Category Archives: MSNBC

MSNBC is not calling Norway massacre terrorism

I’ve been out of the house for a few hours and just got online to catch up on the news.

I was just reading this story on MSNBC.com about the Oslo attacks and shockingly (or is it?) not once do they use the terms terror,terrorist or terrorism. What’s up with that? Can someone explain that to these people that it is possible for terrorists to be Caucasian and Christian.  I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the American “news” channels have moved on to other stories tomorrow since they can’t tie this to Al-Qaeda like they tried for most of today.

This is hardly the first time MSNBC has done something like this. I mentioned the same thing last year when they didn’t label the suicide bomber who struck the IRS building in Austin, Texas a terrorist.
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A conversation with Rachel Maddow

Earlier today I attended “A conversation with Rachel Maddow” at Rutgers University. It was an event organized by the “Eagleton Institute of Politics” at Rutgers University as part of their “It’s all Politics” series. It was a fun event event that lasted roughly 90 minutes.

It was done in a Q&A format with the Director of the Eagleton Institute, Ruth Mandel serving as the moderator. The first of it involved the moderator asking Rachel Maddow questions and letting her run with it. For the second half of selected students and the general audience got to do the same. Format wise it reminded me a lot of a “West Wing” episode called “Celestian Navigation” where Josh Lyman is at a similar Q&A session.

It was an interesting look into the behind the scenes aspects of the Rachel Maddow Show. I have long said that it is the best researched news show on TV so it was definitely interesting to see listen to her point out how unorganized they are at times. She mentioned that multiple times they have had a guest sitting in studio for the next segment and decided to call an audible and do something different. She made a point to mention that everyone on her staff from top to bottom pitches stories, does research for them and writes them. She was asked if she pictured a certain audience sitting on the other side listening to her. She said she didn’t. She explained her job as being able to explain things going on in the world with the added benefit that someone willingly would watch the show. When asked to talk about the MSNBC and Fox being similar she made sure to point out that it is in her contract that MSNBC executives will not tell her what to cover and what not to cover. She also emphasized that no one from MSNBC has ever told her how to cover a story either and she pointed out her reporting of General Electric related stories. She was asked if she had an agenda and her response to that was great. 

I have a point of view and an opinion, but not an agenda.

I think that was a pretty honest response. I have never seen her let her view or opinion get int the way of reporting something objectively. The moderator mentioned what is visible to anyone who watches the show on a regular basis and that being that Rachel Maddow legitimately looks like she has fun doing her job. Her response?

The truth is, I’m a grump! I’m a grump and a depressive.

Somehow I have a hard time picturing that. She didn’t take many direct shots at Fox and gracefully sidestepped question on the issue by saying the only TV she watched were British cop shows. She mentioned that she doesn’t like to do live shows because the energy from the crowd ends up taking too much out of her and it is difficult to pace the week. She was still extended an invitation to come back and do her show live from Rutgers. I’ll embed the video of the event when it is available. 

There was something I disagreed with her on though. She mentioned Pakistan as a threat and how Pakistan “wants nuclear war with India.” I grew in Pakistan and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Pakistan and India having nuclear weapons is probably the only thing that has the two from having gone to war at some point in the last 15 years when tensions have been quiet high at times. It is fairly easy to mention that most Pakistanis don’t like the US without looking into the situation deeper and what caused that sentiment in the first place. Pakistan has paid a heavy toll for what has gone on in Afghanistan in the last three decades. Pakistani military has faced heavy casualties. Violence and crime within Pakistan has gone up thanks to the influx of weapons into the region that began when the US armed the “Mujahedeens” in the 1980s. It is easy to say Pakistan is a “police state” from afar but even with Pakistan’s less then spectacular history with Democracy that is quiet a stretch. It is easy to point out military rule in Pakistan but doing so without mentioning US backed military rulers is dishonest. Mentioning a lack of a history of democracy in Pakistan while ignoring American support for Zia-ul-Haq who overthrew and hung Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto is being dishonest. Yes, privately owned media outlets are a new phenomenon in Pakistan but the way they question everything done by the Pakistani government is not something that we regularly see here in the US when we need to. I respect Rachel Maddow and what she does but her views on Pakistan are just a little bit off base.

