MSNBC … fair and balanced?

***Update:  7pm 2/9/08  MSNBC is airing a one hour documentary on Hillary Clinton.  This is one hour of free advertising for the candidate, including interviews with friends and family.  From Ben Smith’s Blog:  This pre-empts the regularly scheduled programming, a show called Deadly Encounter. Not joking.*** 

You cannot have missed by now the scandal over at MSNBC.  David Shuster, by all accounts a well respected and excellent political reporter, completely screwed up when he said that Chelsea Clinton was being “pimped out” by the Clinton campaign (see the video).  Oh man, that was bad.  That’s career ending stuff.  He apologized, on air, twice.  He’s been suspended indefinitely.  Done.

Well, maybe not.  It appears that MSNBC is going above and beyond on this one.  They have so tipped the scales pro-Clinton in their political coverage in the last 24 hours that I question what, exactly, they’re afraid of?  It makes me think of the deal over at GQ last summer when the Clinton campaign had a story killed in exchange for access to Bill.  I actually can surmise what MSNBC is afraid of here.  They have one of the two coveted Clinton v. Obama debates left.  Hillary is so pissed over this Chelsea thing that she is threatening to pull out of the MSNBC debate. 

So what’s MSNBC to do?  I’ll tell you what they are doing:  they’re giving Hillary all the free coverage she could want.  Yesterday, they spent 20 minutes of air time covering a live rally.  When it was Obama’s turn, they gave him 5.  Today, on their politics front page, they have a nice large picture of a smiling Hillary.  There are three stories on their popular “First Read” column:  two on Clinton and one on McCain.  Within their published collaborative article with the National Journal called “Whose coalition is bigger?,” regarding the current race between Obama and Clinton, there’s a sidebar on Bill Clinton.  All of this at a time when, by all accounts, the Clinton campaign has been hurting for cash. 

It appears that MSNBC is once again kneeling at the feet of the Clinton machine, as they did when they forced Chris Matthews to apologize on air for speaking the truth.  MSNBC had seemed like the one news network left that at least pretended to give fair coverage in the political arena.  I’m now reminded of the old rhyme, “… and then there were none.”


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33 responses to “MSNBC … fair and balanced?

  1. Does appear to be a sort of attempt to appease a politically powerful person, and yet despite FEC rules it’s difficult to “undo” whatever damage this lopsided coverage has caused to Obama. This is more the sort of stunt one would expect from FOX, not an actual news organization.

  2. L Hansen

    Media Matters has been all over MSNBC for Chris Matthews’ “misogynist remarks about HRC”, including an ongoing “Matthews Watch” kind of thing. Significant pressure applied that MSNBC made an example of Shuster.

    Truth to tell, the “pimped out” comment was ill-considered. But it seems perhaps the brass at MSNBC are about the business of mending fences–and that’s trumping balance in the news.

    T Hayes is right. We can’t unring a bell. What we can do is make our concern heard–at both MSNBC and Media Matters. Even the appearance of “punishing” Obama for the politically incorrect verbal slips of their employees is not fair play.

  3. Hillary’s bio has been on Headliners and Legends at least two times this week. I wonder how many other times they’ve played it.

  4. JR

    These mistakes at MSNBC recently are symptomatic of their attempts to compete with other cable news channels. They have become less objective and more spirited in reporting stories because they think that is how Fox is so successful. It’s not that simple. Fox and CNN beat MSNBC for the same reason Obama will beat Hillary, and I do not think MSNBC understands the strategic logic, which has to do with making a market, not satisfying a market.

    The most disappointing act was not the Schuster mistake, but how MSNBC purposely treated Kucinich around the debate a few weeks ago.

