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…