Sunday, February 10, 2008

MSNBC Has Been Sinking in My Eyes

The Shuster Incident Was Bound to Happen
Conditions Lately at MSNBC Have Infected the Field for Such Rot

The Moderate Voice is talking about the unfortunate incident on MSNBC late last week when David Shuster, subbing for Tucker Carlson, used a term that sounded pejorative to the Clinton campaign ( and to me ) about the intentions of young Chelsea Clinton. Had he made the same comment about one of Obama's relatives, I suspect it may have gotten the journalist fired by now or the apology would've come more quickly and more sincere-sounding. [Remember what was done to Don Imus]. I'm not saying the firing would be justified, but I think I have a good handle on the decidedly different levels of reactions from MSM [particularly MSNBC] when a comment is made by a journalist that is deemed or considered to be race-based vs. sexist.

We cannot and should not tolerate double-standards.

Shuster is One of the Best They Have and Should Not Be Fired

No one has asked that Mr. Shuster be fired...nor do I think he should be. [The stuff I see going around the blogosphere about Hillary asking for Shuster's head seem to be pure hype...not true as far as anything I've officially seen].

I'm tired of the witch-hunts on individual journalists when the network itself is clearly the problem.

I appreciate David Shuster and the work he's been doing at MSNBC. On many occasions, I've seen him stand up to the decidedly loud-mouthed Joe Scarborough and challenge him with reality-based facts when Scarborough's off on one of his fact-free rants. [SEE THIS EXAMPLE]

I deeply regret that Mr. Shuster made this kind of comment about Chelsea Clinton's part in her mother's close and historic campaign against Barack Obama. I think he should've just apologized right away when Mrs. Clinton and her campaign communicated a strong opinion on the matter. The e-mail trail [see it HERE] between Mr. Shuster and Philippe Reines, Press Secretary for the Clinton campaign makes it quite apparent that Mr. Shuster did not wish (or was not ready, for whatever reason) to take responsibility for what I see as clearly an obnoxious, sexist, and unprofessional thing to have said about Chelsea Clinton...whether or not she's submitted to any of MSNBC's request for interviews. When a refusal of an interview from a campaigning family member is set as part of a fitting reason for harsh commentary, which can be clearly inferred from this professional journalist's subsequent communications, I think that the Clintons have a right to call for corrective action.

Mr. Shuster's e-mail to Mr. Reines with the interview-rationalization for his "pimped-out" commentary seems to have been a strawman thrown up in the e-mail reply to the Clinton campaign as Mr. Shuster's own [decidedly unconvincing] self-defense.

As a mother of a young adult myself, I don't think that Chelsea Clinton deserved to be classified as little more than a political whore for the Clinton campaign. (What else does the wiseguy-term "pimped-out" figuratively refer to and why are Cable News network pundits thinking they should be loosely throwing around such talk and not expect public outrage?) For the love of decency, the act of a daughter campaigning passionately for her mother, the first woman who stands a great chance to be elected President of the United States, is not at all what I'd call "unseemly".

I suspect MSNBC is caving to the effects of the Obama campaign whining "Unfair!" that Mrs. Clinton has an ex-President for a spouse and a former "first-daughter" campaigning for her in this historic and suspenseful race. It doesn't mean the public thinks it's unseemly for them to be making calls to key people on his wife's (or her mother's)behalf. Why should MSNBC be so willing to contribute to building such a frame?

There are individual occasions when many of us, as individuals, have failed to see how we've hurt or done harm to others. I have a feeling that David Shuster didn't initially realize, in the heat of slipping into the Tucker Carlson-mode on MSNBC, that he said something that a lot of us..especially women..saw as dreadfully mean-spirited and unprofessional.

I've personally heard Joe Scarborough and Chris Matthews and some others on MSBNC say a good many more things in passing about Hillary Clinton - much of it sexist tripe - that I've lately been disgusted about. It started before the South Carolina primary with the manufactured race-card hype and has gotten only worse since that time.

For one example, there are more Democratic voters in Florida alone than there are in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina combined. DNC-sanctioned or not, the Florida primary took place. Obama-backer John Kerry called it a "fabricated race" because no delegates would be produced after the many real votes from real voters cast that night in Florida. Wolf Blitzer of CNN was up on the big projection screen at the Signature Grand Hotel in South Florida on the night of the primary while voters awaited the primary results and what was on MSNBC? Nothing. You wouldn't have even thought one Democrat in Florida had driven to the polls that evening. Yet, if a tree falls in the woods and no one's there to hear it, and more than a million leaves were cast from the tree, does it mean the tree didn't fall? If you're MSNBC, the vote never took place...a million or more votes were cast away and no one was supposed to even LOOK.

Going back to my own Daily Kos commentary:

Hillary Clinton showed respect for the voters..real citizens with no convention voice, by simply going to them after all was said and done and simply THANKING them for her victory [in Florida].

I noticed that MSNBC last night failed to even SHOW the results of Florida on the FLA updates last night, while both CNN and FOX didn't hide them from our sight.

Who was playing politics? MSNBC.

When we, voters from across the country, are barred from seeing the progress of one state's Democratic primary simply because the DNC took their delegates from the state (punishment enough), I see it as a form of censorship that shouldn't happen in MSM.

There was still voting in that state...and millions voted! Hardly something to be ignored for its raw result, delegates notwithstanding. - January 30, 2008
I've turned MSNBC off since that night. I wonder if they'll try to change?

Bottom-line, I like David Shuster. It's his network I'm far more concerned about.



- [Media Matters/David Brock] Statement from David Brock on Pattern of Sexist/Misogynistic Outbursts on MSNBC: "The Time for Apologies Has Passed"

- [Media Matters on how the rot spreads] Wash. Post suggested Clinton camp's "outrage" over Shuster comments is inconsistent with Chelsea's continued role
Summary: A Washington Post article stated that Chelsea Clinton "is continuing to campaign for her mother despite the campaign's outrage over a remark made by an MSNBC host, David Shuster, that she is being 'pimped out' by the campaign on her mother's behalf"; the article did not explain how the two facts are inconsistent.


benny06 said...

Jude, I have only brief things to say.

First, I haven't explored who the executives and producers are at the MSNBC pundit shows. But they are desperate to compete with Fox News, which is really isn't a news organization; its parent admits to being about its goal to be an entertainment one.

Thus MSNBC is trying to compete with Fox News. Except Olbermann's
, most are not fair and balanced, and tend to parrot Fox News.

Fox News has not attacked the Clintons in this regard, knowing that Murdoch gave Clinton money for her campaign, so in one instance, they are sorta staying out.

That said, as much as Gwen Ifill totally infuriated me with her mistruths in 2006 about John Edwards and the debates in 2004 betwn Edwards and Chney. She was not hard on Cheney who got a free pass; instead she crapped on Edwards.

Today she was admitting to be a student of rhetoric and message framing on MTP today. She gave me hope in presenting quick bites about the Superdelegates without sounding overly biased. Donna Brazille was the star of the day.

Chancelucky said...

To be honest, I'm just tired of all the attention paid to the "horse race" aspects of the election.
There actually was a time when the news paid attention to the candidates' positions, their records, and their public history.

I do think Shuster was out of line....still it drives me a little nuts that this sort of thing always swallows the news cycle.