A clip from Rachel Maddow's show, where she blames Log Cabin Republicans for Patrick Murphy losing reelection and for the lack of progress on gay rights generally, is making the rounds (video is after the jump). Here's the big quote:
If you have ever wondered how it is that the American public keeps getting more and more positive about gay rights, but gay actual rights, policy that affects gay people, lags decades behind that public acceptance, this is why. Behold what is supposed to be a gay rights movement siding against Congressman Patrick Murphy. It's astonishing.
She could have tried to have a real discussion of the reasons Murphy lost reelection. Just looking at Wikipedia I found that Michael Fitzpatrick, who beat Murphy, won the 2004 election in that district by just over 10% of the votes. Murphy beat Fitzpatrick in both 2006 and 2008 by a hair, and those were both Democratic wave years. In 2010, a Republican wave year and without Obama's coattails, Fitzpatrick won by just under 10% of the votes.
Some people would look at the district's make-up, but Rachel Maddow wouldn't; her viewers might learn something that way. Instead, she seems to blame the Log Cabin Republican endorsement, which everyone knows is worth at least 10% of the vote in any electorate. I say "seems" because her work is so sloppy that it's hard to tell what she's arguing other than that LCR is insufficiently grateful to Rep. Murphy and still, unbelievably, supports Republicans in elections (gay Republicans, they're still Republicans! That's news, folks!).
Even sillier, she does directly blame them for the lack of progress on gay rights, specifically DADT repeal when they just won a suit for repeal. The DADT deal just got through the Senate, and she mentions the House votes, and if she's worried about LGBT issues other than DADT then she really hasn't shown it in 2010. And, you know, there are all the other people holding back LGBT progress, like Democratic homophobes, Republican politicians, straight Republicans, everyone in the public who's ambivalent on these issues, our silly media....
Pinning all the blame on LCR is just incorrect and it encourages poor organization of activist resources, but I'm sure it makes some people feel better to have an easy punching bag. It feels good to point at Republican rubes and just blame them for our problems. And I'm sure they love to absorb the damage since it keeps us from understanding what's going on.
In related news, Americans are really uninformed about a lot of issues, according to the University of Maryland. MSNBC viewers are also uninformed, although we can't blame that all on Rachel Maddow since her fellow clowns help her out (has anyone ever learned anything on a non-social issue by watching Chris Matthews? Did Sam Seder, filling in for KO last week, know that his little yellow scare segment was based on little other than a complete misunderstanding of how federal debt is created? Is Lawrence O'Donnell still pretending to be ignorant about what'll happen if no tax deal is passed by December 31 in order to get himself a bigger tax cut? And Joe Scarborough...).
In the important issues that they asked about, 45% of daily MSNBC viewers thought the health care bill will increase the deficit. 34% didn't know that the stimulus bill included tax cuts. 39% weren't sure Obama was born in the US. 38% thought Obama, not Bush, signed TARP (the bank bail-outs) into law.
And the worst of the statistics: 65% thought the stimulus saved or created "few" jobs or caused job losses. That, the crux of left-wing economics, the main reason for the government's involvement in the economy, the only way to soften the blow of capitalism's economic cycles, a concept that's taught in high school economics... well, don't ask MSNBC viewers about that. Most will parrot some rightwing garbage back at you.
Now that study is making its rounds on the internet, especially in the liberal blogosphere, for a different finding: Fox News viewers are tragically uninformed, like they're living in a hyper-reality constructed by wealthy people who want to control the rubes so they can expand their wealth and power. 91% of them thought that the stimulus didn't create the millions of jobs that it did. What idiots! They're so stupid!
The fact that two-thirds of people watching the Official Liberal Network every day couldn't get the right answer to that question is ignored because we can point to the Republicans and say they're worse.
Does is bother anyone else that even the most informed liberals don't understand the basics of liberalism? More specifically: does it bother Rachel Maddow that her viewers don't know that the stimulus created millions of jobs, even though most economists also thought it was too small? It's impossible to know, but judging from her behavior I'd say no. Her job was neither created nor saved by any stimulus spending on peasants, and it's a fucking awesome job. She gets paid millions to make fun of Republicans.
MSNBC viewers did better on that key question than people who got their news from other cable or broadcast networks, but they did worse on other questions, even sometimes worse than Fox News viewers (anything partisan that made Democrats look better tripped them up). The entire report is worth looking through and most of it isn't about media outlets (77% of Democratic voters don't think the stimulus created the jobs that it did, and then we wonder why Democratic politicians are so conservative).
I imagine there are people who think that LCR's endorsement, as wrong as it is (I don't agree with it or them), actually unseated Patrick Murphy. I would also imagine that there are LGBT people who don't follow politics out there, perfectly nice people with perfectly sensible opinions on LGBT issues who just don't have the time or the care to do anything more than watch Maddow or read The Advocate's website where her clip was posted, who think that the LCR is the only thing standing in the way of LGBT legislation, not other LGBT nonprofits, the much richer and more powerful Religious Right, the outright homophobia of many politicians, or the lack of care of most of the American population.
Not a big deal, I suppose. The Log Cabin Republicans suck as human beings, so who cares if people think less of them. If one doesn't think there's inherent value in the public knowing and understanding the truth, if one thinks that it's OK to bend it a little to advance an agenda (even if that agenda is the Get Rachel Maddow a Mansion in Tuscany Fund), then I guess it's fine.
Although if one doesn't think that the truth is paramount, then why would that person get into journalism in the first place?