MSNBC Bemoans 'Lack of Civility' in GOP Concession Speeches, Doesn't Specifically Mention Dems

MSNBC's "Jansing & Co." ran the headline "Sore Losers?" during the 11 a.m. EDT hour, featuring concession speeches of three GOP candidates in the election. The anchor, Chris Jansing, asked "Where's the civility?" but made no specific mention of Democrat "sore losers."

"Whatever happened to the gracious concession speech, and whatever happened to that phone call to your opponent?" Jansing complained. "Is civility dead?"

In its lambasting of Republicans, perhaps MSNBC forgot about Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who arrogantly ripped Republicans for dirty tactics and proclaimed the Boston Herald "irrelevant" – after his victory. Or maybe they overlooked President Obama as he recently labeled conservatives and Republicans "the enemy" on Hispanic radio.

"This is not just the Republicans in the clips that you just showed, but it's Democrats as well, including President Obama himself, who have shown a lack of civility at times in the debate," retorted GOP strategist Alex Conant.
 

The network featured clips of the following GOP candidates: New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino brandishing a baseball bat at his concession speech, Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell asking her opponent to watch one of her commercials, and California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina refusing to concede the election even though network news had called it.

Christine O'Donnell revealed to the audience that she told her opponent to watch one of her campaign commercials "so that he can see what's going on in Delaware the way I have."

The network's headline for Paladino's stunt was "Sore Losers? Paladino Wields Bat In Concession Speech." For O'Donnell's plea with her opponent, it was "Sore Losers? O'Donnell Lectures Winner About Responsibilities." And for Fiorina, it was "Sore Losers? Fiorina Claimed 'Dead Heat Tie' Despite Calls She Lost."

"I think the returns were still coming in," argued Conant concerning Fiorina's initial refusal to concede.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on November 4 at 11:42 a.m. EDT, is as follows:

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC anchor: And speaking of the midterms, we've been asking this question. Whatever happened to the gracious concession speech, and whatever happened to that phone call to your opponent? After a bitter and divisive campaign season, some candidates really don't sound like they were taking the high road after losing Tuesday night.

(Video Clip)

(Headline: "Sore Losers? Paladino Wields Bat In Concession Speech)

CARL PALADINO: I have a message for Andrew Cuomo. (...) As our next governor, you can grab this handle and bring the people with you to Albany. Or you can leave it untouched, and run the risk of having it wielded against you. Because make no mistake, you have not heard the last of Carl Paladino.

(Headline: "Sore Losers? O'Donnell Lectures Winner About Responsibilities")

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL: We have won. The Delaware political system will never be the same. (...) I just got off the phone with my opponent. (...) I asked him to watch that 30 minute commercial that we did, so that he can see what's going on in Delaware the way I have.

(Headline: "Sore Losers? Fiorina Blasts Decision to Call CA Senate Race")  

CARLY FIORINA: We are in a dead heat tie.  

(Headline: "Sore Losers? Fiorina Claimed 'Dead Heat Tie' Despite Calls She Lost")

FIORINA: But all those people who've already declared this race, maybe that was probably not a smart thing to do.

(End Video Clip)

(...)

JANSING: Is it just me, or... I don't know, just pick up the phone, call your opponent, congratulate them, say they ran a nice campaign, and move on.

JEFF JOHNSON: BET News correspondent: But we've started to see such a lack of civility in the campaigns, that is difficult when the results come in, for then you just take three steps back and now be civil.

JANSING: But they've been doing it throughout history, there have been tough campaigns throughout history, haven't there?

ALEX CONANT, GOP Strategist: Yeah, absolutely. But let's remember that part of the reason that Washington, D.C. isn't very civil is because there are big disagreements, Republicans have big disagreements with the Democrats, and I'm sure vice-versa –   

JANSING: Does that stop you from congratulating the person?

SHUSHANNAH WALSHE, The Daily Beast: It shouldn't stop civility, it shouldn't stop – and those three clips that you showed, I mean it seemed like they weren't even understanding that they lost, that they were still going to be part of the debate. You lost, you are not going to be part of the debate. You can call and say "Hey this is my advice," but it's – I mean, you're not part of the conversation.   

JOHNSON: The rhetoric that we've seen in Washington, D.C. has not been friendly at all, it's been beyond argumentative, it's been beyond heated. And I don't know if we've ever been in a time across the board where, whether it's on this network or other networks where people are mean-spirited in the things that they're saying about those on the other side of the aisle, not just competitive.

JANSING: I mean, in that clip Carly Fiorina was refusing to concede to Barbara Boxer, even though the networks had called the race.

CONANT: Well I think the returns were still coming in. But let's remember, it was President Obama during the election who referred to the Republicans and conservatives as "the enemy" when he was on Hispanic radio. I mean this is not just the Republicans in the clips that you just showed, but it's Democrats as well, including President Obama himself, who have shown a lack of civility at times in the debate.

JANSING: You know what's interesting, before you guys came in, I had a newly-elected Congressman in who's a Tea Party candidate who's from Staten Island. And, you know, he said he believes he can go and work with the Democrats and he in fact does not believe that President – the number one thing should be to get rid of President Obama. He said that's not why people sent us to Washington, and I said "Well you come back a couple of months after going to Washington and tell me if you think that you can work with the Democrats now, or if you can even work with the members of your own party. Is civility dead?

CONANT: I sure hope it's not dead. I think that there are big disagreements, but we can do it in a respectful way. You know, in fact the guy I work for, Tim Pawlenty, he's the Govnernor of Minnesota, you know he –

JANSING: We've heard of him.

CONANT: Exactly, and he – hopefully you'll hear more about him. But he – he has succeeded in Minnesota in part, which is a very liberal state, in part by offering conservative ideas in a common-sense, responsible way, not just yelling at the other side. And he's succeeded in Minnesota, hopefully he'll succeed elsewhere.

JANSING: I hate to go ___, but are you really telling me Alex that Tim Pawlenty is not worried about Sarah Palin, that the Tim Pawlentys and the other people who are being mentioned for Republican presidential candidates are not worried about Sarah Palin, not trying to get her out of the race?

CONANT: I think that the media is – it says a lot that the media's already obcessed about 2012. We're still counting  ballots on 2010 in Minnesota. I don't think that – I think it's –

JOHNSON: It's a very important question, and he's not going to answer the question.

WALSHE: We should have this conversation in a year.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014