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.)
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…