Despite my rant about MSNBC, old habits die hard and I found myself watching Morning Joe this morning. That and there’s nothing else worth a darn out there to watch in the morning before my children get up and I’m forced to watch “Magic Schoolbus.” I digress.
Me: sitting on the couch with a cup of tea. Pat Buchanan: (paraphrase) Barack Obama’s only getting 24% of the white vote. He’s got to do something about that. Me: Damn, I wish I had TiVo.
Really? Did Pat Buchanan just put more lighter fluid on the race bonfire or was it just my imagination? No, I really did hear it. 24%. Ok, he may have said 25%. But it’s all the same.
I did some math. I went to FOX so no one could accuse me of following a liberal media bias and used their exit poll numbers. OK, really I used them because they have a straight white / black tally instead of a nuanced white-age-sex breakdown like CNN and, to a less complicated extent, MSNBC. But the liberal media bias was a good line, wasn’t it? Anyway, I tallied up the white vote for all the states available and came up with this grand averaged value: 36.64%. That’s a good 12 points higher than Pat’s 24% – 25%. 12 points. That Mt. Kilimanjaro in politics.
Look, Pat’s been around a long time and I’m sure he’s a nice guy. He must know something because MSNBC has him on all_the_time. What he doesn’t know is math or stats or how to read polls, apparently. And that old pol can’t have much power or status anymore if the only table at which he can find a constant seat is that of a cable TV news outlet.
I could fire off (yet another) letter to MSNBC about Pat’s (theoretically inadvertent) error, but I think I’d rather just sit on my couch with my cup of tea and roll my eyes at him. That’s probably all he’s worth anyway.
***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.”