Maddow Accused Of Fearmongering For Segment On Hypothetical Russian Attack On Power Grid

Maddow Accused Of Fearmongering For Segment On Hypothetical Russian Attack On Power Grid

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow is taking heat from both leftists and conservatives over a recent segment that featured her speculating about a potential foreign attack on America’s power grid as much of the nation is dealing with crippling cold weather due to the polar vortex.

Prior to interviewing Wall Street Journal’s Rebecca Smith about her recent piece on Russian hackers targeting the country’s electric grid and how vulnerable the system is to future attacks, Maddow discussed a hypothetical situation revolving around Russia flipping the power switch on regions currently battling the extreme cold.

“And it is like negative 50 degrees in the Dakotas right now. What would happen if Russia killed the power in Fargo today?” Maddow asked. “What would happen if all the natural gas lines that service Sioux Falls just poofed on the coldest day in recent memories, and it wasn’t in our power whether or not to turn them back on?”

She continued, “What would you do if you lost heat indefinitely as the act of a foreign power on the same day the temperature in your front yard matched the temperature in Antarctica? I mean, what would you and your family do?”

Turning to Smith, the MSNBC anchor noted that the recent warning from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats was in line what Smith had been reporting on the vulnerabilities with America’s power grids and systems. Smith said one of the things she found interesting in the most recent intelligence assessment was that “no longer is the federal government describing these things as a hypothetical.”

“That’s really a dramatic turn-about,” she added. “And I think it shows that this is really a matter of utmost national security.”

Maddow’s alarmist tone and theorizing of nefarious Russian cyberattacks caused a number of journalists and reporters to take her to task for what they saw as conspiratorial fearmongering.

Podcaster Adam Johnson compared Maddow today to Glenn Beck ten years ago, calling it the “greatest crossover event in history.”

He took exception to Maddow asking her audience what would they and their families do, likening it to “2002 George Bush fear-mongering.”

The Nation’s Aaron Mate also took aim at the MSNBC star, stating this was “a good example of Russiagate peddlers like @Maddow not ignoring, but *using* serious issues like life-threatening cold weather for conspiracy and fear-mongering.”

Other leftist Russiagate skeptics and Maddow critics also chimed in, including — you guessed it — Glenn Greenwald:

Meanwhile, Russia propaganda news outlets RT and Sputnik published critical pieces on Maddow’s segment, as well as pro-Trump right-wing site Breitbart.

On Thursday afternoon, Maddow tweeted out an apparent response to the criticism, providing a link to the DNI’s threat assessment along with screenshots of sections on the electric grids and gas pipelines.

Watch the clip above, via MSNBC.

Justin Baragona

Justin Baragona is the founder/publisher of Contemptor and a contributor to The Daily Beast. He was previously the Cable News Correspondent for Mediaite and prior to starting Contemptor, he worked on the editorial staff of PoliticusUSA. During that time, he had his work quoted by USA Today and BBC News, among others. Justin began his published career as a political writer for 411Mania. He resides in St. Louis, MO with his wife and pets.