On her Thursday show, Rachel Maddow defended herself against criticism that she had gotten her facts wrong on the battle over union rights in Wisconsin--and she also took on her anti-gay critics.
Maddow's chief target was Politifact, the widely-cited fact-checking arm of the St. Petersburg Times. Politifact had rated a report Maddow had given about the Wisconsin protests "false" because, in its judgment, she had said that Wisconsin was "on track to have a budget surplus this year" when, in fact, the state is set to have a budget shortfall.
Maddow was eager to correct the record. "There are too many people who work too hard on this show for us to get slandered when we are in fact telling the truth," she said.
Maddow then played a clip of herself from the same show that Politifact criticized, saying, "even though the state had started the year on track to have a budget surplus--now, there is, in fact, a $137 million budget shortfall."
"You are wrong here on the facts and bluntly, and you ought to correct it," Maddow said. She also posted the letters MSNBC sent to Politifact on her blog.
Maddow then addressed criticism that she and Fox News' Shepard Smith cited an incorrect report when they said that seven out of the top ten outside contributors to political campaigns in 2010 gave to Republicans. Both Maddow and Smith used this data from Open Secrets to assert that the fight in Wisconsin is really about securing Republicans' political power and busting unions. She showed the data again, and said it was definitely true.
She said she had seen many comments on Twitter retweeting a link to this criticism along with statements such as "Rachel Maddow is wrong, and she looks like a man," or, "Rachel Maddow is wrong, and she's also gay."
"Just because you don't like the way it sounds when I say it, or you don't like my haircut, or just because you don't like that I'm gay, it does not make what we say not true," she said. "It was true when Open Secrets said it, it was true when I said it, it was true when Mr. Smith said it."