    But stay tuned because the biggest mistake waiting to happen has to do with Olbermann in such a central role. He has no business reporting news anyway but why have him commenting on debates, interviewing candidates, etc.? It’s an accident waiting to happen. He just looks silly and is not taken seriously. It’s too bad – I have watched MSNBC for ten years but I find myself tuning in elsewhere. They need new management who can make smarter strategic decisions. It’s like they have no vision or respect for reporting the news, so they coast along based on these puffed egos in suits until one of them makes another mistake.

  5. Bob

    Not to mention that equal time does not apply to “news” shows. We used to have the “Fairness Doctrine,” but you can thank Ronald Reagan for getting rid of that.

  6. Pingback: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is Now Pimps vs. Fairy Tales | The Source for all the Dirt in the 2008 Presidential Election Campaign

  7. Neo Poe

    Politics is a ‘dirty low-down game’,you have to fight dirt with dirt(sometimes),but Sen. Obama, is well on his way to the ‘White House'(hopefully!),just let MSNBC & the ‘Clinton’ machine wallow in the mud. Justice and Truth,will prevail!

  8. matt newby

    Did anyone else notice that they never updated the guide listing for this on Directv? While we were watching this little shit show, the guide said the name of the program that was on was “Deadly Encounter”. Now ain’t that the truth!!

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  10. Bob, stfu

    Bob, pull the anti-Ronnie bug out past your sphincter and get a clue, ok? If the “fairness doctrine” were in effect today only a liar on the level of Nixon or Kilpatrick would say that it was just as important to get Clinton’s views on the Rush show as it was to get Romney’s view on Jessie Jackson’s show. You democrats are so freaking dishonest that it churns my stomach. When a convicted drug dealer is pardoned by Billy then given total control over the electronic voting machines not a peep of protest is heard from your evil, sinister hearts. When at-will employees are fired at will, it is the darkest conspiracy the world has ever known. Hillary is going to get the nomination because the deck is stacked in her favor. Not only does she have the superdelegates lined up in her corner, her con to ensure that Michigan and Florida could vote only for her worked. Then there is the issue with the New Hampshire primaries ***** KNOWN BEYOND ANY DOUBT ***** to have been rigged (How many precincts reported -zero- votes for Ron Paul, only to have people who voted for Ron Paul question why their votes had not been counted?). Hillary is dirty, and the DNC nationals are on board. Hillary is the living embodiment of the notion that the Democrats are responsible for more disenfranchisement, voter fraud and outright corruption in a single election than every Republican put together for an entire generation.
    So seriously, Bob… STFU. Get a clue.

  11. BRAD

    It is a pretty dumb question to be asking if a newsgroup is “Fair and Balanced” I have yet to see one that truly is. If MSNBC wants to endorse one candidate more than the others, then that is just plain natural. MSNBC may be “kneeling at the feet of the Clinton machine” but millions of voters are kneeling at the feet of MSNBC.

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  13. I hardly think Shuster is a well respected and excellent reporter. In the last 12 months, he called Ron Paul a “crackpot” but he couldn’t back up his statement. He called Paul supporters the “Al Queada wing of the Republican Party.” He had to apologize to Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee after demanding to know the name of the last soldier killed in her district and then furnishing a false name himself.

    Funny thing is, this isn’t the worst Shuster has done. I just think MSNBC is tired of having children on the payroll.

  14. STFU – I wish I had said that.
    PMSNBC – should not have suspended Schuster, they should have given him a raise. Why not? How is it that the female reporter over on the GOLF CHANNEL – I think her name is Kelly Tilghman – said ‘they should lynch him’ referring as to what other PGA players could do to stop Tiger Woods from winning so often, apologized and was given a two weeks leave of absence. She later apologized and Tiger accepted. No big deal.
    But when Chelsea was accused of pimping for the wicked witch of the east, and having visited polling places on the day of voting (which is illegal) why shouldn’t this have been between Chelsea and Schuster?
    Can’t Chelsea defend herself, or is she like most other democrats who have either their wives, husbands, children defend/speak for them.
    Pox on MSNBC – may they die a slow death.

