Okay, I can understand that MSNBC President Phil Griffin would feel terribly embarrassed by a dopey Cinco De Mayo studio stunt in which a pale yanqui dressed in a sombrero staggered across the set while taking swigs of tequila (video after the jump). However what is really bizarre about Griffin's contrition is that it also takes the form of declaring that he now gets nervous while walking by Mexican restaurants and becomes upset at the mere sight of a sombrero. I kid you not. And if you doubt me, Griffin is quoted about his new obsessions in the Huffington Post.
To see why Griffin is so contrite complete with strange side effects, read Mark Finkelstein's description of the Cinco De Mayo boomerang in Newsbusters:
While a guest on the 92Y American Conversation program on Sunday, TIME magazine political analyst Joe Klein vented to host Jeff Greenfield of the Public Broadcasting System: “I miss being able to turn on a straight newscast” after returning home at 6 o'clock on weekdays.
He added that the only place he can find such a program in that format and at that time is the Fox News series Special Report With Bret Baier before declaring: “It is such an embarrassment to our profession" that the Cable News Network “has gone in the toilet the way it has.”
In a lengthy item "as told to Joe Hagan" at NYMag.com's The Vulture, actor, commercial pitchman, and brief MSNBC host Alec Baldwin makes it very clear that he is fed up with a lot of things.
There is plenty of material for discussion in his writeup. I want to focus on what he sees as his mistreatment at the hands of MSNBC and the self-described "progressive" community. Unfortunately, after said mistreatment, it's clear that he still doesn't get the difference between legitimate if strident criticism and expressions of over-the-top hatred, as the excerpts which follow will show (bolds are mine):
During an interview with Joy Reid, whose new MSNBC weekday show -- The Reid Report -- begins airing at 2 p.m. on Monday, February 24, the perennial network guest stated she is taking a radically different approach than most of her counterparts on the “Lean Forward” network.
“I’m not on there to do an hour of why Republicans suck,” the African-American woman said. “I don’t think I have to do that. I think what MSNBC does really well is to have a really smart conversation both with the left and the right. We may not get that right all the time, but I don’t know a mean-spirited person in this building.”
The notion that MSNBC is now the most controversial gaffe-a-minute cable news network has been ratified by the Associated Press. AP media reporter David Bauder wrote a story headlined “Loose lips give ammunition to MSNBC foes.”
“Since MSNBC is in the political ring, its opponents are always on the lookout for things to attack,” Bauder wrote. “Lately, NBC's left-leaning cable news sister has offered plenty of ammunition.”
When anyone can be described as left of MSNBC, they are heading into fringe territory. Or as Bill Press thinks of it, home sweet home.
In yet another futile attempt to remain relevant, Press on his radio show lashed out at MSNBC for apologizing for a Twitter post last week claiming that conservatives might "hate" a new Cheerios commercial featuring a biracial family. (Audio after the jump).
On Thursday, MSNBC President Phil Griffin apologized for a Twitter post suggesting conservatives (“the rightwing”) are racists who would “hate” a cute new Cheerios ad because it featured a biracial family: “The tweet last night was outrageous and unacceptable. We immediately acknowledged that it was offensive and wrong, apologized, and deleted it. We have dismissed the person responsible for the tweet.”
Griffin’s statement was a good first step, but if an apology is owed for this tweet, then MSNBC owes conservatives many, many more. The Media Research Center has compiled a long list of instances in which the network’s anchors have committed character assassination disguised as journalism, unjustly smearing conservatives, Republicans and the Tea Party as racists. Here are just some of the many outrageous examples we have documented:
As the latest MSNBC scandal and firing unfolded over a tweet insisting the "rightwing" would hate an "adorable" Cheerios ad with a biracial family, MRC president Brent Bozell appeared on "The Kelly File" on Fox News Channel to discuss NBC's "Lean Forward" offshoot.
MSNBC said this conservatives-hate-racial-mixing tweet is "not who we are." Bozell said, oh yes, that's exactly who you are. It's a network that seems to uncork scurrilous character assassination every week. (video and transcript below):
During an interview with Lloyd Grove of the Daily Beast website, MSNBC president Phil Griffin strained at gnats when he stated that his network “has never had an ideology” but insisted that the dominant Fox News Channel does.
“An ideology is a single thought across all programs,” he said. “We’ve never had that.” However, Griffin asserted, MSNBC instead has“a progressive sensibility,” which he claimed is not the same as an ideology. “Obviously, I hire people who fit the sensibility” because “we do stay true to facts. You have to build your argument. That's why I call it a sensibility.”
Phil Griffin, head of the MSNBC cable television channel, told Marisa Guthrie of the Hollywood Reporter that he accepts responsibility for recent embarrassments that led Alec Baldwin and Martin Bashir to leave the network and Melissa Harris-Perry to offer a tearful on-air apology.
"These were judgment calls made by some of our people. We handled them. We were transparent. That is our philosophy: Be factual, and step up when you make a mistake,” Griffin asserted. “We took responsibility for them and took action. They were unfortunate,” but “I don't think it hurt us in any way.”
As NewsBusters has reported for years, the conservative-leaning Koch brothers are a routine target of the liberal media for their contributions to causes that don’t fit the left’s agenda.
On Monday, Koch Industries accused MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow of misrepresenting its donations to falsely assert the billionaire brothers are supporting laws in Florida to drug test welfare recipients.
In researching this accusation, NewsBusters has discovered that neither Maddow nor anyone at MSNBC bothered to contact the organization the Kochs are alleged to be connected to.
Maybe even worse, Maddow didn't bother informing viewers that Comcast, the media conglomerate that owns NBC Universal which includes MSNBC, is actually a contributor to the same alleged conduit the Kochs are.
