MSNBC’s Delicate Tightrope on Limbaugh Mis-Quote…

NewsBusters’ Kyle Drennan notes David Shuster’s non-apology apology for attributing quotes to Rush Limbaugh that never occurred…

During the 3:00PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC Friday, co-host David Shuster admitted that racially charged quotes he and other hosts attributed to Rush Limbaugh had not been verified: “MSNBC attributed that quote to a football player who was opposed to Limbaugh’s NFL bid. However, we have been unable to verify that quote independently. So, just to clarify.” Shuster did not formally retract the quote or apologize.

Update: Had wrong link. Fixed.

9 Responses to “MSNBC’s Delicate Tightrope on Limbaugh Mis-Quote…”

  1. There is a litte ambiguity there. If you’re quoting the football player accurately, do you then become responsible for his misquote? I think claiming you can’t verify his quote is enough. If people are directly lifting the misquotes to support their own statements, that’s different.

  2. If you read the rest of the NewsBusters’ piece you’d know that MSNBC later on that day had Tamron Hall actually ask a question based on the premise that what Limbaugh said really happened. So, no there’s not so much ambiguity there…

  3. That’ll teach me. I didn’t read the piece, just your post. If Shuster, sitting right by her side, clearly states the the quote is unconfirmed, why would Hall pick it up later? Oh right, it’s Tamron “talk now, think later” Hall.

  4. Joe, the answer to your first question is YES. If you air a quote that slanders someone else, you are responsible for putting that on the air.

    But MSDNC would never do something irresponsibly, would they?

    I mean, nothing irresponsible about this on-screengraphic:
    “Limbaugh remarks: Slavery ‘had its merits.’”

    Secondly, when did Shuster say the quote is unconfirmed? Seems to me he just went and ran with it.

  5. It’s in the post, Red. “MSNBC attributed that quote to a football player…we have been unable to verify (it) independently.

    My original statement about Shuster, not Tamron, is that there is some ambiguity about the fact the football player was being quoted, not Limbaugh. At that moment, the player’s objection to Rush had news value, regardless of whether his quote was accurate. I’m torn about the confirming process, though. Should news organizations have vetted the player’s quote immediately, or was it enough to come back later to say they can’t confirm that the player had it right? The ambiguity for me lies in that the player’s perception of Limbaugh was the news value, not necessarily the specific quote.

  6. News organizations should verify incendiary quotes before running with them and making them the central point of a piece, especially if they can ruin someone’s reputation.

    Otherwise, they can just go on the air at any time and say: “Prominent Person A says that Prominent Person B is a child molester/wife beater/thief” and avoid responsibility for destroying a person’s good name.

    One of us has enough experience in print media to know that any halfway competent editor would never let anything that explosive get into print without being carefully vetted and confirmed.

  7. Just to add some thoughts, the responsible thing to do would have been to report that a player had some serious concerns and said things that have been attributed to Mr. Limbaugh, but because of our inability to verify them as of air time, we will not report them.

  8. Sounds reasonable, BW, which, after how you started the day…

  9. Sorry but we stand by our assessment of Maddow and her status within the lesbian mob. They are a vindictive and activist group and very real. And she is their icon.

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