  15. Pingback: MSNBC …. fair and balanced? « MorganWrites

  16. thefamilyguy

    Unfortunately for MSNBC, they accepted the FOX-news-is-biased-to-the-right drum beat as reality rather than seeing FOX for what it was. FOX did the news without a liberal political spin, and then they aired talk and opinion shows that appealed to an unrepresented segment of the TV market.

    I’m sure that news without political spin probably seems biased to the right for most liberals. They are used to hearing thier opinions fed back to them and validated by every story, and it has become the norm to them. MSNBC figured that a political lean was what people wanted, so they went left to oppose what they saw as the FOX right. Left from already left became far left, and the harsh anti-Bush and anti-american sentiment they were forced to adopt is really unpalatable to most viewers….hence, no one actually watches them save for a very type of fringe.

    They were really foolish to come out for Hillary at all. Obama is the darling of the far-left crowd, so naturally any support of Clinton angers them. Throw on a two hour Obama Bio-love-fest and have the “journalists” ask him some marshmallow questions and the commentary would be different. “Oh, how fair and thoughtful they are at MSNBC.”

    I, for one, will only be truly happy when they reach the point of making Olbermann do info-mercials.

  17. So true so true you can not buy stuff like this.

  18. MJ "revoltingpawn"


    You really think Fox News is not bias but just without political spin? Do you work for them? Ignorant? or What?

    Robert Murdoch head of Fox News admitted in a interview they tried to sway public opinion about the Iraq War. So yes they are bias. Here is the story and video…

    MSNBC is hardly left since is owned by GE who is one of the biggest military defense contractors. Something like 90% of all tv, radio, newspapers, and magazines are owned by like six corporations. I assure you they are not run by liberals. Rush Limbaugh and other right wing blow holes like to refer to the “liberal media” but it has (if ever did exist ) cease to exist when Regan first started to deregulate the media in the 1980’s.

    All the information we receive from mainstream sources is filtered by corporate America. Because of this and lack of education in schools on politics, civics, and our history most people do not understand our whole political spectrum has shifted to the right. I laugh when read posts from far right loonies on how the Republican party has shifted left.

    Oh, I can see the anti-Bush sentiment but how does this translate to anti-American? Does Rush have his dick in your ass when he feeds you words?

  19. thefamilyguy


    This type of black-helicopter theory always amuses me. Firstly, I’m guessing that you have difficulty distinguishing opinion shows like O’Reilly and Olbermann from the actual news content. If FOX has a greater number of conservative leaning talk pundits, it is because they are lacking elsewhere. Go ahead, find some conservatives in the major media…….they may have a token one on occasionally, always surrounded by a pack of critical liberals.

    Secondly, regardless of who owns them, most media outlets are run by liberal-leaning “journalists”. Surveys have shown that they overwhelming vote democrat (85-90%) and that bias slips easily into thier content.

    Third, your link is to a sad angry and jaded website. So, you think old Rupert has this great secret agenda….and oops…one day he slips up on a public forum and tells the whole world?

    And lastly, of course, in typical fashion, you finish off by saying that the public is just too uneducated and simple to really notice how they have been duped (understandable, especially if you are surrounded by left-leaning liberals)…..and then you finish by using expletives and implying that I am somehow a homosexual. Wow. It’s amazing how you all say the same stuff… there a handbook? Something bt George Lackoff maybe?

    Funny stuff. Really.

  20. MJ "revoltingpawn"


    Black-helicopter theory? huh?! I am talking about the “news content” of FOX News. Watch CNN, MSNBC, or whatever and compare to Fox News and tell me there is not a bias. Come on… When Fox has pundits on to comment on a issue they have two conservative people and one liberal person. Fox news anchors are famous for ignoring and talking over the liberal pundit almost all the time.

    How was my link bias? All you had to do was watch the video and see Murdoch saying the words.

