While many on the right expressed concern for the media's sympathetic treatment of Times Square car bomber Faisal Shahzad, New York Times columnist Frank Rich is far more worried about how MSNBC couldn't take its cameras off the White House Correspondents' Dinner to even mention what was happening in the Big Apple.
According to Rich, as he was watching the festivities on that gross caricature of a news outlet, the attempted bombing "didn’t even merit a mention on a crawl."
"MSNBC was instead busy covering the correspondents dinner itself, so we could feast on journalists schmoozing with mostly B-list show business folk — and sometimes C-list, as in Kim Kardashian," he wrote Sunday.
And that was just the beginning of his criticism:
That MSNBC couldn't be bothered to interrupt its two-hour coverage of these festivities to report on the attempted bombing was particularly embarrassing, given that the network's headquarters are just blocks from Times Square. If NBC journalists in the Washington Hilton ballroom were too busy gawking at Justin Bieber to pounce on the bulletins moving through the BlackBerry-and-Twittersphere, you'd think someone back in New York would.
Apparently little short of King Kong climbing up 30 Rock could have grabbed the network's attention. When MSNBC did take a brief break from the dinner for news updates at 9:30, Times Square didn't make the cut. Whether this was due to ignorance, ineptitude or an unwillingness to play party pooper is a distinction without a difference. Real-time coverage of Leno bombing (since when is that news?) mattered more than any actual bombs. Only as the dinner wound down, at 10:54, did MSNBC at last muster a "breaking news" bulletin about the Times Square story that had in fact been breaking for hours. Even then, we were told that NBC News couldn't independently confirm the facts MSNBC was recycling from Reuters.
A liberal bashing MSNBC. Fascinating.
Yet Rich didn't only go after that joke of a cable news network. He also bashed all the journalists in attendance who also felt the affair was more important than a possible terrorist attack:
As we venerate the heroic street vendors who gave America its reality check last weekend, we should remember that they were the first to report what was happening in Times Square and that those covering and attending the White House Correspondents Dinner were the last.
Well, Frank, a journalist has to have his priorities.