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The Bottom Of The Barrel

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Conservatives are the party of hate. This must be true, right? I heard it on the News. NBC News makes this point on its 24-hour cable news network at least 15 times per hour, and NBC is a “respected news source …” right?

I mean … right?

Growing up, I watched Tom Brokaw deliver the news weeknights and Tim Russert on Meet The Press every Sunday. I could tell by their story and question choices where they were coming from, but I never felt like their personal biases compromised their willingness to tell the truth. In other words, they had integrity.

Well, at NBC News, integrity is dead.

Chris Matthews used to be sane, I swear. I watched Hardball twice a day sometimes when I was in college in the late-1990s and early-2000s. He had great guests and interesting, honest discussions. He had it in him … at least back when NBC News was headed by people with an interest in journalism.

Sometime during the Bush years, NBC saw what it perceived to be an opportunity to capitalize on anti-war sentiment and become the voice of the opposition. The strategy backfired when it became apparent anti-war sentiment did not have the passion behind to sustain a movement.

MSNBC has loyal viewers, but they are few – and they seek reassurance at least as much as information. And that’s what MSNBC serves up.

The network likes to portray itself as some sort of counter-balance to Fox News, but unlike Fox, which has news from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Special Report at 6, MSNBC does not have one straight news show on at any time. The closest it comes is The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd at 9 a.m., but his background is not journalism, it’s as a Democrat campaign worker for Sen. Tom Harkin’s failed run for president. He plays it as straight as he can, but the environment at NBC News, one that advocates for “progressive” policies, makes that difficult.

Even NBC News’ Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Andrea Mitchell, has gone fully activist on her 1 p.m. show. You’d be as hard pressed to find her not cheering for Democrats as you would to find her covering her supposed area of expertise on her show. It routinely devolves into an echo chamber, a poetry slam performing DNC talking points.

That’s all well and good. It’s NBC’s brand to ruin however it sees fit. But if new NBC News president Deborah Turness wants to cauterize the hemorrhaging of viewers and profits, changes in personnel and expanding the pool of progressive contributors won’t do it. It’s not who is delivering the message; it’s the message.

And that message is disgusting.

NBC News personalities spend the lion’s share of their time attacking those who disagree with them politically in typical progressive style – name-calling. If charges of racism/sexism/homophobia translated into viewers, NBC News would be a ratings juggernaut.

Aside from the self-proclaimed journalists such as Mitchell, Matthews and Maddow, MSNBC employs a stream of activists whose only claim to knowledge or credibility is the stamp of approval they get from having NBC News on their checks. Al Sharpton, Ed Schultz, Touré, Krystal Ball and Melissa Harris-Perry, just to name a few, are the faces of NBC News in the 21st century.

And what of the heart?

Melissa Harris-Perry, whose day job is working as a professor of political science at Tulane University, hosts an eponymously named weekend show. She and her panel gave a shining example of both progressive hatred and how far NBC News has fallen just this past weekend.

For those who don’t know, Mitt Romney has an adopted grandson. Yes, it seems that when not giving people’s wives’ cancer, Romney raised his children to be caring human beings. More than that, Romney’s adopted grandson is black, so apparently this old, white racist failed to pass along his Hitler gene to them. Unless, of course, this is all part of a ruse to fool the American public into believing he’s hung up his hood as part of a third run for president in 2016.

That’s all nonsense, of course. Unless, that is, you’re watching the NBC News cable channel.

Melissa Harris-Perry, in a Sunday segment on “photos of the year,” decided to include a picture of Mitt and Ann Romney with their grandchildren. Why? Because one of those kids is black, and progressives can’t handle the prospect of their misinformed followers discovering Republicans aren’t Klansmen.

Upon seeing the family portrait, someone named Pia Glenn, who’s apparently an actress, sang, “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn’t the same. And that little baby, front and center, would be the one.” Classy.

Another panelist, a supposed comedian named Dean Obeidallah, chimed in not with an objection to Glenn’s bigotry or questioning Harris-Perry’s race-baiting reasons for picking the picture, but with “It really sums up the diversity of the Republican party, the RNC. At the convention, they find the one black person.” Obeidallah, whose whole shtick is being an Arab-American comedian, as opposed to just being a funny comedian (and if you’ve ever seen any YouTube clips of his “act,” he’s not), got chuckles from the barking seal group with his comment.

Mocking a baby and the family that loves him for political reasons is where progressives live. They hate – period. Step out of line, stray from progressive orthodoxy and you are to be destroyed. Mitt Romney has left the public stage, but he still exists, and he exists “wrong” in the minds of progressives, so he will forever be a target. And so will his grandson.

Upon catching wind of the uproar she and her cabal created by attacking an innocent child, Harris-Perry took to the latest medium to apologize when you don’t really mean it – Twitter. Note she didn’t do it on her show, nor did she do it immediately after her show. She was not overcome with the realization that what she’d deliberately facilitated was disgusting; she recognized a simple public relations mistake and decided to deal with it 140 characters at a time.

She wrote, “I am sorry. Without reservation or qualification. I apologize to the Romney family.” Sounds sincere, aside from the fact that it was a tweet and came on Tuesday – 2 days later. But she didn’t stop there. After writing “without reservation or qualification,” she sent a series of tweets attempting to explain and justify what she’d done. In other words: qualifications.

If any non-progressive had done something similar with a picture of President Barack Obama, his white mother and white grandparents, no apology, short of ritualistic suicide, would suffice for Harris-Perry and progressives.

If Melissa Harris-Perry had any sense of decency, she would resign. If NBC News had any standards, it would fire her. But if Harris-Perry had a sense of decency, she would’ve known better than to do such a segment in the first place. And if NBC News had any standards, it would not have hired the hate-filled personalities who now fill its airwaves.

NBC News would like the public to believe it is a separate entity from MSNBC, but there is too much cross-pollination for that to be so. The daily vitriol and hate MSNBC spews is an NBC News product, and the attack on an infant and his family is not rare in its cruelty.

NBC News was once a trusted source for news, a destination millions of Americans turned to in times of national events. It’s now a punchline, a disgrace.

This didn’t happen overnight, and it didn’t happen by accident. There was a conscious decision on behalf of the management team to change, and change it did. You don’t scrape the bottom of the barrel and come up with the type of loathsome, hate-filled bile spewers regularly filling those airwaves by accident. You scrape all the way to the bottom because this is what you want.

That any one of these hosts would have a show of their own or given a platform on television outside of public access is a testament to the resolve of the party of hate and an epitaph to a once great organization. When Tim Russert died, so did journalism at NBC News.

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