    Forget Fox News since my real point was that the mainstream media is in fact not “liberal”. I am not sure how old you are but what passes as “liberal” today is not what “liberal” was in say the 1960’s and 70’s so hence the shift. The so called “liberal media” questioned the Vietnam War from the start. Contrast that to today and the media was nowhere to be found when George wanted to march into Iraq based on lies. Hell, the media was cheerleading the effort. To make it more clear, today someone is called ‘liberal” if they want to pull our troops out of the trillion dollar mistake of Iraq who had authorized force to begin with and in the past “the liberal” was someone who was truly anti-war.

    This has all to do with deregulation and corporate takeover of the media. You are crazy if don’t think the owners of media have a say in the content slant and more important what does not get covered at all.

    Yes, most journalists are more liberal but that has a lot to do with in they are collage educated. Look up the stats and the more educated a person is (exclude MBAs) the more likely they are liberal. Make of that as you will…

    I admit the “dick in the ass” thing was uncalled for… I just get tired of people who comment on blogs or call in to radio shows and repeat the same “talking points’ that they heard on Rush or O’Reilly. Sorry you do not hear all “the same stuff” from the progressive media. Just listen to the shows on Air America and will hear that the online personalities have different opinions on the same issue or news item. The “handbook” comment really refers to the Rush and O’Reilly crowd who truly speak alike.

    The fact is the Left incorporates a bigger tent of different peoples and backgrounds so you get a more diverse range of ideas. (Just look at the Presidential candidates – Democrats were black, white, hispanic, male, female, older, younger, moderate to far left and the Republicans are bunch of old white guys all trying to be more “conservative”) The Right is much more narrow in its ideology and worse is being dominated not by the majority of the party but the minority neoconservative/Christian fundamentalist crowd.

  21. thefamilyguy

    There is enough here to fill 20 threads, so I guess it’s ok if I cherry pick a bit.

    Again, while FOX does have more conservative pundits, they mostly try and include liberal ideas as well. They do lean right when it comes to talk shows. There is no other media outlet anyplace that serves those who have conservative ideas (and that IS bias. No opposing opinions at all on MSNBC), so if FOX has more than it’s share, I’d say that is just good business. The news, however, is different from opinion shows. If you are watching O’Reilley and thinking his news is slanted, then you are not paying attention. He does a talk show…….it is not news. I’ve watched FOX and have seen stories that no other network chose to air. When I watch CNN-NBC-CBS-ABC it is often hard to tell the difference. Stories are the same, spin is the same.

    And if you do listen to air-america ( and I do) it is full of harsh angry people who follow the play book of name calling, shouting down opposing views (go ahead and try to make a non-party-line comment. They’ll imply that your parents were never married, or are related by birth) and religious and philosophical intolerance. Look what happend to poor Joe Liebermann when he spoke up.

    Lastly, Democrats seem to have forgotten who started the Iraq has nukes train and who voted for the war before they voted against it. It began way before GW got there. I would also strongly disagree that it was a mistake, or that we have in any way lost, and I really hate comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam. The only similarity is in the anti-establishment kooks that protested both. Iraq is turning out to have quite a strong parliamentary movement and (if we don’t cruelly and uncaringly abandon them to the depridations of a harsh Islamist movement) the Iraqis are starting to get some real traction in bringing a unique style of elected government to it’s people.

    It’s always surprising to see the left supporting “the insurgents” who are anti-womans rights, anti-abortion, anti-separation of church and state, anti-multi cultural, pro-religious schooling, pro-torture, and pro-death penalty. The exact opposite of liberals, and yet liberals love them.

    You folks confuse the heck out of. I have to get back to Lackoff’s book now………

  22. MJ "revoltingpawn"


    You just don’t seen to get the idea that the liberal media does not exist and MSNBC or FOX News do not need to present a opposing viewpoint. Enough of beating that dead horse..

