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Koch Brothers Sent Rachel Maddow A Script To Read On Air, You Have To See Her Response

The Kochs are back in the news. Let’s remind journalists everywhere how to handle them.

A couple of years ago, Rachel Maddow did a show on the failed and disastrous welfare drug testing debacle in Florida. During the show, she traced the legislation that demanded that welfare recipients be drug tested back to its money source — the Koch brothers.

Following that show, she got a surprise — one that delighted her. When Maddow covers the Koch brothers, she hears from the Koch brothers’ lawyers. This time? The Koch brothers sent her a script with instructions to read it on the air. The script contained verbiage that would have denounced her reporting of their affiliation with groups that control Republicans and legislation at the local, state, and federal level.

Maddow points out that MSNBC and her show will make corrections when a mistake is made, but there is a threshold that won’t be crossed.

“I don’t mind making corrections. That said — don’t push it.”

She explains that she covers a lot of right wing politics because

“The most interesting story in American politics this decade is the effort by the Republican party to remake itself in the wake of the disastrous Bush-Cheney era.”

“We cover the conservative movement a lot on this show and in so doing, we occasionally find people who have been mentioned in our coverage who are absolutely outraged that they have been mentioned in our coverage. People who are not used to being talked about by someone who does not take their instructions. And so, what happens is, they tend to try to instruct me as to how I ought to talk about them. And the conservative political figures who you can most count on to threaten to sue you and call your boss and scream about their victimization as loud as they can — whenever they get mentioned by name in a way they do not control — are of course, the Koch brothers.”

What she revealed about the Kochs that angered them, was this:

“They are part of a network of state-based conservative think tanks that are designed to not look like a network. They all look vaguely indigenous. They all have what look to be locally-specific names, but their funding — if you follow it — comes in part from a central source of big money corporate donors, including groups affiliated with the Koch brothers.”

These are some of the groups:

Rachel Maddow Takes down Koch brothers
Screengrab via YouTube

Rachel points out something very important:

“The Koch brothers’ lawyers aren’t denying that they fund these organizations, but they don’t want anyone reporting a connection between what these groups do and who gives them the money.”

This is important. This is evidence that they are trying to run this country from their own agenda, if evidence is needed at this point.

Why do these men do what they do? Why do they think that they can manipulate politics in this country without being held accountable? Maddow explains it when people operate at a certain level of power and wealth, they “are not used to ever hearing things that you do not want to hear, particularly things about yourself.”

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That.

I’ve experienced that in my own life with powerful and wealthy people I know. People in positions of power are not accustomed to being challenged. They certainly aren’t accustomed to being criticized. They don’t want to see the mirror that we hold up to them. It infuriates them. How dare we! How dare Rachel Maddow!

As for their lame little script that they wanted her to read online, here is her response.

“I am not going to read their script. I’m not going to renounce my own reporting on this story, because the reporting on this story stands. It is true. And now we also know that the Koch brothers do not wish to be associated with the work and the causes that they have funded through their multi-million dollar, multi-year massive funding of networks of conservative organizations. You not wanting to be known for something you have done is not the same thing as you not having done it.”

“We will not stop reporting on the political actions and the consequences of the political actions of rich and powerful men, even if they send angry letters every time we do it. I will not read scripts provided to me by anyone else. I do not play requests. I will happily make corrections when I do get things wrongs. We do it on this show all the time, but I will not renounce or retract reporting that is true, even if the subjects of that reporting don’t like it. Being a political actor means being subject to political scrutiny. If you don’t want to be known for it, don’t do it. Don’t just complain when people accurately describe your actions. Your actions are what we are reporting on and we will do that on our own terms as a free press. If you want to control the words that are used when your actions are discussed, then speak for yourself.”

“I will renew my invitation now. Mr. Koch, or the other Mr. Koch, you are welcome on this show anytime. I would love to discuss these matters with you right here in person live and without interruptions. Anytime. And it would be easy to set up — you apparently already have my number.”

After she said all of that, she did this:

Rachel Maddow can’t be bought by corrupt people. People who stand on principle can’t be bought. They can’t be silenced. They can’t be controlled. The Koch brothers, and other conservatives — and maybe, truth be told, even some powerful Democrats who have lost their way — can’t deal with that.

FYI, this is what a patriot looks like. In my opinion, what she’s doing is dangerous. These people could have her “dealt with” without it ever being traced back to them. Oh we would all question it, sure. But they’d never see justice. She is a hero. She is….a patriot.

We need for people to see this. Do anything you can to get the conservatives you know to sit and watch this with you. Bribe them. Offer lunch or booze in exchange for them watching this. In fact, make it a weekly thing. “Watch Maddow with me once a week and I’ll pay for drinks.”

The only way we’re going to get change is to change people and open their eyes. That’s going to happen one person at a time.

Watch the video.

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Written by Tiffany Willis Clark

Tiffany Willis Clark is a fifth-generation Texan, a proponent of voluntary simplicity, a single mom, and the founder and editor-in-chief of Liberal America. An unapologetic member of the Christian Left, she has spent most of her career actively working with “the least of these" -- disadvantaged and oppressed populations, the elderly, people living in poverty, at-risk youth, and unemployed people. She is a Certified Workforce Expert with the National Workforce Institute, a NAWDP Certified Workforce Development Professional, and a certified instructor for Franklin Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. She also has a grossly neglected personal blog, a  Time Travel blog, a site dedicated to encouraging people to  read classic literature 15 minutes a day, and a literary quotes blog that is a labor of love. Find her somewhere and join the discussion.

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