MSNBC Skimps on Updating NASCAR Noose False Alarm

June 27th, 2020 5:44 AM

Over the past few days, several MSNBC anchors have shown substantially more interest in giving attention to the claim that someone used a noose to target NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace with a hate crime, but little to no interest in updating viewers when it turned out to be a false alarm.

Andrea Mitchell, in particular, devoted two segments to the initial story between Monday and Tuesday, totaling six minutes, 49 seconds, but has not mentioned it after the FBI concluded that no hate crime against Wallace had occurred.

Brian Williams, Katy Tur, Craig Melvin and Steve Kornacki also gave coverage to the initial story but never got around to updating viewers that it was a false alarm.

In all, between Monday at 6:00 a.m. Eastern and Tuesday at 5:00 p.m., MSNBC gave the story 51 minutes and 46 seconds, but, after news of the FBI's conclusions broke during Tuesday's MTP Daily, only eight minutes and 38 seconds were devoted to the update.

Fill-in MSNBC Live anchor Chris Jansing gave the update almost two minutes on Wednesday morning, Morning Joe gave it five and a half minutes, and Stephanie Ruhle devoted a mere 19 seconds.

By contrast, on CNN, as of Thursday afternoon when Brianna Keilar caught up with the story, nearly every anchor on CNN who covered the initial story took the time to update it except Brooke Baldwin and Jake Tapper. Baldwin's show on Wednesday was notably preempted by a speech from President Donald Trump about halfway through, and she was absent on Thursday.

Below is a transcript of the compete story that ran on Andrea Mitchell Reports from Tuesday, June 23:

12:37 p.m. Eastern

ANDREA MITCHELL: And the FBI is now investigating an unthinkable act of hate against NASCAR's only full-time black driver, Bubba Wallace. In the wake of the racist attack, Wallace is receiving an outpouring of support from his fellow drivers. NBC's Sam Brock has the latest.

SAM BROCK: In a 500-mile race at Talladega super speedway, it was this unforgettable stretch before the green flag dropped that will likely serve as an enduring image of generations of NASCAR fans.

BUBBA WALLACE, RACE CAR DRIVER: All in all, we won the day. The prerace deal was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to witness in my life.

BROCK: An emotional Bubba Wallace, the sport's only black driver, wept on the track as dozens of his fellow drivers and their crews showered him with love and support, pulling his number 43 car to the front of the line after Wallace was the apparent target of a hate crime.

WALLACE: I wanted to show whoever it was that you're not going to take away my smile, and I'm going to keep on going,

BROCK: The act that sickened the sports world, a noose left in Wallace's garage stall a week after he successfully lobbied NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag. Current drivers and former stars like Dale Earnhardt speaking out.

DALE EARNHARDT JR., RACE CAR DRIVER: There's a lot of people palling around Bubba, but I don't really know that any of us really understood how that felt.

BROCK: The FBI is investigating whether any federal laws were violated as NASCAR has launched its own investigation. Racing legend Richard Petty, who runs the team Wallace drives for, called what happened a "violation of human decency," tweeting in part: "There is absolutely no place in our sport or our society for racism."

MITCHELL: NBC's Sam Brock is at Alabama's Talladega Speedway. Sam, any progress on the FBI investigation? One of the things that's so remarkable is when this happened, there was no real fans allowed in at that point, so only insiders could have had access to that garage.

BROCK: Yeah, that's a great, great point, Andrea. As we are waiting, the FBI's investigation, the DOJ, NASCAR, all of them looking into what happened. The noose was found in a garage stall -- there's no access over there. Fans were able to go into the stands for the first time since NASCAR returned, but to get to the garage area, you have to be, Andrea, what they call "essential personnel," which would be teams, drivers, NASCAR officials, cleaning employees, security officials, somewhere under that umbrella.

But if you're not, it's not like the average Joe could just make their way back there and put something nefarious in a garage stall which is why now investigators are going to be looking at things like cameras and who is in there to try to glean whatever nuggets they can. No updates at this point on when we're going to get new information on developments.

MITCHELL: Thanks so much, Sam Brock. Such an important and emotional story.