    Yes Air America does have angry callers but it is expected after seven years of George Bush and the Democrats doing nothing. Seems have heard many a angry caller on the right wing talk shows and if listen to local radio in the south you will also hear a lot of racist and hateful talk to top it off.

    Sorry can’t blame the Democrats for the Iraq issue. There is a huge difference in wanting inspections during the Clinton administration and the Bush administration declaring the Iraqis have WMDs based on hand picked wrong intel. Yes the Democrats shouldn’t have signed off on authorization of force but they put to much trust in Bush. This is Bush’s War all the way…

    Not surprised you think the Iraq War is swell. Oh wow little democracy for Iraq and all they needed to do was give up was 60,000 to 100,000 of their lives, their sovereignty, and soon their oil rights. We just needed couple thousand lives and a trillion dollars. What a deal!

    Not sure what you mean about losing? We do not have a exist strategy and at the rate we are spending money there in just couple of years we will be in economic ruin if not already.

    Iraq and Vietnam are not similar? Besides both being unneeded, great lose of American life, big cost in dollars, us butting in far away places, causing division in our nation, and neither having a exit strategy they are not alike at all.

    Thanks for finishing your comment by proving that you do nothing but repeat the words of the right wing talk radio blow holes. The left supports and loves “the insurgents”? What! Huh? Why don’t you just make shit up? Oh you did…

    I doubt you even know “insurgents” is nothing but catch all label that describes many different groups with different goals and agendas in Iraq.

    Well you can have the last word if you like to continue making ignorant statements but it’s now waste of my time for me.

  23. whydidyoudoit

    The Clinton campaign didn’t have a healthcare plan befor it felled and they don’t have one now. Well to be honest, if everyone is a goverment employee, then the Clinton healthcare plan will work for everyone. Unfortunately some are self employed, independent contractors or work for private employors or small business. Under the Clinton healthcare plan these people would be penalized if they don’t pay for their healthcare. This means that most of your family members and friends will have their paychecks garnished. We all know that it doesn’t stop there if it is a goverment enforcement. There will be fines and then misdemeanors which is a criminal offense defined as less serious than a felony. Why did Ms. Clinton decide on this approach? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out. Big business, big Corporation call it what you will, they want their money back and in order for Ms. Clinton to get their support in her race to presidency she is giving victory to one side (the healthcare providers) by promising to them that she will have the poeople wages garnished if they continue to give healthcare. Thus allowing her to shout the words “UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE” This is a shady tactic and makes fools out of every american that falls for this trick. The Obama healthcare plan is for the people. Poor people, middle class and rich people can rest assured that there is no tricks or penalties in the Obama healthcare plan. VOTE OBAMA!!

  24. Eric

    MJ “revoltingpawn” truly embodies what is wrong with the left in this country – they are just flat nasty biggots. The intollerance of these types would make a klansman flinch. My appologies to those liberals that don’t spew hate to all those that disagree with them.

    As far as the cable news outlets – Fox, which obviously leans right in their commentary – has presented the most balanced political coverage in their election08 series I’ve seen. If you disagree – show us an example. MSNBC has become a joke, but CNN has been quite good and worthy of watching as well.

  25. Eric

    I just spotted this by MJ “revoltingpawn”
    “…Sorry can’t blame the Democrats for the Iraq issue. There is a huge difference in wanting inspections during the Clinton administration and the Bush administration declaring the Iraqis have WMDs based on hand picked wrong intel…”

    I served 8 deployments to Turkey and Saudi flying patrols over the No Fly Zones. The inspectors were booted from Iraq after Clinton had us hurl a few bombs on meaningless sites in Iraq in retaliatory strikes. Bush made an aweful lot of mistakes – but this wasn’t one of them. Maybe if clinton had done better job, our intel might have been better. Besides, EVERY leading democrat agreed that there were WMDs – there was no hand picked intel – it was just wrong.

