Ah, that obsessive devotion to facts remains rigorous and unshakable.
Anchoring her network's coverage of President Obama's second inauguration, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow describes an aspect of the event that few people notice, aside from keen observers like her. (video clip after page break)
"To the issue of marching on the inaugural, one of the little noticed things about this inaugural festivity today is that nobody applied for a permit to demonstrate," Maddow says. "Think back on Richard Nixon's second inaugural in 1973 -- 60,000 demonstrators, according to the official ...."
"Right on this side of the road," Chris Matthews chimes in, "right down here, they were demonstrating."
"George W. Bush's second inaugural," Maddow adds, "there was the counter-inaugural. There was a lot of people all along the parade route ..."
Al Sharpton joins the chorus, pointing out that "we marched in 2000 'cause of the Florida vote. But I think the reason that you didn't have a lot of protesters today with President Obama is many of them are in the Congress."
Maddow chuckles but says nothing in response, likely annoyed by Sharpton's allusion to GOP success. She then continues describing inaugural demonstrations in the past, in contrast to their apparent absence on this day.
"The interesting thing, we have seen previous protests at inaugural parades and at inaugural festivities by people who did not seek permits," Maddow says, "people who were hecklers or who otherwise, there were streakers one year, there were five people arrested as animal rights protesters who ran naked through the middle of everything. That was exciting for all sorts of reasons. We don't know if anything like that will happen today, but there's no planned protest."
Providing you don't count those five planned protests for which permits were issued. Yes, aside from them, no protests at all. As reported by the, ahem, NBC affiliate in Washington, three of the protests were to be staged along Pennsylvania Avenue, compared to six during Obama's first inaugural. Two of the groups included those hard to love denizens of the Westboro Baptist Church who can't get along with anyone, and the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition whose members "speak out for the unemployed and demand jobs and justice," Channel 4 dutifully conveyed.
Maddow's bogus claim even drew criticism from venerable lefty fishwrap The Nation, with Allison Kilkenny writing that "it created the impression that President Obama was re-elected with unified glee. Why, no one even bothered to request a permit to protest! Because Obama is perfect! No one could even think of a reason to raise any grievances!"