Fisking MSNBC?

The Daily Howler makes some noise about MSNBC’s alleged lack of Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman coverage last week… (via J$)

George Zimmerman wasn’t mentioned on MSNBC last week. Neither was the late Trayvon Martin, not even once.

What makes that fact so astounding? Major news broke in the Martin case on two occasions last week. This led to sprawling reports in our major news orgs.

But there wasn’t a word on MSNBC, which had produced a month of dis- and misinformation regarding this tragic case. MSNBC didn’t describe the police reports which gave the lie to its endless misstatements. The channel didn’t let liberal viewers see the photos which contradicted its hosts’ bogus claims.

It’s a pretty serious charge The Howler is implying; that MSNBC will suppress news stories that would make its ideological pundit class look bad. I have no idea whether what The Howler wrote about MSNBC not airing anything about Zimmerman/Martin is accurate or not. But someone out there should know so I’m running this up the flagpole to see what comes next…

Update: It has been pointed out to me via email that apparently The Howler uses LexisNexis to get his information, though he doesn’t state that was the case here. But LexisNexis apparently only covers 5-11pm and not dayside. So this Daily Howler entry only concerns MSNBC’s evening/primetime POV hours and not the rest of the day.

That’s too large an information gap to ignore. Furthermore, The Howler makes MSNBC to be this top down monolithic entity where everything moves in lockstep. That’s just not the case, even in the POV hours. Some will talk about one thing. Some will talk about another. These shows have a lot of autonomy so any decision regarding whether to cover Zimmerman/Martin developments or not rests a great deal on the show hosts and their teams, not the network’s hierarchy.

The bottom line for me is LexisNexis may show that MSNBC’s POV hosts ducked the Zimmerman/Martin story last week but that’s not nearly as sinister as the implication that MSNBC, as an entity, ducked the story. Actually I kind of want to say “Duh!” at the idea that Al Sharpton, et al…wouldn’t want to talk about it. Cable news POV hosts, be they progressive or conservative, rarely do 180s when doing so doesn’t fit in with their ideological worldview. That’s just the way things are, stupid as they may be. They’ll hem and haw and look for “Yeah, but” reasons to come back to their original talking point, no matter how convoluted the journey may be.

So I think The Howler was being disingenuous painting all of MSNBC with a broad LexisNexis brush and I shrug my shoulders at what MSNBC prime does or doesn’t do regarding covering or not covering the latest potentially ideologically inconvenient details in the Zimmerman case.

Update 2: Mediaite’s Noah Rothman goes all in on the idea that this merits notation because MSNBC’s POV hosts were so vocal and in the forefront of the early coverage of Martin and Zimmerman, especially Al Sharpton. This is true. But at the same time I feel the need to reiterate, “What did you expect? This is POV primetime where the rules are inconvenient facts get routinely ignored by both sides of the spectrum in favor of preserving the most favored ideological narrative.” Duh…

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35 Responses to “Fisking MSNBC?”

  1. It takes away any inch of “high ground” that they and their viewers ever have to criticize Fox. O’Reilly will correct a flawed narrative, and maybe not go there in the first place. The rest are what they are, but he at least aims for credibility.

  2. missy5537 Says:

    OK, Spud, so did MSNBC show any of the breaking news re: Zimmerman last week? I might have missed it, but buy callling out the DH, you’re implying that they did and that he was wrong.

  3. missy5537 Says:

    I should have specificed “dayside”. According to DH and LN, they did not do so at night. But if they also didn’t so so during the day, he’s correct in calling them out.

  4. Spud bending so far backward to “be fair” I think he just leaned forward.

  5. He’s not correct because they did during the day. Rothman’s piece makes that point clear.

  6. Point Of View is opinion and anaylys from a particular frame of reference or philosophy. Means an honest search for the truth given a set of values and beliefs. That really is not MSNBC. “Propoganda” is a better description where adacacy of a cause is paramount. Truth is the victim as inconvenient evidence is all but ignored.

  7. That really is not MSNBC.

    It’s not FNC’s pundit class either Larry…

  8. Point Of View is opinion and anaylys from a particular frame of reference or philosophy. Means an honest search for the truth given a set of values and beliefs. That really is not FNC. “Propoganda” is a better description where adacacy of a cause is paramount. Truth is the victim as inconvenient evidence is all but ignored.

    ^^’Tit for tat’ ;-)

  9. erich500 Says:

    Fox News can be pretty bad, even outrageous on occasion but they couldn’t pull something like this off. Completely ignoring significant changes in a major story that you’ve heavily promoted for a week?

    As Laura said, O’Reilly would, perhaps grudgingly, report the new facts (think of that: Bill O’Reilly is now the Gold Standard of cable journalism?). So would a Greta Van Sustern.

