It’s been quite a week for MSNBC, hasn’t it? Let’s review:
On Tuesday, Andrea Mitchell, channeling her inner Gerry Ford, though minus the gravitas and bipartisan bonhomie, declared that “Iran was more or less an American ally,” until that horrible, nasty George W. Bush declared them to be part of the Axis of Evil during his 2002 State of the Union address. Because yeah, from the Ayatollah Khomeini and his regime’s seizure of over 60 American hostages to Hitler-quoting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, there’s nothing evil about American-friendly Iran at all.
The following day, after President Obama’s boilerplate State of the Union, NBC’s senior political editor Mark Murray compares Mr. Obama to war hero Army Ranger Cory Remsburg, who has sustained multiple critical injuries fighting on the frontlines of America’s War on Terror. “That story could also apply to Obama himself: Nothing in his seven years on the national political stage (2007-2014) has come easy,” Murray wrote. “Obama’s M.O. is to grind it out. That, more than anything else, was the message he wanted to send last night — both he and the country are grinding it out.” Tyro MSNBC pundit Ronan Farrow of course immediately agreed with Murray’s cringe-worthy moral equivalence.
But all of that was merely a preview, an extended teaser, for last night:
Gee, let’s declare half the country racist, shall we? (And note that the above wasn’t an isolated Tweet, but part of a larger campaign from the network.) Especially after it was MSNBC itself that goofed on Mitt Romney’s adopted African-American grandson only a month ago. After show host Melissa Harris-Perry streamed crocodile tears on air to keep her job, PJM’s Rick Moran wrote:
I think what’s going on at MSNBC is the same thing that’s going on at many liberal blogs and in the liberal commentariat, not to mention in liberal salons and liberal coffee klatches all over the country. Harris-Perry, Baldwin, Bashir, Schultz, and Hayes are not doing anything differently in front of the camera than they do when in casual conversation among themselves and their liberal friends. The wildly exaggerated caricatures of conservatives they routinely use to describe their political opponents — ascribing evil intent to every action, every utterance — is part of liberal culture. It’s a laziness of thought and mind that has become second nature to them. And, secure in their arrogant belief of moral superiority, they fail to see their own racism, their own bigotry, their own hateful, hurtful attitudes unless someone steps out and throws it in their face.
It makes you think, what are they apologizing for? They’re not sorry. This is how they talk. This is what they think.
As I wrote in response to Rick’s post:
Indeed. “To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil,” Charles Krauthammer wrote over a decade ago. And viewing someone of a differing ideology as being evil is a very different stance than viewing him as simply uninformed or otherwise somehow misguided. In the past, serious epistemic closure has occured when cultures view related or competing ideologies, religions or races as the Other, who must be shunned at all costs, lest its citizens become contaminated by such “heresies” as Jewish Science, Bourgeois Pseudoscience, Acting Too White, and now as seen at MSNBC, humanizing eeeeeeevil Republicans, and even their relatives.
Today at Reason, Matt Welch notes that yesterday’s Tweet is yet another example of MSNBC’s relentless attempt to smear not just any politician with an (R) after his name as “The Other,” but their supporters as well:
MSNBC, on whose shows I have happily participated* (see update below), engages daily in the othering business, of making conservatism itself (and sometimes libertarianism, and other non-Progressive ideological strains) a disreputable condition, explicable in terms of pathology. That this is done in the name of tolerance and sensitivity to punitive stereotypes is one of the ironies of our age.
Well, it’s not actually exclusive to “our age” — the Frankfurt School and its allies attempted to smear Republicans and nascent conservatism as some sort of mental illness over half a century ago; using racism as a tool is simply the latest method. And as Welch notes in the headline of his post, “It’s Not Just MSNBC Making Flip Assumptions About Non-Liberal Racism.” As early as 2008, the left-leaning Politico Website spotlighted “The Liberal Bletchley Park” and its ability to”detect” racism where none exists, when first Hillary supporters and then Republicans were accused of unconscious racism — or heck, as one frequent MSNBC panelist declared, “racism straight up,” whenever they disagreed with Barack Obama’s fiscal policies.
But the MSM used to be more subtle at attacking their ideological opponents. Because MSNBC does it in such a crude and vicious fashion, and on a near-daily basis — and this one in particular was quite simple for conservatives to very visibly pushback against on Twitter — the Comcast-owned network is inadvertently shining a very bright light on the tactics of their fellow leftists, which they’ve finally begun to notice, as Ace writes:
MSNBC is embarrassing progressives, particularly progressive journalists, who still wish to pretend that they are offering unbiased reportage and non-partisan analysis on current affairs.
MSNBC will not permit them to cling to that vanity. MSNBC will not allow them that pretense.