As part of the series the Eagleton Institute will welcome White House advisor Valerie Jarrett on May 2nd at 5 PM. Former Bush 43 White House and John McCain campaign Communications Director, Nicolle Wallace was on campus two weeks ago. Her appearance is available on YouTube





Edit:

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Keith Olbermann out at MSNBC

In a move I guess we should have seen coming MSNBC terminated the contract of Keith Olbermann today. In his final segment tonight he announced that this was the last edition of Countdown. I have been a big fan of Olbermann’s work with MSNBC over the years. He was the one man on cable news trying to keep the previous administration honest while everyone else was willing to just stand there and look the other way. His segments about “Terror Alerts” were fantastic and showed a pattern of politically motivated fear tactics.

MSNBC did release a statement.

“MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract. The last broadcast of “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” will be this evening. MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC’s success and we wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Watch the video below courtesy of Media Matters.

He thanked a bunch of people at the end but MSNBC President Phil Griffin was a notable absence in that list. Of course there will be plenty of speculation that this is directly related to the Comcast NBC merger. For what its worth Comcast last year had said that they were committed to letting “Keith Olbermann be Keith Olbermann.”

NBC announced its new schedule via a press release.

Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo was a guest on the show tonight and was shocked about the termination.

The Olbermann exit comes exactly one year since Air America shut down.

Where does Olbermann go next? Will he end up at CNN and replace Parker/Spitzer? I don’t have any loyalty towards Ed Schultz or Lawrence O’Donnell at this time. CNN would be stupid not to try and land him at this point right?

I will follow Olbermann wherever it is that he ends up but for now I will continue to follow him on twitter. I’ll post some more thoughts on this in the coming days as more news become public.

The only appropriate end to this post is “good night and good luck.”
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Rachel Maddow interviews Jon Stewart

Rachel Maddow and MSNBC have been hyping up this interview all week. It is finally here.  Earlier today the blog mentioned that Jon Stewart had asked them to upload the entire interview online unedited. Rachel Maddow did of course agree to do that. The full interview is embedded below. I’ll have more thoughts on it once I watch the full version.


Rachel Maddow also appeared on “Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” to discuss the interview.

If you haven’t seen Rachel Maddow’s two appearances on The Daily Show here they are.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Rachel Maddow
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Rachel Maddow
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity

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Rachel Maddow speaks out about Olbermann suspension

By now you should have heard the MSNBC suspended Keith Olbermann for making campaign contributions to three Democrats for this election cycle.

Earlier tonight, Rachel Maddow addressed the issue as only she can. I agree with her completely on her point about people who compare MSNBC and Fox.

As you may have heard today, Keith Olbermann has been temporarily suspended from his job hosting Countdown on this network, because he made three personal political donations to candidates in this last election cycle. The reason for Keith’s suspension is that here at MSNBC, there is an explicit employee rule against hosts making contributions like that.

You can do it if you ask in advance and management tells you it’s OK. That’s what I understand happened with our morning-show host’s political donations in 2006, under previous management.

But if you don’t ask in advance for an exemption from the rule, you’re bound by the rule. (For the record: the rule applies to us here at MSNBC and to NBC News staff. CNBC isn’t under NBC News, so they’re not bound by the rule.)

I understand the rule. I understand what it means to break it. I believe everyone should face the same treatment under that rule. I also personally believe that the point has been made and we should have Keith back hosting Countdown.

