Rachel Maddow had dug herself a hole. So she did the logical thing in Rachel Conspiracy Land: She got another shovel to keep on digging.
What startles is that for the second time the left-leaning Huffington Post has called her out – again – on her Trump and Niger conspiracy theory. (Rachel loves conspiracy theories like other people love breathing. Its an every moment kind of thing.)
This time the HuffPo headlined:
The MSNBC host suggested Trump’s travel ban may have caused the deadly ambush. Experts disagree.
The HuffPo story began:
“Rachel Maddow on Friday doubled down on her controversial reporting on the deadly Niger ambush on U.S. troops, in which she linked President Donald Trump’s travel ban with the deaths of four soldiers.
…Andrew Lebovich, a PhD candidate in African History at Columbia University and a visiting fellow with the European Council on Foreign Relations, called out the segment on Twitter, arguing, “these things are not linked, they have to do with areas on literal opposite ends of the country.”
Lebovich added: “You are supposed to be better than this.”
HuffPo added: “The MSNBC host on Friday also briefly attempted to hedge her speculation, before adamantly reinforcing her theory once again.”
Colby College’s Assistant Professor of Government Laura Seay not only told the HuffPo that Rachel’s first take on this was “crazy” but after Rachel’s hole-deepening second show on the issue Seay took to the pages Slate to slam the MSNBC conspiracy theorist. Seay’s headline:
The deaths of U.S. troops in Niger were a tragedy, but there’s no need for conspiracy theories.
“Before the tragic deaths of four American and five Nigerien soldiers on Oct. 4, few Americans realized that U.S. troops were deployed to the West African country. While much of the media coverage since then has focused on how long it took President Trump to call the families of the four Americans who were killed, and what he said to them once he did, questions are also now being rightly asked about the incident itself.
…But some normally responsible commentators are delving into speculation about the cause of this crisis that crosses the line from reasonable speculation to irresponsible conspiracymongering.
Case in point: MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.
…Maddow’s speculation, which mirrors a conspiracy theory pushed by the Palmer Report, a fringe website, might be tempting to believe, but it makes several key errors.”
Seay goes on to list Maddow’s “crazy” mistakes in chapter and verse, touching on everything from the basics (the geography of Niger) to the political (the difference between Boko Haram and the Islamic State) and the military (the mission of Chadian troops.) She ends her Rachel take-down this way, admitting there is “a need for a long-overdue debate” on the role of American troops in Africa. Then Seay says of Rachel’s conspiracy craziness:
“But trying to score political points by politicizing a tragedy with factual errors and the confusion of correlation for causation won’t bring the answers we, and the families of the Niger fallen, so desperately need.”
It’s one thing when conservative critics point out Maddow’s crazed reliance on crazed conspiracy theories. But you know she has a real problem when her own side keeps slamming her for the same thing – and saying flatly that her theories are not only seriously wrong but seriously crazy.