    I would implore MJ “revoltingpawn” to at least be honest while defending his or her position- it does you no favors to stake out a position based on huffington Post talking points.

  26. MJ "revoltingpawn"


    Wow! You called me a nasty bigot, intolerant, and dishonest in two comments and you think give a good example of the right? Did you forget to call me a terrorist? LOL These was all based on what? By the way use a spell checker if you are going to insult me.

    All the political coverage form MSNBC, CNN, and FOX has sucked and has been mostly unwatchable. I don’t even like mainstream media. Sorry you can call me any names you like but Fox News is still bias and there is no “liberal” mainstream media. Get over it… The problem once again is don’t seem know what being liberal really means.

    Are we really going back to the blame Clinton thing seriously?

    I think the Democrats believed in was politically beneficial to believe in WMDs. They should have stood up to Bush right there. Funny I knew their was no meaningful WMD’s in Iraq before we went in. How? The French and Russian intel said there wasn’t… There was intel from us that was public that disagreed with what Bush was saying. John Ritter our U.N. rep. who went to Iraq said there wasn’t. Remember how Fox and right wing radio crucified him? I wonder if they ever apologized? Bush pushed his lie and the buck stops with him.

    Look at yourself before spew insults…

  27. Eric

    MJ “revoltingpawn” said
    “All the political coverage form MSNBC, CNN, and FOX has sucked and has been mostly unwatchable. I don’t even like mainstream media. Sorry you can call me any names you like but Fox News is still bias and there is no “liberal” mainstream media. Get over it… The problem once again is don’t seem know what being liberal really means. “

    –I knew you couldn’t provide an example and wouldn’t. Saying it doesn’t make it true. The media leans left and we all know it – as the article showed.

    “I think the Democrats believed in was politically beneficial to believe in WMDs. They should have stood up to Bush right there. Funny I knew their was no meaningful WMD’s in Iraq before we went in. How? The French and Russian intel said there wasn’t… There was intel from us that was public that disagreed with what Bush was saying. John Ritter our U.N. rep. who went to Iraq said there wasn’t.”

    –The French always took an opposing view – nothing new there. It’s amazing how you knew all the answers and Clinton, Kerry, Gore, et al didn’t – you must be clairvoyant. In any case, I explained what happened with the inspectors and it’s well documented – you were wrong.

  28. Eric

    I knew MJ “revoltingpawn” would be unable to back it up with an honest fact. Just because you say it does not make it true.

    Maybe you are also clairevoyant since you “know” waht the rest of us don’t. The FACT is, the US has better intel than anyone else. Assuming that anything the French or Italians had to say is true when it contradicts the US is rediculous – they were just staking those claims to counter the US – not because they knew anything. Luck doesn’t make them right – just lucky.

    As far as news bias – it has bees WELL documented that most of the TV and print media leans left – it isn’t even a debatable point anymore. Only a borderline Communist would think there is a right tilt.

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  30. Wang

    Speaking of Chelsea Clinton:

    There is bad news about her father.

    It is opined that Bill Clinton committed racist hate crimes, and I am not free to say anything further about it.

    Respectfully Submitted by Andrew Y. Wang, J.D. Candidate
    B.S., Summa Cum Laude, 1996
    Messiah College, Grantham, PA
    Lower Merion High School, Ardmore, PA, 1993

    (I can type 90 words per minute, and there are probably thousands of copies on the Internet indicating the content of this post. Moreover, there are innumerable copies in very many countries around the world.)
    “If only it were possible to ban invention that bottled up memories so they never got stale and faded.” Off the top of my head—it came from my Lower Merion High School yearbook.

  31. After reading through this article, I feel that I need more information on the topic. Could you suggest some resources please?

  32. Thank you for sharing much experience a person has giving public speeches, you can easily bet your hard earned money that public speakers of each level create a speech outline before giving their presentation.

  33. My persistent civil libertarianism will cause an ulcer if I keep reading stories like this.

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