Can a statement that the world is round be newsworthy? Normally I’d say no but last night Matthews implied that it’s not so much that MSNBC is in the tank for O as that his and their views just happen to “coincide.” Mika Brzezinski also seems to think there’s some key qualitative difference between MSNBC and Fox News insofar as Fox, per its hires of former Republican candidates, is more of a mouthpiece for the party than her employer is. Which is funny, because not only has MSNBC made Obama confidants David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs contributors, the two of them are among Scarborough’s most frequent guests. If the network could give Jay Carney contributor status right now, in order to get talking-points milk fresh from the cow, no doubt they would. Note to Mika: The real difference between Fox and MSNBC is that Fox still cares about breaking news.
I thought we were past this. The trend in media over the past 10 years is to cop to one’s biases in lieu of doing anything about them, not to pretend that the bias isn’t there. It’s true that MSNBC hosts disagree with Obama sometimes, but there’s nothing sanitizing about that. Invariably it’s from the left, just as Sean Hannity will hit congressional Republicans at times from the right. Does that spare Hannity from criticism that he’s in the tank for the GOP leadership? The real evidence of MSNBC’s bias, as Glenn Greenwald would happily tell you, isn’t that they defend literally everything Obama does but rather that there’s little bite to their criticism when they do disagree. The Snowden affair under a GOP president would be a raging five-alarm news fire in big lefty media; under O, it’s perfunctory embers. “But Fox would behave the same way that MSNBC’s behaving now” you might say. Maybe — although Fox hasn’t spared Snowden from criticism just because he’s put a Democratic president in a bad position. And even if it’s true, that just proves Scarborough’s point. MSNBC is the left-wing equivalent of Fox at best, and frequently an embarrassing caricature of what it thinks Fox is.
Exit question via Slate: The springboard for Joe’s and Mika’s chat here is whether CNN or NBC should carry GOP debates. Why shouldn’t Fox carry all of them?