Here’s the larger point, though, that’s going mysteriously missing from the right-wing cackling and old media cluck-cluck-clucking: I know everyone likes to say, “Oh, cable news, it’s all the same. Fox and MSNBC — mirror images of each other. But if you look at the long history of Fox hosts not just giving money to candidates, but actively endorsing campaigns and raising millions of dollars for politicians and political parties — whether it’s Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck or Mike Huckabee — and you’ll see that we can lay that old false equivalency to rest forever. There are multiple people being paid by Fox News to essentially run for office as Republican candidates. If you count not just their hosts but their contributors, you’re looking at a significant portion of the entire Republican lineup of potential contenders for 2012.

They can do that because there’s no rule against that at Fox. Their network is run as a political operation. Ours isn’t. Yeah, Keith’s a liberal, and so am I. But we’re not a political operation — Fox is. We’re a news operation. The rules around here are part of how you know that.

Back before it was politically safe to do it, Keith Olbermann attracted the ire of the right-wing and a lot of others besides when he brought to light and raged against what he saw as the errors and sins of the previous presidential administration. Keith was also the one who brought to light Fox News’s water-carrying for the Bush Administration; he was the one whose point-of-view journalism exposed and put exclamation points on the problems of disguising a political operation as a news one, the model embraced by the guys across Sixth Avenue, at Fox.

Now, weirdly, it is Keith who is once again illustrating the difference between what he does at MSNBC — what we do here — and what goes on across the street.

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Keith Olbermann Suspension

Earlier today word came down that MSNBC has suspended Keith Olbermann indefinitely. This comes in the aftermath of him making 3 donations to Democratic candidates in the midterm elections.

While I don’t have a problem with this policy, I do have a problem with enforcing it arbitrarily. If you are going to have a policy like this, you better enforce it 100% the time. In this era of corporate ownership of media, how do they enforce this? GE gives money to candidates. I’m sure other companies under the GE umbrella give money. Why single out one person?

 I don’t have an issue with him (or anyone else for that matter) making these donations but I think it is a problem when they have these same people on as guests and don’t mention the donation as a disclaimer. Now to be fair, I did not watch the nights he had these candidates on so I don’t know if he did acknowledge the donations (I doubt he did).

Greg Sargent of The Washington Post brings up an interesting point, did Keith Olbermann even violate the MSNBC policy?

**UPDATE** 10:32 PM: Rachel Maddow addressed the issue on her show and on her blog.

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Watching people get Brainwashed on Live TV

If you like to mock ignorant people, tonight was perfect. Not only was there a “Tea Party” convention on TV, Sarah “I Quit” Palin was the keynote speaker.

Mocking Sarah Palin is so easy….even a Caveman can do it! She really is the gift that keeps on giving. It is great news for the Democrats if she runs in 2012 because if you thought OFA people were energized last time, they’ll be out with even more force to defeat this ignorant quitter. Her “speech” was just like any other Palin speech. Half the time it made no sense. It really tells you all that you need to about these tea party folks that the words “Obama” and “teleprompter” bring them to their feet. Yes, these folks proclaim this clueless woman as their leader but want to mock the intelligence of Barack Obama? Memo to all the conservative idiots that keep trying to bring up the teleprompter “issue”….MEMORIZE YOUR SPEECH! You like a complete idiot on National TV when a)reading off a teleprompter yourself or b)literally reading off of a piece of paper.

Back to Palin’s remarks for a second. You can tell she is working for Faux News now. She’s picked up on the lingo like “Homicide Bombers.” She criticized media pundit but unfortunately her mind can’t comprehend that she gets paid to be one on Faux News! She said the best governments govern the least. That of course makes Sarah Palin the greatest Governor of all time! It is closing in on two years since was brought into the spotlight but she is still as clueless as ever. This was a friendly audience she was in front of and yes, the questions were still pre-screened. To top it off, she had notes on her hand to help her answer said pre-screened questions from this friendly audience. Kudos to @jryanlaw on twitter for getting that screenshot.

