has always been willing to make corrections on the show, she said, the Kochs’ current quibble is about a matter of actual verifiable fact and as such needs no correction.
“You know, you never like to get stuff wrong,” she said, “but it does happen from time to time and when we get stuff wrong on this show, I try to make sure that we correct it. We don’t mind making corrections. That said, don’t push it.”
A recent story about the Koch brothers’ financing of a national network of right-wing pressure groups is factually true, in spite of the Kochs’ ire at being mentioned unfavorably in the media.
“We cover the Conservative movement a lot on this show,” she said, “and in so doing we occasionally find people who have been mentioned in our coverage who are absolutely outraged that they have been mentioned in our coverage.”
“And the Conservative political figures who you can most count on to threaten to sue you and call your boss and scream about their victimization as loud as they can whenever they get mentioned by name in a way they do not control are of course, the Koch brothers,” she said.
The Koch attorneys went so far as to send a script for Maddow to read on the air, which she flatly refused to do.
“The Koch brothers’ letter to us includes a script that they want me to read to you on the air denouncing my own reporting on the Florida “Drug Test the Poor” story and telling you that they are not involved in promoting any such issue,” she continued.
“I’m not going to read their script. I’m not going to renounce my own reporting on this story because the reporting on this story stands,” said Maddow.
“We will not stop reporting on the political actions and the consequences of the political actions of rich and powerful men even if they send angry letters every time we do it,” she vowed. “I will not read scripts provided to me by anyone else. I do not play requests. I will happily make corrections when I do get things wrong. We do it on this show all the time. But I will not renounce or retract reporting that is true even if the subjects of that reporting don’t like it.”
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