Tag Archive: MSNBC

U.S. political media on life support after NBC Matt Lauer forum

NBC's Matt Lauer with former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders

NBC’s Matt Lauer with former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders

Wednesday night’s NBC News “Commander-in-Chief Forum” has been roundly criticized. In particular, moderator Matt Lauer is taking the heat for his biased, amateurish performance. However, the NBC forum is just one of many examples of the U.S. Beltway media tipping the scales against Hillary Clinton and for Donald Trump in this election, and failing to do their job. One Twitter user even started the hashtag “#LaueringTheBar” to describe this trend. With the first presidential debate just days away, time is quickly running out to cure the problem.

Huckabee and Christie help Trump tear down the GOP

 Donald Trump, GOP destroyer


Donald Trump, GOP destroyer

First it was Donald Trump destroying the Republican Party brand by calling Mexican immigrants “rapists,” denigrating John McCain‘s military service and calling  a female professional who had to pump breast milk for her baby “disgusting.” But as Trump has surged in GOP polls and sucked all the air out of the room, other Republican presidential candidates have had to scramble for attention. Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham pulled stunts involving chain saws, fire and baseball bats. But Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie apparently have decided the best way to compete with Trump is to out-Trump Trump in making outrageous statements.

Could Chris Christie’s bullying help him in the 2016 election?

 

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey speaking at an event hosted by The McCain Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey speaking at an event hosted by The McCain Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Gage Skidmore, used under Creative Commons license. http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/10999009153/

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie‘s “Bridgegate” scandal has cemented Christie’s reputation as a bully. However, some folks are wondering whether being known as a bully could actually help Christie secure the 2016 Republican Party nomination for President, should Christie decide to run.

NBC’s Chuck Todd creates Obamacare controversy

 

Chuck Todd of NBC News caused a media firestorm yesterday when he stated on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program that the Republicans’ false talking points about the Affordable Care Act a/k/a “Obamacare” were “more importantly, … stuff that the Republicans have successfully messaged.” Todd went on to say that that it’s not the fault of “folks in the media” like Todd that Republicans are getting away with their Affordable Care Act lies, but rather, “it’s the President of the United States’ fault for not selling it.”

On Twitter, users expressed their anger at Chuck Todd, starting a hashtag called #chucktoddexcuses and posting messages such as “If people like me called out politicians on lies, we wouldn’t have had all that fun in Iraq.” Sites like politicsusa.com also pointed out the flaws in Todd’s thinking:

Todd’s logic falls apart, because he is missing the point of what people are trying to tell him. People aren’t saying to the mainstream media that they want them to support Democrats. The message is that the media should be interested first and only in facts. People get frustrated with the media, because they give lies the same weight as facts.

Lawrence O’Donnell makes Anthony Weiner look good

This past Monday, Anthony Weiner scheduled some 13 televised interviews in a last-ditch effort to improve his flagging campaign chances in the New York Mayoral primary that took place the next day. The last of these scheduled interviews was with Lawrence O’Donnell, host of MSNBC‘s “The Last Word.” Viewers should have gotten a hint that the interview would not go well when O’Donnell tweeted earlier in the day that:

For his last TV appearance before election Anthony Weiner will grace at 10pm. But I just can’t think of anything to ask him.

Sure enough, as seen in the video above, when Weiner appeared on “The Last Word,” O’Donnell said, “I have really just one question for you…: What’s wrong with you?” The interview devolved from there into what Weiner accurately characterized as a “split screen harrangue” by O’Donnell, who seemed obsessed not with Weiner’s sexting, but with the ex-Congressman’s years of public service and failure somehow to work for free after resigning from the U.S. Congress. It was beyond rude and bizarre. It was poor journalism. By the end, Weiner came off as a completely sympathetic figure and O’Donnell, ironically, was the picture of an ass.

This “interview” should be shown in journalism school with the caveat: If you’re being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to be a “journalist” and you schedule a tv interview with a public figure, either ask real questions or, if you admittedly can’t come up with any, cancel the interview.

