Rachel Maddow held Trump's new special adviser Kellyanne Conway to task on Trump's lie about ABC's Martha Raddatz as well as Melania Trump attempting to sue a blogger out of business. She did not allow Conway to spin, but Rachel missed an important question.
Rachel Maddow grills Kellyanne Conway
Rachel Maddow shows why she is so well regarded by those yearning for good journalism as she forces Kellyanne Conway to address two thorny issues. Maddow started the segment by playing a big lie in Donald Trump's post-election stump speech.
"How about when a major anchor who hosted a debate started crying when she realized we won," Donald Trump said lyingly. "No, tell me this isn't true."
Rachel Maddow corrected the record.
"We know from the number of times he's told that story that he is talking about Martha Raddatz," Maddow said to Conway. "Martha Raddatz did not, in fact, cry on election night. She did not say, 'No tell me this isn't true.' There were no tears streaming down her face. What I am bothered by is the way he is singling her out. Not just with wrong information but singling her out. Is this how even a reporter like Martha Raddatz is going to be treated by this president?"
"No. And I would have updates, but they are privately held," Conway said. "We've been discussing this with ABC News. I've talked to the president of ABC News directly, and I have talked to the president-elect. And look, we all have enormous respect for Martha Raddatz as a journalist. ... I would like to broaden the conversation if I may in terms of ..."
Rachel did not allow her to spin away.
"But wait. Are we going to get an apology from the president-elect on that?" Maddow forcefully asked. "He is telling a story about her that is not true and telling it to great effect and having people jeer her. Will he correct this?"
"So, apologies like that are not made publicly necessarily," Kellyanne responded.
"But the accusation was made publicly," said Maddow.
"So the accusation was made by a number of people," Kellyanne said. "I am just telling you I've got an update to what you presented there. That's all I will say. And it will make you happy."
"Just to stay specific to Martha Raddatz here," Maddow said. "He did say something about her publicly that isn't true and until he corrects it publicly, the people who heard him say it will continue to believe an untrue thing about a woman who doesn't deserve it. I will just make that case to you."
Rachel Maddow then moved on a $150 Million suit Melania Trump has against a random small blogger.
"And I have one other thing on this I want to ask you," Rachel said. "I don't think you've ever commented on. Peter Thiel is part of the transition. He put a news organization out of business. He did not like how Gawker.com covered him in Silicon Valley. So he funded a legal strategy against them. They got sued for over $100 million. It made that company go away. They no longer exist because Peter Thiel sued them out of existence. The lawyer he used to do that, is now representing Melania Trump in a lawsuit that she has filed against a blogger you've never heard of. She's filed a $150 million lawsuit against a blogger. Is that going o continue after inauguration? Is the Trump family going to sue to bankrupt news outlets?"
"That's not the goal here," Kellyanne responded. "The goal here is, to tell the truth. ..."
"The first lady of the United States," said a probing Maddow. "You get it wrong. You apologize, and you retract it. You will continue to be sued, perhaps as an individual for over $100 million. That's going to continue?
"Hold on Rachel," Kellyanne protested. "Do you think an apology and a retraction undoes the damage? I think when Umpty Dumpty falls off the damn wall you can't put him back on it."
"You guys are endorsing this strategy," Rachel said incredulously.
"I didn't say that," Kellyanne said. "I am asking a question."
"But you are defending it," Rachel said.
"I am not defending it," Kellyanne replied. "I am defending her and her right to sue people who spread lies and vicious lies about her."
Maddow and Conway continued to dance around each other on these themes. But Rachel Maddow missed a significant opportunity. Trump lied about many people. His lies border on outright slander. When Conway justified Melania's suit even after an apology, Rachel should have asked if that is a courtesy afforded everyone that Donald Trump lied about.