When you’ve lost Glenn Greenwald…

On her July 6 show on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow spent 21 minutes going waaayyy off the deep end, floundering, and ultimately drowning herself in a supposed conspiracy she and her research team were sent.

Maddow spent an extended segment of her show peddling the idea that someone is deliberately forging highly classified NSA documents and sending them to news outlets to try to trap them into reporting false conspiracies. It’s similar to the way CNN was forced to issue retractions and fire reporters in the wake of its made-up Russian collusion story.

The crux of the conspiracy is that someone is peddling forged NSA documents that used the documents stolen from NSA by Reality Winner as a template, somehow obtained before they were published on The Intercept.

The implication is that someone is trying to make the mainstream media look bad by running with anonymous stories before they can be vetted, the same issue that caused CNN to “future endeavor” several employees over their coverage of the fake Russian collusion story.

At the 9:40 mark of the video, Maddow says, “This is where the story gets a little bit crazy.” In fact, the story started out crazy, and only got worse.

Longtime leftist Glenn Greenwald, of all people, felt it necessary to put out an article urging everyone to pump the brakes on Maddow’s line of crazy. He writes, in part:

Had MSNBC sought comment from The Intercept before broadcasting this story, they would have learned that the sole piece of evidence on which their entire theory was predicated — the time stamp that preceded The Intercept’s publication by a few hours — strongly suggests that whoever sent them the document did not have special, early, pre-publication access to it, but rather took it from The Intercept’s site.

Prior to publication of this article, The Intercept sent a series of questions to Maddow about all of this. She said MSNBC did not contact The Intercept prior to broadcasting her report “because we were really only working on the document you published, not in your reporting on it.”

As for the issues of the timeline, Maddow stressed that “we explicitly *didn’t* say it was sent to us prior to your publication. I said — and we even showed a calendar graphic to illustrate — that it was sent to us *after* you published. No one falsely made it appear that it was sent to us prior to your publication. It came to us afterwards — which is what I said on the air.”

Regarding our inquiries about the possibility that the metadata may have been changed, Maddow said: “yes, like I said on the air, we did look into the possibility of altering the metadata to change the apparent creation date, and, as I said, it could definitely have been altered.”

Despite the declaration by Greenwald, who published the original document at The Intercept, that Maddow’s theory is a giant nothingburger, Left-leaning outlets are taking the ball and running with it.

Mediaite breathlessly announced that Maddow had delivered on her tease:

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow teased a huge story tonight…and it appears that she delivered on it right at the top of her program.

Pointing out that she has a website to send tips and documents, the MSNBC anchor revealed that she was sent a document that appeared to be so classified that it was almost impossible to validate due to its classification level.

Mother Jones asks the provocative question, “Who’s Shopping Forged Documents to the Washington Press Corps?

So…who had access to the Winner file before it was published? Who’s peddling this stuff? Was it from a Trump opponent who meant it to be taken seriously but didn’t quite do the job well enough? Was it from a Trump supporter who hoped someone in the mainstream media would publish it and then look like a fool? Was it from someone in the intelligence community who wanted to sow seeds of doubt in news organizations that receive stolen documents? Good question!

As Maddow mentioned, two other news organizations have had to retract stories recently based on problems with “sourcing.” This might be part of a concerted effort to discredit the media looking into the Trump-Russia connection.

One wonders if Maddow might be involved in other sticky situations. Could this be an attempt to get out in front of charges of reporting on a story that is fraudulent?

Around 18:30, Maddow starts talking about Dan Rather and his made up story about George W. Bush’s National Guard service. Instead of presenting it as a straight up case of forgery that cost Dan Rather his career, Maddow frames it as a tragedy for news reporting. Her claim is that a potentially important story was never fully investigated because journalists didn’t want to touch it again after the controversy.

In other words, Bush could have been stopped if the news had only dug deeper into this conspiracy to paper over Bush’s dodging service in Vietnam. Similarly, the implication is that Trump can be stopped, if only the mainstream media will ignore the risks of being called out for purveying fake news and just do their jobs.