 

 

 

 

 

The media are dead; long live the media

The Boston Marathon bombings showed America and the world once and for all that the 24-hour cable news network model is dead. Here are some of the cable coverage lowlights of the week:

Messaging Maxim #4: Feed the Narrative

MSNBC’s Ed Schultz solved a 2012 election mystery on Wednesday, by featuring the man who shot the infamous Willard Mitt Romney “47% video” in a one-on-one interview. What made the video by bartender Scott Prouty so devastating to Romney’s presidential campaign was that Romney’s controversial “47%” remarks, as well as other statements, such as those regarding a brutal Chinese sweatshop that Romney visited with the purpose of purchasing for Bain Capital, fed into a narrative that already existed about Romney as:

On Payroll Tax Cut, Democrats Find their Message

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Analysts on all sides of the political spectrum are calling the payroll tax cut extension a clear win for the Democrats and a significant political loss for the Republicans and their House Speaker, John Boehner. During the debate over extending the payroll tax cut, it appeared that Democrats finally hit their communications stride. For example, check out the above video featuring Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York, who appeared on December 22 on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” with host Ed Schultz. Here’s what Schumer, who appears at about 2:40, said:

  • “What they (the Republicans) have done this whole year is play brinksmanship and paralysis.”
  • “The American people have pretty good sniffers, and they’re beginning to smell that this Tea Party is extreme, and not really interested in what’s good for America…. They’re basically trying to paralyze government and get nothing done.”
  • “It is true that people are upset with government. But it’s not because it’s doing too much, it’s because it’s doing too little to help them.”
  • The Republicans’ flip-flop over the payroll tax cut, being against it before they were for it, “doesn’t pass the laugh test, and again, the American people sort of saw through that”.
  • “Since September, we (the Democrats) have done a lot better. Why? Well, we have focused on the economy, jobs, and income inequality.”
  • On tax policy, the Democrats “separated the middle class from the millionaires.”
  • “The American people are with us, not with the Republicans, on those issues” (jobs, the economy, and income inequality).

During the Political Discussion Next Thanksgiving Dinner, Go on Offense

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Before the past few Thanksgivings, some media outlets have run pieces advising readers or viewers on how to respond to right-wing, Fox-concocted talking points that one or more relatives might regurgitate at the dinner table. As the above video from this past November 23 indicates, Ed Schultz invited Occupy Wall Street hero Jesse LaGreca on MSNBC’s “Ed Show” to do just that. Jesse does a good job using logic, facts, and figures to respond to the right-wing talking points raised by Ed. However, if you’re simply being reactive rather than proactive in these situations, you’ve already lost the political argument.

That Loaded Term “Illegal”

One of the clearest examples of how characterizing something slightly differently gives it a very different meaning occurs with the labeling of illegal immigrants. In a recent episode of MSNBC‘s “Hardball”, host Chris Matthews discusses the most popular ways of describing illegal immigrants, and the political ramifications of each. Matthews says:

When do you think, John, it becomes an ethnic slur? I mean, I try to be proper. Some people say ‘undocumented workers’, that’s very pro, I would think, a person here illegally. Some people say ‘illegal aliens’, which is pretty strong language, as [Michele] Bachmann does. That sort of doubles it down. They’re already illegal, let’s call them ‘aliens’. The others just call them, not even people, call them ‘illegals’. I watched that [Republican presidential primary] debate the other night, and I thought, they’re just trying to put these people down. ‘Illegals.’ That’s not even a person.

Matthews did a good job of encapsulating the most popular descriptions of illegal immigrants, and the very loaded, very different ways of classifying them for political effect. Presumably Matthews uses the term “illegal immigrant”, which is arguably the most accurate and neutral way to describe someone who moves to the U.S. illegally.

Next time you hear a discussion of illegal immigration, listen closely to the terminology used. It will likely give away the biases of the people using the terms, or at least the biases of those who are influencing them.