MSNBC’s Growing Credibility Gap…

Politico’s Dylan Byers writes about the MSNBC Heslin video edits and has MSNBC’s apparent official reaction to it from their air…

On Monday on our program, we aired a portion of a hearing where we heard from Neil Heslin, whose 6-year-old son Jesse was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. We have received a number of comments over the past two days, so we are going to play the relevant portion of that testimony in full.

Byers’ prefaced the above with this…

UPDATE (4:50 p.m.): MSNBC addressed the Sandy Hook video edit in the same manner as it addressed the Romney video edit, running the full video but issuing no apology.

Nor an explanation. Nor an acknowledgement that what happened was (at the very least) a mistake or displaying any contrition. It was like the network was playing the role of the three year old who got into the cookie jar and then acted like nothing had happened when the parent came in and found cookie crumbs all over their face. This is supposed to be the definitive statement on the matter? Seriously?

If this had been an isolated incident that would be one thing. But, as Byers noted in his piece, this isn’t the first time in recent memory the network got called out for airing a selectively edited video. Nor was it the first time the network feigned a very odd indifference to the matter when it addressed the issue.

MSNBC has been dogged by accusations of selective editing before. In June of last year, the network edited footage of a campaign event at which Mitt Romney was discussing touchtone screens at a local chain store to illustrate the advantages of competition in the private sector. Instead, MSNBC depicted him as being naively amazed by the advent of touchtone screens. (MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell later aired the complete, unedited footage.)

Nor was it the first time in recent memory that the network has dodged very serious questions about an incident which, like the above edited videos, sprang out from its production staff

That leaves us with just one topic that we can seriously ponder at the moment; why MSNBC thought it was just Ryan’s name being chanted to the point that they flashed Ryan’s name on the screen to emphasize it? I heard Romney’s name. Why didn’t MSNBC?

These three events all happened within the past seven months and all three were addressed without addressing the issues raised. This isn’t an outlier. It is now a pattern…a disturbing pattern.

MSNBC preaches “smart TV” but that “smart TV” is sitting on a shaky foundation. That foundation is the behind the scenes production that goes into putting that “smart TV” on the air. I could excuse one incident. I can’t excuse three in seven months because it suggests that the network is not doing anything to put a stop to incidents like this. MSNBC is re-enforcing this theory by its lack of contrition and candor; exacerbating it with a “What? Me?” indifference in addressing these incidents on the air and to the media.

This has now created a credibility gap between what the network says it’s doing and what we see it’s doing on the air. Gone apparently are the days where Keith Olbermann would apologize on the air for a gaffe that occurred when he wasn’t even on the air. Now, the new paradigm is to dodge, duck, and obfuscate.

If MSNBC doesn’t see how serious this really is, they are in denial. MSNBC bases its “smart” programming; what its hosts and guests discuss on the air, on what its production staff comes up with. Its bond with its viewers depends upon those viewers believing that what they’re getting, regardless of ideological bent, is a factually accurate accounting of the matter.

But controversies like these three destroys all that. How can we possibly trust, or accept as accurate, what we see on MSNBC’s air when its production department is either apparently editing video in a selective manner or acquiring selectively edited video from parts unknown but not bothering to fact check it? We can’t.

We can’t even tell if any corrective action has taken place, though these repeated incidents strongly suggests that none has. The network then compounds this problem with evasive statements that skirt the central issue to the point that it’s not any more believable than when Hannity & Colmes production staff says its selectively edited video wound up looking that way because of “time constraints”. Nobody bought that explanation then. Nobody is buying these explanations now. They just aren’t credible.

Update: I have to slap Byers’ wrists. He did not include the full context to MSNBC addressing the issue. TVNewser did get the other half

At the end of the clip, Melber said, “Martin and many other who is saw Mr. Heslin’s testimony have called that interruption heckling. Some disagree. He wanted you to hear it in full so you can draw your own conclusion.”

I present the other half, not only to provide the full context as should be given as a matter of course, but because it raises a very obvious question: If Bashir “wanted you to hear it in full so you can draw your own conclusions”, why didn’t he insist on airing it in full the first time? Sorry Martin, but your thinking isn’t making sense to me…


19 Responses to “MSNBC’s Growing Credibility Gap…”

  1. lonestar77 Says:

    What possible motivation would MSNBC have to clamp down on this stuff. I don’t think any rational person would deny that Martin Bashir is a clown but he’s not going anywhere.

    MSNBC seems to be doing better ratings wise. And, judging by the reaction of their fans to this incident (Joe, Tommy Christopher), MSNBC isn’t in danger of losing audience over it.

    MSNBC is basically a left-wing blog on television. And, their fans accept that. So, I don’t see any motivation for them changing. Any “respectable” powers that be at NBC must be past the point of embarrassment.

