Former MSNBC host: Channel has problem “spiraling out of control”
posted at 2:41 pm on January 31, 2014 by Ed Morrissey
“I’m sure Phil Griffin believes it’s a real problem,” S. E. Cupp tells The Blaze today in speaking about her experiences at MSNBC and the trolling tweet that resulted in Griffin’s apology. As Cupp points out (and as Erik Wemple did yesterday), the apology route only signifies that the problem of race-baiting demagoguery at the NBC/Comcast subsidiary is real, and getting out of control. The former MSNBC contributor says she used to welcome that debate when she co-hosted “The Cycle” on the cable channel, as a means to explore the lack of tolerance and demagoguery on the Left. When the network itself participates in that behavior, it moves to an entirely different level, Cupp argues:
Cupp is a former co-host of MSNBC’s “The Cycle,” a show on which race “came up a lot.”
“I always welcomed that idea where someone, some less thoughtful pundit, would introduce that idea that half the country is racist because they’re Republican, because I thought, ‘This is great. If liberalism exposes tolerance, I’m glad we are showing and exposing that lack of tolerance for what it is,” she said Thursday on TheBlaze TV’s “Real News.” “It’s all they can see.”
Cupp added that it was also fun “shooting down” these ideas when they were brought up by her former MSNBC colleagues.
“But when it comes in an official capacity from the network,” she said, referring to the Cheerios tweet, “I think that’s deeply disappointing. Deeply, deeply disappointing.”
Frankly, I’m not sure anyone’s expectations of MSNBC are high enough for that to be disappointing at all. The escalating string of incidents and apologies clearly show a kind of media “pathology” at work, as Wemple put it yesterday, and one that should embarrass Phil Griffin, NBC, and Comcast. So far, though, aside from firing some still-unnamed staffer over the tweet and having someone leak how angry Griffin got, we’re not seeing much evidence of shame at Comcast, NBC, or its spiraling subsidiary. When the on-air talent changes from rank demagogues to people a little less inclined toward that particular “pathology,” or management changes are made to underscore those lessons, then perhaps we can raise our expectations enough for other incidents to be “deeply, deeply disappointing.”
Griffin won’t help his credibility with a fantasy of non-partisanship:
MSNBC chief Phil Griffin denies his cable network is a platform for the liberal agenda, insisting the channel only welcomes a certain “progressive sensibility.” …
He told the Daily Beast in an interview published Thursday, though the chat was conducted before the social media scandal, that he hires “people who fit the sensibility” but denied being a flag bearer for any certain ideology.
“If you’re a Democrat in trouble … you’re not going to get a free ride if you did wrong,” he said.
But Griffin insists that Fox is ideological compared to MSNBC’s “sensibilities”:
In his office Griffin insists: “I think we’ve never had an ideology. An ideology is a single thought across all programs. We’ve never had that.” As evidence, he mentions the spirited on-air debates in 2010, pro and con, concerning whether the Bush tax cuts should be allowed to expire. “Obviously I hire people who fit the sensibility,” Griffin says. “We do stay true to facts. You have to build your argument. That’s why I call it a sensibility.” …
As for Fox News, “I think they do have an ideology,” Griffin says, “because every Republican who’s in trouble goes on that network to be taken care of…They’re owned by News Corp., which is Rupert Murdoch. Roger Ailes runs it, and he comes out of the Republican Party.” Griffin adds: “That’s fine. They’ve done an incredible job over there. They’ve been very successful. They drive a lot of the conversation.”
Yes, I’m sure that this is the way to convince people you’ve grasped the problem. Meanwhile, Katie Pavlich rounds up the win from yesterday, giving kudos in particular to the Boss Emeritus. In the battle of credibility, I know where I’d place my bets …
Update: I published this by accident while still editing it earlier. That’s why the first comment is before the displayed publish time.