Green Room

The awkward moment for NBC reporters

posted at 9:17 pm on November 5, 2012 by

This comes pretty far down into a pox-upon-both-houses piece from the New York Times on shrill partisanship at Fox and MSNBC during the election cycle.  The article starts by hitting Fox but quickly notes that MSNBC is even worse, and at least Fox has been forcing other media outlets to cover the questions about Benghazi that they seemed happy to ignore.  The NYT doesn’t even credit MSNBC for any news value at all, and describes the apparent embarrassment of their network colleagues across the virtual hallway:

MSNBC, whose programs are hosted by a new crop of extravagant partisans like Mr. Bashir, Mr. Sharpton and Lawrence O’Donnell, has tested the limits of good taste this year. Mr. O’Donnell was forced to apologize in April after describing the Mormon Church as nothing more than a scheme cooked up by a man who “got caught having sex with the maid and explained to his wife that God told him to do it.”

The channel’s hosts recycle talking points handed out by the Obama campaign, even using them as titles for program segments, like Mr. Bashir did recently with a segment he called “Romnesia,” referring to Mr. Obama’s term to explain his opponent’s shifting positions.

The hosts insult and mock, like Alex Wagner did in recently describing Mr. Romney’s trip overseas as “National Lampoon’s European Vacation” — a line she borrowed from an Obama spokeswoman. Mr. Romney was not only hapless, Ms. Wagner said, he also looked “disheveled” and “a little bit sweaty” in a recent appearance….

Such stridency has put NBC News journalists who cover Republicans in awkward and compromised positions, several people who work for the network said. To distance themselves from their sister channel, they have started taking steps to reassure Republican sources, like pointing out that they are reporting for NBC programs like “Today” and “Nightly News” — not for MSNBC.

If NBC reporters recognize that MSNBC hurts their credibility as journalists, why can’t the NBC News division figure it out?

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