    It does annoy me that people like David Gregory & Tom Brokaw are always asking Republicans to answer for what some random Republican State Senator from the middle of nowhere said but nobody ever asks them to answer for their peers at MSNBC. Peers that they appear on-screen with.

  2. savefarris Says:

    It’s to the point where I’m not even mad at MSNBC. It’s who they are. It’s what they do.

    It’s the OTHER news outlets, left wing blogs, and assorted commentariat who continue to excuse MSNBC’s act because “the message” is more important than how they get there.

    Until the rest step up, they are complicit in MSNBC’s crimes against journalism.

  3. LS & Farris: You forgot to put a “sigh” before your so sincere comments on the Bashir screw-up.

    Personally I hope they fire his ass and replace him with Joy Reid. i could then watch the show again.

    Bad LOD was on again tonight getting into a verbal fight with some idiotic gun nut where they ended up yelling over each other. He could have easily made his point in a few words and shown her for the fool she was but instead, by the end of the set to he looked as crazy as she did. Leave the arguing with idiots to Bashir and Matthews who do it better and who i rarely watch.

  4. lonestar77 Says:

    I was serious regarding what exactly would be the motivation on MSNBC’s part in clamping down on these kinds of instances?

    And, c’mon, Bashir is a fool. He serves no other purpose than engaging in crazy talk.

  5. LOD took that moron apart tonight. She didn’t have a single example of a woman defending herself against an intruder with an AR-type weapon with a huge magazine, yet kept babbling – just as she did at the hearing – that the government was coming after women’s ability to defend themselves. Utter, complete BS. Every example she used as a defense of her position was of a woman using guns and ammo nobody is proposing banning. Ridiculous.

  6. This is muchado about nothing. FOX News edits videos out of context all the time and the media critics never seem to care. They aired the relevant pieces.

  7. You have to be kidding me! If a persons name has the letters “G a y” in it it gets flagged for moderation. 😛
    I have to replace the a with @ so this gets posted.

    The woman Lawrence was sparring with was G@yle Trotter.

  8. MSNBC never had credibility, and no one really cares. This is what they do, this is what the network is designed to be. They don’t want or need credibility, they have NBC News for that. Sure it makes Phil Griffin look like a complete idiot (which he is) but nothing will happen.

  9. Years ago, I attempted to post a comment about Lee Atw@ter. I just now figured out why it kept getting moderated.

  10. ^ You simply need to learn how to type the letter “g”, “a”, and “y” together in such a way that they spell “gay” without triggering getting a site moderation. Not so difficult.

  11. Just saw the Lawrence O’Donnell piece with Gayle Trotter. An assault weapon couldn’t protect her from LOD … he completely mauled her.

  12. Why is my comment awaiting moderation? Oh, I see… let’s try this again.

    Just saw the Lawrence O’Donnell piece with G@yle Trotter. An assault rifle couldn’t protect her from Lawrence O’Donnell … he completely destroyed her.

  13. What’s the problem? Is Gayle Trotter a porn name in some alternative universe?

  14. imnotblue Says:

    Wow. It took a lot longer than I thought it would, before we saw our first, “Oh yeah… well FOX News… blah blah blah” comment. You guys are nothing if not predictable.

    When all else fails, blame FOX without evidence or relevance, and hope someone buys it. Even when MSNBC screws up, it’s still FOX’s fault. Oy.

    I’m sure now, as a result, the Obama Admin will start their war against MSNBC and try to delegitimize them, just as they’ve done for FOX… since, you know, you guys think they’re THE SAME. Yeah, I’ll wait for that.

    OR… I’ll spend the next two weeks helping Spud look for his snorkel on the other side of the globe. You know, one or the other.

    Have fun, kids!

  15. This story about MSNBC being “downright dishonest? is now playing on AOL/Huffpo and elsewhere. I’m a little surprised.

  16. When all else fails, blame FOX without evidence or relevance, and hope someone buys it. Even when MSNBC screws up, it’s still FOX’s fault. Oy.

    There is plenty of evidence from all kinds of sources proving their use of edited footage and videos. If you don’t believe all the different watchdogs, just ask Jon Stewart… and Sean Hannity who admitted he was wrong (for once).

    I’m sure now, as a result, the Obama Admin will start their war against MSNBC and try to delegitimize them, just as they’ve done for FOX

    Fox de-legitimatized themselves the moment they went on the air and started becoming cheerleaders for the GOP, not to mention, trying to help the GOP to take down every single well-known Democratic politician, especially the current President.

  17. I though this was about MSNBC?

  18. That’s aways their last line of defense. Predictable as it is pathetic.

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