    No, this is taking POV journalism to a level that even Fox hasn’t reached.

  10. Yeah, Greta too. Hannity, maybe not. I’ve had my issues with Fox, and this doesn’t magically make them go away, but MS has nothing to say about it.

  11. erich500 Says:

    ^Sure, you and I agree but what does Harry think?

  12. Sharpton covered it last week. If you’re gonna talk about MSNBC, it helps to actually WATCH it.

  13. erich500 Says:

    ^Please, turn off that charm.

    It’s blinding us.

  14. And dayside discussed Zimmerman’s personal physician. I’ll be charming when internet blogs start reporting on networks based on something more than a search function. The Daily Howler got this completely wrong.

  15. Seems like Daily Howler used to be a liberal outfit, so I would have given them more credence in this instance. They took a shot at another lib recently, so maybe that’s changed.

  16. erich500 Says:

    “The Daily Howler got this completely wrong.”

    Nope, Somerby said “last week” – the week the news broke.

    Sharpton – and Sharpton alone – mentioned it on Monday.

    He did fail to distinguish between dayside and the prime time.

  17. mlong5000 Says:

    Makes one wonder if MSNBC will cover the Wis recall either now that polls show Walker is going to win…the MSNBC host have made his defeat a important part of their agenda next to getting Obama reelected.

    Now MSNC isn’t the only network that some host will stop covering stories when the story changes and they don’t like it….Nancy Grace infamous being MIA the day the case was dropped against the Duke Lacrosse team after spending weeks convicting them of a crime we learn never happen.

  18. I think even on Hannity & Hannity the new facts that emerged would’ve been discussed, but that would be more because of the opposing-side guests on the programme.

  19. Eric, did you watch Sharpton all last week? I’m pretty sure it came up then, but I could be wrong. I know he talked about it this Monday.

  20. Btw, I’m not clear why people think this is “major breaking news”. A belated injury report from a personal physician isn’t major news; it’s part of Zimmerman’s defense. We’ve known for a while that Zimmerman sustained some level of injury in the scuffle with Martin.

  21. erich500 Says:

    “Eric, did you watch Sharpton all last week”

    I don’t watch any of these shows full through. I’m flipping back and forth, on the computer, letting the dog out/in/out….

    The writer on Mediaite (Noah Rothman) says he did a search too (using something called “TV Eyes”) and it showed that the prime time hosts failed to mention the new revelations.

  22. Politics Nation is not a primetime show. How many articles and comments about this can we place on the internet before we find someone besides me who actually watches the show?

  23. I’m sure there’s tens of people who watch right along with you.

  24. Guess what’s on Twitter. “MSNBC isn’t covering Zimmerman/Martin” is now officially The Truth amongst conservatives. Nice work, Blog World.

  25. HuffPo/AOL is running The Orlando Sentinel’s reporting of some witnesses whose statements substantially changed on second interview and that it’s a problem for Zimmerman’s defence. It’ll be interesting to see how/if the various cable news outfits report this, including FNC.

  26. The story of this case was that Zimmerman hadn’t been arrested or charged. Now that these things have occurred, I don’t see the point in saturation coverage of defense leaks this, prosecution leaks that.

    They’re using the news media to affect the jury pool; any “news” we read about the case right now is difficult to take at face value. The less I hear about this until the trial starts, the better.

  27. mlong5000 Says:

    Well being afraid of what could happen to them if their testimony helps Zimmerman might make people change their statements.

  28. mlong5000 Says:

    Hey nice spin there Joe MSNBC should hire you for their PR.

  29. Video shows Zimmerman was taken to the police station that night in handcuffs. Seems to me that constitutes being arrested, and the case was turned over to the prosecutor’s office for a determination on whether or not charges should be filed. So the “story” of this case was bs.

  30. Oh please. They sent him home, and he’d still be there if public pressure hadn’t been applied.

  31. They sent him home because the prosecutor determined there was insufficient evidence for a conviction. As it stands now, he is out of jail and it still looks like there’s no chance for a conviction.

  32. Actually, if the special prosecutor admitted that charges were filed because of public pressure then he’d be released and she’d be in big trouble.

  33. “Politics Nation” is a dumb name for a show. Maybe Sharpton put ten words on ten pieces of paper and pulled two out at random. The second drawing being for his MSNBC promo. Those two were “blueberry” and “pie”. Could just as easy named his show “Politics Pie”.

  34. I didn’t hear yesterday’s America Live, but her show did have a couple segments about the witnesses changing their stories.

    ^ Seems Sharpton often uses the word “nation” to connote protest.

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