On Monday, I pointed out that the lefty activist site Media Matters posted a sleazy hit on the Heritage Foundation's Overcriminalization project. Last night, Rachel Maddow used the same tactics on her MNSBC program.
Like Media Matters, Maddow wrongly assumes Heritage opposes every bill in the "Legislative Watch" section of its website (it's more a clearinghouse of all federal legislation related to crime), then also falsely equates opposition to a particular crime-fighting bill with being soft on whatever crime that bill's authors are purporting to fight. As the Popehat blog points out in discussing the original Media Matters post, that intellectually lazy tactic can be pretty easily turned against the person who is using it.
There are plenty of reasons to support some high-minded sounding bill giving broad new powers to the federal government to fight, say, the use of foreign slave labor other than secretly harboring pleasant thoughts about slave labor. Maddow seems to understand this point pretty well when, for example, she's talking about various powers the government has assumed in fighting the war on terror. I doubt she'd describe herself as pro-terrorism, or soft on terrorists. But toss in the word corporations and the phrase conservative think tank, and she's consumed by smug self-righteousness.
Somehow, Maddow has gotten the reputation for being above cheap partisan attacks. From what I've seen of her show, it's undeserved. And I say this as someone who probably agrees with Maddow about as often as I agree with Heritage.
The Heritage part of the segment starts at about the 5:30 mark.
NOTE: Video embed isn't working. You can watch the Maddow clip here.