Shots Fired…

The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple has MSNBC President Phil Griffin doing something he shouldn’t be doing

Now Griffin is feeling vindicated. New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman yesterday reported that Fox producers who wish to place Karl Rove or Dick Morris on-air must get “permission” to put them on.

Aha, says Griffin. “If you’re looking for evidence that the Pew study is inaccurate, take a look at what just happened. MSNBC does have a point of view but was honest and accurate about what was going on with the election. Fox was dishonest and misleading in their analysis and now benching two of their key contributors,” notes Griffin.

Uh…WRONG!

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong…

Rule #1 of Network President PR: Never, never dump on the other guy no matter how tempting it is or how right you feel you are. You should remain above such things and let your underlings take the shots. You never let it escalate to the Network President level. It makes everyone under you a target.

Rule #2 of Network President PR: Know what you are doing. Griffin just attacked FNC. In fact he didn’t just attack FNC, he labeled very specific inflammatory charges at the network and its news division. He does realize that FNC lives for this kind of broadside and will respond in kind with even greater firepower, especially since it’s coming from the Network President (See Rule #1).

Rule #3 of Network President PR: Don’t make yourself look foolish. If you feel you must go on a suicide mission and attack FNC you better be certain your case is rock solid and can’t be interpreted in other ways. Such is not the case here. Pew says one thing, Griffin takes what Pew wrote and argues about something that is tangential at best to the Pew report.

The central point of the Pew report analyzed news coverage of the campaigns by story count. Griffin is arguing over the egregiousness of the content of the coverage. That’s like two Major League Baseball players both testing positive for steroids and then the two argue over which steroid was worse in order to make themselves look better. In the end they both still tested positive for steroids and that’s all that matters.

Here’s the central Pew point, a point which Griffin isn’t arguing here…

[W]hen Romney was receiving negative coverage in the final week from the rest of the press, Fox was different; 42% of its segments about him were positive while only 11% were negative. This was more positive than the earlier part of October when 34% of Fox News’ Romney coverage was positive and 9% negative.

MSNBC moved in the other direction. MSNBC’s coverage of Romney during the final week (68% negative with no positive stories in the sample), was far more negative than the overall press, and even more negative than it had been during October 1 to 28 when 5% was positive and 57% was negative.

Griffin can’t argue against that point because it’s a numerical statistic. So he changes the conversation to how egregious the violation is.

Update: Oh I almost forgot…

Rule #4 of Network President PR: Timing is everything. Coming out with an attack at FNC and a revisiting of the Pew study two days after most of your primetime hosts were seen at a White House event for Progressives kind of undermines your argument to some extent.

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25 Responses to “Shots Fired…”

  1. This all goes as evidence to my theory that Joe is the clone of Griffn that was lost at a NASCAR event.

  2. The problem with that poll is it seems to presume “stories” on a channel that is mostly panel discussions with varying points of view. Unless Pew noted every positive and negative reference to both candidates in every discussion, the poll is useless.

  3. If ALL a cable network broadcasts is OBAMA GOOD, ROMNEY BAD before an election, that network, as (most) any fool can see, is a propaganda network. Doesn’t matter if they use singing chipmunks 7×24 to do the deed.

  4. This goes against al that Joe considers holy when is why he can never acknowledge it.

  5. Enjoy your day, Kelly. Everybody is tired of this.

  6. lonestar77 Says:

    Hi.

    I actually enjoy the daily Larry/Remi fight.

  7. Spy vs Spry.

  8. I gots the popcorn!

  9. imnotblue Says:

    So this tells me a few things:

    1- Griffin actually believes this stuff. He believes his own spin, and the false notion that MSNBC and FNC are fundamentally different. That’s a dangerous place to be… one should never believe their own hype.

    2- Griffin is really bothered by the PEW study. He may not be accustomed to non-partisan attacks, and this demonstrates his willingness to put his fingers in his ears and say, “nuh-uh,” instead of considering a change.

    3- Griffin sees himself as a player in the fight, instead of above the fray. Again, not a wise move.

