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January 30, 2014

MSNBC's Racist Cheerios Trolling Riles... The Progressive Media

Before getting into that, here's a p-shop that Jay Caruso made to goof on NBC Political Director Mark Murray and his absurd claim that Obama's struggles were just like Cory Rehmburg's.

More such mockery at the Federalist. Not exactly related, but they also caught Buzzfeed Capitol Hill reporter Kate Nocera squeeing something ridiculous about the Imperial Pomp of the State of the Union.


Every. Important. Person in the country. Well I have thought about it, and I agree, that thought is insane.

MSNBC is catching more grief for their "rightwingers hate biracial families and Cheerios" tweet. The Washington Post's Eric Wemple, who I take to be progressive-leaning based on his posts, is pretty rough on MSNBC.

He points out something important: This wasn't just an errant tweet. Just as Mark Murray's absurd tweet, comparing Obama to a ten-tour, severely wounded veteran, was itself just a shortened version of a longer, more considered article, so too was this tweet actually taken from an MSNBC "news" article, quoted below:


So that's an MSNBC writer, not dashing off a barely-considered tweet, but writing an article for publication, considering his words, submitting it to an editor, and that editor giving it the thumb's up for posting.

Wemple notices that MSNBC is doing a lot of apologizing lately, because they're crossing the line an awful lot. But rather than recognize their problem, they simply continue tossing the same crude chum into the water, and then saying "Ooh sorry we didn't mean that" each time.

At what point does Serial Contrition, with no effort to modify one's egregious behavior, simply become... enabling, as Wemple terms it? That MSNBC has adopted the attitude that they can be a divisive, petty, crude, and Jerry Springer as they like, because they'll just issue an apology in a couple of days?

The tweet in question isn’t clever, helpful or fair. It’s a divisive piece of taunting nastiness driven by a worldview that MSNBC personalities have surfaced with great regularity in recent memory, always followed by excellent apologies. After then-MSNBC host Martin Bashir suggested that Sarah Palin be subjected to an excrement-related punishment visited upon slaves, he said, “My words were wholly unacceptable,” among other very contrite things. After short-lived MSNBC host Alec Baldwin allegedly shouted down a paparazzo with homophobic language, he said, “I did not intend to hurt or offend anyone with my choice of words, but clearly I have — and for that I am deeply sorry.” After host Melissa Harris-Perry presided over a segment that mocked Mitt Romney’s family over a photo featuring his adopted African-American grandson, the host said, among other things, “So without reservation or qualification, I apologize to the Romney family. Adults who enter into public life implicitly consent to having less privacy. But their families, and especially their children, should not be treated callously or thoughtlessly.”

And now this Cheerios thing. The string of offenses raises doubts about Wolffe’s claim that the tweet from last night doesn’t reflect “who we are at msnbc.” Rather, the tweet appears to a careful observer to define precisely what MSNBC is becoming: A place that offends and apologizes with equal vigor.

The Erik Wemple Blog supports media organizations that muster strong apologies. Too often, mistakes are followed by stonewalling and a failure to repent. Apologies can be an important measure of accountability. Yet this string of meae culpae suggests that the apology may be morphing into an enabling device for the network’s tendentious and divisive attitudes. Sometimes a bad tweet represents the errant and unrepresentative thoughts of some employee managing the social-media accounts. And sometimes it represents institutional morays [sic] and prejudices.

It's not "morays," which are eels, but mores. But otherwise, all solid.

So, why is what I assume is a progressive taking MSNBC into the woodshed?

Why does anyone on the right take anyone on the right to the woodshed?

Because 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.

Just.

Like.

Us.

It is then with conflict that I greet the RNC's declaration that they are urging a conservative boycott of MSNBC (of appearing on the network; no conservative watches the channel, of course).

Why boycott them? Why not just appear on MSNBC and interrogate their ultrapartisan goons about their ridiculous, crude ethos and juvenile view of the world?

If MSNBC wants to let its Freak Flag fly -- and, by doing so, reveal the only-slightly hidden Freak Flags of the rest of the leftwing media-- should we not encourage them?

MSNBC presents a challenge to the rest of the leftwing media. And they, like your drunk, rowdy, Peter Pan friend, have something of a point: There is a certain honesty in crudeness and stupidity. We are, at root, crude and stupid. It is only by effort -- by counterfeiting ourselves -- we rise above our crude and stupid urges.

MSNBC challenges the rest of the progressive media to accept this fact. The fact that the rest of the progressive media hides its partisan id slightly better is not to the progressive media's credit, but rather to its shame.

The real face of the progressive movement is not Anderson Cooper's affable, bland urbanity.

The real face of the progressive movement is Ed Shultz, and Martin Bashir, and Lawrence O'Donnell, and Chris Matthews, and Melissa Harris-Perry, and Alec Baldwin, and Rachel Maddow queening over all of the lesser progressives.

If they are embarrassing the rest of the leftwing media -- and I have no doubt that they are -- should we not be firm in our calls to Let MSNBC Be MSNBC?


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posted by Ace at 02:52 PM

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