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Yikes: MSNBC's Messy Week

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Posted: Nov 11, 2020 1:05 PM
Yikes: MSNBC's Messy Week

Source: Screenshot via MSNBC

What a week it's been for MSNBC, the cable network often accused by Republicans of acting as a Democratic propaganda arm.

Let's begin with the hilariously incorrect information tweeted by host Joy Reid, who infamously claimed that she'd been "hacked" when problematic writings from her past came to light. She is a staple of the network's election coverage, yet she apparently has some very bizarre ideas about our actual electoral system. I double-checked to make sure her tweet was real:


No, 538 is not in fact a reference to President George W. Bush's victory margin over Al Gore in 2000. It's the number of electors who decide US presidential elections, which is why the magic number is 270 (538 divided by two, plus one -- a bare majority). Also, as a reminder, Bush's margin was 537, not 538. And the Supreme Court didn't "reverse" the election. Oh, and Bush would have won by a wider margin, even if Al Gore had gotten his way with a cherry-picked recounting of certain ballots he hoped would be favorable. Reid eventually (and partially) admitted her error. Meanwhile, this seems...ethically problematic, from a journalistic standpoint:

Presidential historian Jon Meacham was reportedly let go as an MSNBC contributor after he apparently failed to disclose to the network that he was a speechwriter for President-elect Joe Biden, including the victory speech he gave on Saturday night. Sources told The New York Times that Meacham had been "playing a larger role than was previously known" behind the scenes, "both writing drafts of speeches and offering edits on many of Mr. Biden’s big addresses, including one he gave at Gettysburg last month and his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention."...Meacham did appear on MSNBC following Biden's speech on Saturday without any disclosure that he was heavily involved in the crafting of the president-elect's address.  “I’m not the historian that you are, and I don’t have the Pulitzer that you do, but do you concur that is the way we are used to hearing from our presidents?” MSNBC anchor Brian Williams asked.  “Absolutely,” Meacham answered. 

The Times reports that Meacham will no longer serve as a paid MSNBC contributor. And I've written previously about being friendly with MSNBC host Chris Hayes, whom I've known for years. We have profound political differences, but that's okay. When I think he's wrong, I say so, and I've admired some of the instances in which he's stuck his neck out to tell uncomfortable truths to his own side and even his own employer. But these are really ugly low blows (screen-capped and shared by Sen. Marsha Blackburn):


Another MSNBC contributor is pushing enemies lists (along with a number of other fellow leftists):


I'll leave you with this (strong content warning for language):