PolitiFact Rates Maddow's Recent Smear of Koch Brothers 'Mostly False'

As NewsBusters previously reported, the Koch brothers on Monday accused MSNBC's Rachel Maddow of misrepresenting their political contributions to falsely claim that they have been pushing for the drug testing of welfare recipients.

On Thursday, fact-checking website PolitiFact largely agreed with the Kochs - and NewsBusters - rating Maddow's assertions "Mostly False":

PunditFact isn't always the first to weigh in on the tit-for-tat of cable news shows, in part because the nature of our work requires more than claims and counterclaims. And sometimes, a few extra days allows matters to become more settled.

Such is the case in examining the back-and-forth recently between MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and representatives for Charles and David Koch.

After a somewhat exhaustive analysis, PF concluded:

Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer, a University of Notre Dame law professor who focuses on nonprofit advocacy issues, told us the Kochs’ network of entities shows that "they have gone to significant lengths and expense to hide their contributions and where those contributions are going,"

But, "it does seem to be a stretch to say that all of the donors to the State Policy Network are somehow affiliated with Foundation for Government Accountability given the small size of the grant to the foundation compared to all the grants made by the network."

Maddow said the Foundation for Government Accountability, which supported a Florida law requiring drug testing of welfare recipients, is a "Koch brothers affiliated group."

The evidence to prove that particular claim is thin. We rate the claim Mostly False.

Frankly, given the exhaustive study NewsBusters did on this matter, I'm not sure how PF didn't rate this either "False" or "Pants on Fire."

However, I'll guess we'll have to take the "Mostly False" and wonder when Maddow will offer the Kochs an apology.

As for PolitiFact, it is interesting that although Maddow has had her own MSNBC show since September 2008, this is only the 18th time this organization has fact-checked one of her comments.

That averages out to about three a year.

By contrast, PF's first rating of something Fox News's Sean Hannity said was February 2008. Since then, the organization has fact-checked him 66 times or almost once a month.

Glenn Beck has been rated 66 times since April 2009, or more than once a month.

Rush Limbaugh has been rated 62 times since April 2008, or almost once a month.

Why does Maddow get her comments fact-checked about 75 percent less than these conservatives?

As NewsBusters readers are aware, it's because PF consistently rates conservatives more frequently and more harshly.

If it weren't the case, we would take their opinions far more seriously.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.