HuffPo Misleads With Claim That Rachel Maddow Spat Upon at CPAC

Behold the birth of a liberal meme. Ten years hence, we'll still be telling them it isn't true, and they'll keep repeating it regardless.

Speaking with Jay Leno on Monday to plug the paperback release of her book "Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power," MSNBC's Rachel Maddow described the one and only time she attended the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, better known as CPAC. (video, audio clips after page break)

This was back in 2010 and Maddow's visit to the annual gathering was mostly pleasant, she told Leno, with one conspicuous exception --

LENO: Now CPAC, that convention is this week, right?

MADDOW: The conservative convention, that's right.

LENO: I assume you are not invited. (laughter from audience)

MADDOW: I went one year!

LENO: Did you go one year?

MADDOW: I did one year. I had one guy scream at me in an escalator, it got spit all over my face (waves hands mock frantically). But aside from that, people were very nice. They had made, I work at MSNBC, and they had made doormats with MSNBC hosts on the doormats.

LENO: Oh that's nice.

MADDOW: Which I thought was kind of awesome, merchandising for us, thank you!

Over at Huffington Post, Maddow's remarks were skewed in a story with this headline -- "Rachel Maddow Went to CPAC Once, Got Spit On."

True, Maddow did say the words "spit on," though she curiously made a point of saying "it" and not "he" conveyed saliva onto her. (Good gosh, man, say it, don't spray it). The headline implies something far more sinister, that Maddow was spat upon, legally a form of assault, thus explaining why she's attended CPAC only once.

My curious duly whetted, I went to the Maddow video archives from February 2010 when she ran two segments on CPAC, including one on Feb. 18 in which she described the unpleasant encounter (audio) --

The one bad experience I had at CPAC was a guy yelling at me and getting up in my face and being sort of physically threatening after making a beeline to me through a crowd to hand me this flier (opposing gays serving in military) and I said thank you, who are you?! And he yelled right in my face, 'We're normal people! What about you?!' He did not in fact seem like normal people but more specifically he was from an organization called Tradition, Family, and Property (American Society for the Defense of ...), whose booth I sought out later. They say that it would be unclean to have gay people in the military and they have this neato gold Welsh-looking crest.

So much for Maddow being subjected to a blink-inducing saliva onslaught. Somehow this didn't get mentioned in her initial telling but was tacked onto a late-night retelling three years later, with Huffington Post doing its part in the embroidery.

Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Ex-liberal from People's Republic of Massachusetts