After a string of high-profile embarrassments, MSNBC appears to have decided that perhaps letting the inmates run the asylum is not the best of ideas.
According to a piece out today by National Review, the low-rated cable news channel has assigned an executive to review the scripts of its shows before they are aired as a way of trying to prevent such premeditated disasters like Martin Bashir wishing for Sarah Palin to be defecated upon.
MSNBC president Phil Griffin announced this morning that 11 a.m. anchor Thomas Roberts would be getting a new year's promotion... to the 5:30 a.m. Eastern program, Way Too Early, the lead-in to Morning Joe. Roberts will vacate his present MSNBC Live gig but also be awarded a regular contributor slot on the Morning Joe panel.
“This is a very exciting opportunity and right in line with my career goals and aspirations,” Roberts was quoted in an MSNBC.com story, adding:
The New York Postreported Tuesday that MSNBC's Up Late with Alec Baldwin has been cancelled in the wake of the host's most recent gay slur. Yet eleven days after Martin Bashir said someone should defecate and urinate in former Alaska governor Sarah Palin's mouth, the vile host with some of the lowest ratings on cable television still hasn't been punished in any way.
Baldwin apparently sees the same hypocrisy, and toldGothamist Tuesday, "Martin Bashir's on the air, and he made his comment on the air!"
During Wednesday night's edition of The O'Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel, Bill O'Reilly slammed Martin Bashir for his vulgar comments about defecating and urinating on former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, and guest Howard Kurtz said it's “stunning” that MSNBC has yet to discipline its weekday afternoon anchor.
Even though Bashir apologized for his disgusting remarks on Monday, Kurtz -- who called him “sad, pathetic and disgusting” on Tuesday -- stated that the network should still have “fired his butt” or at least uttered “a single syllable” denouncing “this kind of vitriol” instead of “looking the other way.”
Just as MSNBC went Hollywood and hired Alec Baldwin as a talk-show host, now they’ve hired the 25-year-old son of actress Mia Farrow. Ronan Farrow, currently buzzed about as potentially the son of Frank Sinatra, has been dabbling as an Obama State Department adviser since he was 22. He's projected to be a weekday MSNBC host starting early in 2014, but there's no word on who's getting dumped. (Uh-oh: straight, white, male Chuck Todd is an ancient 41, for example.)
“We're always trying evolve the message here and how to get ideas across. And he was an original thinker. And that's the most important thing,” said MSNBC boss Phil Griffin. If you believe Al Sharpton represents “evolving the message,” then that might make sense. For his part, Farrow landed in the Lean Forward camp of heavy citizen “involvement” and “empowerment” (bias) in the cable-news product:
Never mind Baldwin's old dreams of killing Osama bin Laden and then killing Vice President Dick Cheney with the terrorist's corpse. "If MSNBC is supposed to be a smart, enthusiastic place for intelligent analysis and discussion, Baldwin brings a dash of celebrity and sex appeal to that mission." His apparent tryout for MSNBC came with a talk show/podcast called "Here's The Thing" on New York's taxpayer-funded radio station WNYC, and he passed for liberals with flying colors:
As NewsBusters previously reported, MSNBC president Phil Griffin told the New York Times in June that his network is "not the place" for breaking news.
This was evident again this past Saturday when MSNBC actually saw a 20 percent week-over-week decline during the busy news period when President Obama announced that he was going to Congress for approval to attack Syria.
Even the lefties at The New Yorker magazine know that Fox offers more space to liberals than MSNBC does to conservatives. Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple's headline was "MSNBC: Must-agree TV."
The New Yorker's Kelefa Sanneh (for eight years a music critic at The New York Times) profiled MSNBC and declared point blank that "Conservatives are far less visible on MSNBC than liberals are on Fox News." He absolutely nailed how Phil Griffin's shows prefer Republicans who trash the right-wingers as fanatics:
The Hollywood trade magazine Variety offered an article asking “MSNBC: Too Much Opinion and Not Enough News? Focus on commentary and advocacy may be dampening viewership”. It has no “news” anchor for breaking events. Variety’s Brian Steinberg asked “Who is the face of MSNBC should terrorism cripple a major American city?"
Steinberg says the strong turn left into all-opinion programming originally helped during Obama’s ascent, but they’re slipping now in Obama's second term. Author Jeffrey McCall suggesting the emerging Obama scandals are demoralizing their audience:
"The Five" on Fox News Channel didn't cover more than a few seconds of President Obama's petulant Rose Garden attack on conservatives making Wednesday "a shameful day for Washington." The other networks, which define "news" as anything their Heroic President chooses to utter, including his March Madness picks, were shocked and appalled.
In Thursday's New York Times, Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC, noted that ABC, CBS and NBC had broadcast special reports because they deemed the president’s remarks important. Griffin denounced Fox’s decision to skip it as “a disgrace.” At TV Newser, Fox broke out its smackdown machine:
Is it MSNBC or MSDNC? Andrew Kirell of Mediaite reported today that the left-wing commentary network has hired the Democratic National Committee’s director of video production, Anne Thompson, to produce the network’s newest weekend show Up with Steve Kornacki. Yet, this is just another episode in the annals of MSNBC’s revolving door of hiring Obamaites. MSNBC has already hired David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs, two high-level Obama campaign advisors. On top of that, other Obama acolytes Like Ben LaBolt are recurring guests on shows like Now with Alex Wagner.
If MSNBC’s president, Phil Griffin, was really trying to distance himself from the Democratic Party, this was a poor decision. Griffin has been trying to dispel the fledgling narrative that his network is nothing more than a communications outlet for the DNC.