    What I can’t fathom, though, is why Griffin would want to bring up the PEW study again. That’s the reaction of some who’s angry and not thinking smartly. He brought attention back to himself and his network, in a negative way… when all the attention should have been on FOX. A real amateur move.

  10. Seems to me that rules # 1 through 4 should pertain specifically to news network presidents, so they might not apply to him. MSNBC doesn’t compete directly with FNC or CNN except in the margin but has earned some fanfare for simply being the Fox News antagonist. Whether his spin on the Pew study is accurate or not is beside the point and I don’t see a down side. Might be true that FNC has bigger gums but shooting off loud blanks doesn’t do any real damage.

  11. I once had bigger gums, but my periodontist put an end to that.

  12. Geez, these p!ssing matches between news presidents is kinda dumb. I guess now that Zucker is at CNN, he will start jumping into the fray.

    It does seem disingenuous for Griffin and anyone at MSNBC to act like they are so much better or different than FNC. Yes, Fox is conservative news talk and MSNBC is progressive news talk. Who cares? I think FNC has crossed the line in using their network to promote politicians and of course it is disgusting to think they are asking input from potential candidates to help shape the news. MSNBC can righteously claim they don’t do such a thing but as their ratings climb, you can bet there will be more pressure to promote Democratic politicians. There is a line between being a megaphone for progressive or conservative causes and being an arm of a political party. I think FNC has crossed that line too often. MSNBC is getting uncomfortably close to that line and even though I would like to think they are above crossing it, I know they are not.

    I don’t like it when I read these stories about journalists having dinner at the White House, schmoozing with the President and his aides. I didn’t like when Bush did it with FNC and talk radio hosts and I don’t like it when Obama does it with MSNBC (its happened more than once). Journalists, even the overtly biased ones, should have a healthy distance from those they cover. They should be adversaries not best buds. We can mock Fox for their delusional alternative universe they created for themselves but that’s what happens when you don’t step outside your own circle of supporters and sycophants. The same thing can happen at MSNBC if they aren’t careful.

  13. Never underestimate Elle’s analytical skills. Also, never overestimate the intelligence of a network executive.

  14. imnotblue Says:

    MSNBC didn’t promote politicians or causes?

    What about Ed Schultz and his pro-Union, anti-Walker rallies in WI?

    No ma’am. They can claim they don’t do that. But that would just be another lie.

  15. The difference is between a single activist (Sharpton, Schultz), and an executive making the entire network activist. Roger Ailes runs FNC as a media arm of the Republican Party, going so far as to eablish talking points in the opinion programs, then introduce them into straight news.

    There’s also the rather large distinction that FNC is clearly a news channel with some opinion programming. MSNBC is the equivalent of liberal talk radio with newsbreaks. Two very different missions.

  16. How convenient. FNC can be trashed talked by liberal whiners, and MSNBC is unassailable because their people are just talk radio advocates with ugly mugs on TV. Chuck Todd might object to that? I suppose if FNC would stop doing news, Joe would shut up? Ha!

  17. I didn’t say MSNBC was unassailable. If they start making up stories to benefit the Democratic Party, I’ll bust ‘em on it.

  18. Well,that’s generous of you.

  19. imnotblue Says:

    You mean making up stories other than ones about FNC?

    Or Mitt Romney?

  20. You have no evidence of either.

  21. imnotblue Says:

    You’re right. I’ve forgotten totally about Keith Olbermann.

    And have no memory of Andrea Mitchell saying Mitt Romney was from Mexico, or some such un-truth.

    My mistake.

  22. So your evidence of MSNBC creating stories on the opinion side, then pushing them to straight news, is an empty comment about KO, and something about Andrea Mitchell even you’re not sure actually happened. Congratulations.

  23. Well… KO was on the opinion side, and Andrea Mitchell isn’t (allegedly).

    But really, Joe… did you not remember this story?

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/msnbcs-andrea-mitchell-claims-mitt-romneys-family-entered-the-country-illegally/

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