MSNBC is basically your drunk, crude, arrested-deveolopment man-child friend who still acts like he’s 18 even though you, and he, have all turned 35. You invite him to a dinner party, hoping, for once, that he will behave as an adult. You wish to behave as an adult yourself. You’d like a nice dinner party, where people sort of slightly put on airs a bit (what we used to call “behaving properly”) and attempt to be a little more refined, and witty, and cosmopolitan than they really are in their daily lives.
But your friend won’t have that. He insists on insists on puncturing everyone’s vanities and bringing them down to his level by putting on a show of crudeness, boorishness, and general jackassery.
That’s MSNBC. Many progressive reporters would like to think of themselves as somewhat elevated. MSNBC will not allow them that. MSNBC will give them no place to hide. MSNBC will allow them no cover, not even an inch of it.
In a way, MSNBC is conservatives’ best friend: We attempt to puncture the smug illusions that progressive media types have about themselves, but only MSNBC is really doing so.
And so MSNBC tells progressive reporters: This is what you really are. This is not what you wish to be, or what you pretend to be; this is what you really are, down deep, past the veneer of pretense and posturing. In your gut, you’re just low, crude, unthinking partisan animals.
In response to MSNBC’s latest meltdown, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus called for a GOP boycott of MSNBC, as Guy Benson writes at Hot Air:
Reince Priebus blasted out the following memo to all RNC staff, surrogates and strategists, urging Republicans of all stripes to refuse to appear on the network until its president personally apologizes for this most recent episode in an interminable string of nasty racial attacks against conservatives:
Unfortunately, this tweet is just the latest in a pattern of poor statements by MSNBC and its hosts. This morning I left a message with MSNBC President Phil Griffin to express my displeasure. I have sent him a letter demanding that he personally, as president of the network, take responsibility and apologize for the disgusting tweet. Until he takes internal corrective action and personally apologizes—not just to the RNC but to all right-of-center Americans—I’m banning all RNC staff from appearing on, associating with, or booking any RNC surrogates on MSNBC. As an elected official, strategist, or surrogate, I’m asking for you to agree to the same. We can have our political disagreements with MSNBC, but using biracial families to launch petty and ridiculous political attacks is low, even by MSNBC’s standards. It only coarsens our political discourse. MSNBC hosts—including Alec Baldwin, Martin Bashir, Melissa Harris-Perry, Alex Wagner, and Ronan Farrow just to name a few—have had a troubling streak in the last several weeks of making comments that belittle and demean Americans without furthering any thoughtful dialogue. Perhaps it’s time for the executives at MSNBC to consider whether their network is upholding a meaningful journalistic mission. This is more than just a tweet or an offhand comment. This is part of a pattern of behavior that has gotten markedly worse, and until Phil Griffin personally apologizes and takes corrective action, we cannot be part of this network’s toxic programming.
In an update to his post, Benson goes on to note that Griffin actually did issue an apology, and unloaded an MSNBC staffer as well:
“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 wrote in a statement. ”I personally apologize to Mr. Priebus and to everyone offended,” he continued. “At msnbc we believe in passionate, strong debate about the issues and we invite voices from all sides to participate. That will never change.”
But the GOP declaring a boycott on MSNBC seems like pretty small beer, when the network is largely a mouthpiece for the left; a funhouse mirror parody version of Fox News, in much the same way that as to how Air America imagined conservative talk radio sounded. How many Republicans actually appear on its signature shows? When will the GOP take its fight to NBC and Comcast, which owns NBC? NBC is already routinely getting clobbered in the ratings; why not put some pressure on them as well for the rantings of its crazy uncle locked away in the cable TV attic?
In the meantime, an embarrassed Cheerios issued a classy apology today to Michelle Malkin, who brilliantly led much of the furious pushback last night from the right:
— Cheerios (@cheerios) January 30, 2014
But I’d be curious to hear what role General Mills played in last night’s MSNBC meltdown. Do they sponsor MSNBC shows? Did their PR department ask the network to play up their commercial? If so, why would a corporation like that get involved with MSNBC?
Possibly for the same reason that NBC, Universal, Comcast, and until recently General Electric did: they agree with the channel’s underlying message — that it’s always 1963, forever.
But it’s not; and MSNBC’s crude racist stereotyping has long expired its shelf life. When will NBC stop issuing programming in black and white, and begin to accept all colors of the rainbow?
Or the peacock, for that matter — which would make a great corporate mascot for NBC, should they ever decide to embrace the concept of cultural diversity.
(Bull Connor, a member of the Democratic National Committee, could not be reached for comment.)
Update: Earning viewer trust — you’re definitely doing it wrong, NBC.
On the other hand, “#BoycottMSNBC? Viewers angry that network president apologized for bigoted tweet:”
— Kyle (@kyleraccio) January 30, 2014