Rachel Maddow reacted incredulously to a report that a conservative think tank in Michigan has filed a Freedom of Information request to seek any emails that mention her from three state universities.
The request was uncovered by Talking Points Memo on Tuesday, and Maddow described it on her Tuesday show. She cast it as part of a growing pattern of broad FOIA requests from conservative politicians and organizations seeking to obtain access to the private emails of academics. Among other incidents, a University of Wisconsin professor has had his emails sought by Gov. Scott Walker.
"The latest incarnation of this breed of conservatism weirdly involves this show," Maddow said. As she described it, a conservative think tank in Michigan called the Mackinac Center submitted a FOIA request seeking any emails from labor professors at the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University. The center demanded any email that includes the words "Scott Walker," "Wisconsin," "Madison," and "Maddow."
Maddow said she thought that the Center's interest in her was due to her highlighting of a controversial bill in the state that seeks to allow the state government to declare a financial emergency in a town and send in an unelected official who can actually dissolve the town.
"This show was the first national news outlet to report in detail on that policy, and now, the Mackinack Center is demanding the emails of anybody who could be an expert on that subject who might have the temerity to type the word 'Maddow' in any context in an email," Maddow said. "How's that leave me alone personal liberty thing working out for you?"
She also noted that the Center is funded by many prominent conservative foundations, such as those of the Koch brothers, the Waltons, and the parents of Blackwater chief Erik Prince. In another segment, Maddow said her show had contacted all of the above foundations, as well as the Mackinac Center itself. None, she said, had been willing to talk to her.