Conflict of Interest…

Politico’s Dylan Byers writes about MSNBC covering an upcoming protest by Al Sharpton as a news event…

MSNBC will also cover portions of the march during its daytime programming.

Given that Sharpton will be hosting the network’s coverage of the rally he is leading, I asked MSNBC spokespeson Tanya Hayre whether state officials on the other side of the debate could expect a fair hearing from PoliticsNation and from MSNBC in general.

“Everyone knows where Rev. Sharpton stands on this issue,” Hayre told me, “and we’ll have a lively and informative discussion on PoliticsNation.”

Do note that MSNBC didn’t answer Byers’ question but rather pivoted and answered a question Byers didn’t ask. This is a massive conflict of interest issue for MSNBC. In effect the network is giving free air time to a personal pet project of one of its own major talents. This should never happen. At a minimum MSNBC should not devote any straight news coverage of this event without massive disclosure of Sharpton’s interest and participation in it. What MSNBC should do in regards to Politics Nation is a bit thornier because there is already established precedent at the network for pet causes like the Free Care clinics Keith Olbermann would push on Countdown. On the other hand to compare Olbermann’s Free Care clinic campaigns to Al Sharpton’s upcoming political protest is kind of an apples to oranges scenario.

The best way to avoid having to make thorny decisions like this is to have a blanket policy in place that blocks all such scenarios rather than doing what MSNBC is apparently doing and taking them on a case by case basis.

The reasons are obvious; it would put a stop to the conjecture that MSNBC is appeasing Sharpton to keep him happy and on board with the network. When he was hired there was lots of talk about how MSNBC would handle Sharpton and his activism. So far we have yet to see or hear of any instance where MSNBC said no to Sharpton and his causes. As a result we don’t know where the line is or if such a line even exists for the network.

Based on what’s happening next week where MSNBC isn’t just letting Sharpton do political protests but is amplifying his cause by giving straight news time to his protest it sure seems like nothing is ever going to be blocked by the network and that it wants to encourage Sharpton’s causes by whatever means necessary. I don’t need to tell you how this will blow back at the network. Too bad someone at the network doesn’t seem know…or appear to care.

Lastly, can everyone please drop the pretense that there’s still a firewall between primetime and daytime at MSNBC? After this there’s no way anyone can credibly make the case…

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6 Responses to “Conflict of Interest…”

  1. Firewall? Hell, there is hardly one between the White House and MSNBC. Should we feign any outrage over standards when it is clear MSNBC is nothing but a left-wing propaganda front.?

  2. missy5537 Says:

    What’s got the “rev”‘s goat this time? That months in the year end in “uary”? Or that white people still exist in this country?

    Certainly we all remember Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally in 2010. Fox just reported on it briefly, and even while I wish they WOULD have covered it, I remember people here and elsewhere said they did the right thing by not doing so.

  3. Perhaps it would be better if MSNBC did rename itself DNCBC.

    At least then we wouldn’t have to bother with articles such as this because there would be no fig leaf, and a transparent one at that, for them to unsuccessfully try to hide behind.

  4. Fwd: For months all I’ve heard is how bad the Rev will be for MSNBC. I have to honest: I read more outrage about Al Sharpton working for MSNBC here then I do anywhere else. How is this any different than Fox letting Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck promote the “tea party” rallies on dayside and prime-time? What about Acorn? I think we all should stop predicting when or how Al Sharpton will fail or how much problems he will cause for MSNBC – especially when “MSNBC ant complaining”

  5. So, when Fox News was putting up graphics promoting the “FNC Tax Day Tea Parties”, was that a conflict of interest?

    How about the fact that anchors like Cavuto, Beck, Hannity, and the supposedly “liberal” Greta Van Susteren all hosted their programs from the site of tea party rallies?

    Or when Fox’s straight news programming would literally go on wall-to-wall “reporting” of the rallies, repeating the tea party talking points on air?

    Hell, they would even give info to viewers about what websites to visit and how they can go to their own rallies.

    Do I have to mention how there was a producer working for Fox riling up the crowd and waving their arms at a rally telling them to cheer?

    If we want to question MSNBC’s straight news programming for this right now, we should have denounced Fox as ANY kind of a supposed “news” channel back in 2009.

  6. imnotblue Says:

    ^ Let’s ignore the lies in the above for a moment (it’s Progger… we known what to expect, and he never let’s us down). But let’s ask the question, from someone who attacked FNC for that (real and imagined), how do you defend MSNBC? Why was it wrong for FNC, but right for MSNBC? Will you criticize MSNBC, or apologize to FNC?

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