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About (Late) Last Night: Rachel Maddow and David Letterman take on Fox News

December 16, 2010 |  7:08 am

David Letterman and Rachel Maddow are likely allies when it comes to the war against Fox News. On Wednesday night's episode of the "Late Show," the MSNBC host gladly took Letterman's bait to criticize the network, just a week after Fox News host Bill O'Reilly -- a "blowhard" in Letterman's words -- sat in the same guest chair.

"Fox News is a presence that voices, I think, conservative view points," prefaced Letterman. "I've heard that," said Maddow. MSNBC, Letterman said, tends to skew more liberal. "Some of us do, not all of us," Maddow corrected. "Of the two, in terms of track record, which has the better accuracy?" Letterman asked. He knew the answer he was looking for -- it was the same one he received. 

"I, of course, think we are much more true than Fox is true," Maddow said. "The problem that is reasonable to assert about Fox and its coverage is that they make up stories out of whole cloth and then make a big deal out of them." Maddow went on to rattle off a few "fake" Fox News stories. Letterman agreed, noting Fox personnel's "very high threshold of embarrassment." They "never consider apologizing" when they get things wrong, he said. 

"That whole network is run as a political operation to elect candidates, to fund raise for causes, to have rallies against Democratic ideas and politicians," Maddow said. 

Letterman went on to call Rush Limbaugh a "fatty" as he struggled, perhaps in jest, to remember the radio host's name before referring to Glenn Beck as a "loony." But in regards to Beck, Maddow had some kind words.

"He was the most talented radio personality of my entire generation," she said. "He was incredibly performative." And now? "He mostly just talks about himself, and it's not as fun," she said. 

"That power of being able to entertain people while giving them some info and some explanation about the world -- and moving them in some cases to your point of view -- it's a power to be respected," Maddow explained. "But you can move people into dangerous areas if you don't care about the truth or what you're saying."

-- Joe Coscarelli

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