Scroll to the 0:45 mark of this video to see her peeking at notes. There’s nothing wrong with people getting facts right by having notes with them but don’t be a hypocrite about it.

I can understand Faux News airing this. I can understand C-SPAN airing this. I’ll even give CNN somewhat of a pass on this. What on earth were the folks at MSNBC doing airing this live? This is the same network that ignores real news every weekend to air repeats of  “Lockdown” right? Just checking. This was absolutely pathetic.

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“My President is Black”

Much has been made tonight about comments Chris Matthews made right after the State of the Union tonight. If you haven’t seen the clip yet…do so first before reading on.

This is where Liberals annoy me. Did Chris Matthews use the best set of words he could have? Absolutely not. But Liberals (and minority people) on twitter just jumped all over Chris Matthews like he just lynched someone in public. People are stuck on the first part of Chris Matthews’ comment….but why are they ignoring the rest of it? Why is the Left going all “Fox News” on me tonight? Yes, I did just use “Fox News” as a verb. I am a regular reader of “Talking Points Memo” but have to call them out for only putting a truncated version of the clip. Again, why go “Fox News” on us? Same goes for Think Progress too.

Really disappointed in Liberal tweeps tonight. What was a very solid speech from Obama is getting overshadowed because of this nonsense. Listen to or read his whole comment. My biggest grief tonight has been that people aren’t taking the statement in context. Could Chris Matthews have used better wording? Yes. Did the Twittervese overreact? Absolutely. The feeling I get on Twitter is that about 70% of liberals aren’t big fans of Chris Matthews or “Tweety” as he is widely knows for on reason or another. That dislike for him had a lot to with tonight’s overreaction. If you go back and look at Chris Matthew’s comments you see that he is referring to the broad nature of the speech. He even talks about the post racial America. Yet, for some reason he’s a racist? Obama’s speech was one where he called on both parties to grow up. Isn’t it time that the public do the same?

I got about 50 messages on Twitter tonight referring to Obama as a “Black President.” I got messages saying “My President is Black all the time.” Thank you to those people for clearing that up…because I really had no idea! It’s been a year people. We don’t still need to be stuck on the fact that an African American did get elected President. I got messages saying “My President is Black.” He is the President of the ENTIRE country….and not just the parts that have a minority population. Is racism still a problem in this country? Absolutely. But people (African Americans included) who continue to refer to Obama to this date as “a Black President” are part of the problem…not the solution. I don’t care if the President is Black, White, Brown, Yellow, Blue, Pink or Orange, people need to stop being so defensive. He needs to be commended on the good stuff (like the speech tonight) and face heat for his failures (Health Care Reform). There is no need to grade him on a curve…no matter what side of the argument you’re on. There is no reason to jump to his defense on a non-story like the comment tonight. What Chris Matthews said was a poor choice of words….not racism. I saw multiple people listing MSNBC’s phone number so people would call in and complain. Really people? Everyone was attacking Chris Matthews non-stop….making him one of the top trending topics on twitter at one time yet pundits on all networks were busy spreading lies. Fox probably had about 50 outrageous comments tonight that went unnoticed because people decided to take 5 seconds out of a 3 minute statement and spin it.

Matthews did clarify his comments a little while later on MSNBC.

Everyone knows I’m a big Obama guy and make every effort to go see him speak in person every time he’s in New Jersey but this stuff tonight was just aggravating. Sometimes people forget that not everything racial is racist.

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Ridge says Bush era “Terror Alerts” were politcally motivated.

Surprise! Former Head of Homeland Security Tom Ridge says that the Bush government “Terror Alerts” were politically motivated.

This of course is no surprise to many like me who caught on right away. Take a look at some brilliant work Keith Olbermann has done on this in the past.

The Nexus of Politics and Terror


Olbermann’s Special Comment: Chertoff’s Bullshit Terror Alert

Bush administration False Terror Alerts (part one)

Bush administration False Terror Alerts (part two)

Is anyone really surprised?

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