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Globe Editorial

Brown vs. Maddow: The feud that isn’t

March 27, 2010

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The feud between Scott Brown and Rachel Maddow is a lot of hot air designed to serve the needs of the two principals: Campaign cash for Brown, a ratings boost for Maddow. Any umbrage is unwarranted and undeserved; serious readers will be excused if they just stop here.

To recap: Brown took advantage of a Facebook site touting the liberal talk-show host as his potential Senate challenger to try to scare conservatives into ponying up cash. No one’s being exploited here. Brown’s donors are presumably accustomed to the campaign-finance racket in which candidates try to rattle their own supporters into opening their wallets. Too bad for Brown that Barbra Streisand, Dan Rather, and Jane Fonda don’t reside in Massachusetts; he could probably scare up a lot more dough spreading rumors about them.

Maddow, however, took out a Globe ad to chide Brown, declaring that he should “think twice the next time he wants to smear one of his constituents. . .’’ But where’s the smear? The letter says nothing bad about her, and the notion that a talk-show host might join the Senate is hardly an insult. Of course, the ad carries the MSNBC logo and notes that Maddow’s show airs at 9 p.m. That’s for readers who don’t like Brown and find it exciting that Maddow is getting in his face. In other words, she’s using a conservative bogeyman to attract liberal viewers. Brown and Maddow have contrived a feud in which both sides win and neither deserves a modicum of sympathy.

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