David Gregory seemed to say that the science on climate change was settled. So why did he have a debate about whether climate change is happening? Plus MSNBC's Morning Joe cheers on its corporate parent, while Bill O'Reilly gives us one more example of why Fox News is so special.
The gossipy, horse race-obsessed outlet Politico ran a story on October 29 about the credibility of polling expert Nate Silver, whose 538 blog at the New York Times is a must-read for people interested in election forecasting. What Silver does isn't, on one level, all that tricky–his model combines national and state polls and generates probabilities about election outcomes. This model finds it highly likely that Barack Obama will win the election. It's probability, not a crystal ball or a bet. Politico's Dylan Byers notes that Silver's model says this "even as the polls have [Romney] almost neck-and-neck with the incumbent." […]
MSNBC's Morning Joe had a remarkable discussion of U.S. drone attacks today (10/23/12). Here's a clip of the most intense moments of the exchange between the conservative-leaning Joe Scarborough and Time columnist Joe Klein, who is occasionally mistaken for a liberal: Scarborough offered up a more passionate critique of drone attacks than you're likely to hear from his left-leaning MSNBC colleagues: "If you're between 17 and 30, and you're within a half-mile of a suspect, we can blow you up." When Klein interjects to argue that drones are "decimating bad guys," Scarborough responds that the attacks are "taking out a […]
The New York Times' lengthy report (5/29/12) on Barack Obama's drone "kill list" should provoke serious questions: Is such a program legal? How does it square with Obama's criticism of the Bush administration's "war on terror" policies? What does it tell us about how the administration identifies "militants" who are targeted for assassination? But those questions have been raised only in fits and starts–and are basically absent from the liberal cable news channel MSNBC. In fact, a far more interesting discussion of these questions can be heard on Fox News Channel. It's not all good on Fox, naturally. Host Bill […]
One theme in the coverage of the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffordsconcerns whether the tone of the political debate will change. That's probably going to happen in the short-term. A long-term shift is unlikely. There have been frequent allusions to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the nationaldiscussion that ensued at the time about violent rhetoric on right-wing talk shows. See Extra!'s 1995 article "AM Armies" for more background. Roughly 10 years later, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough convened a panel (4/27/05) to discuss talk radio extremism, in the wake of incendiary comments made by Air America's Randi Rhodes. As FAIR […]
MSNBC has suspended host Keith Olbermann for making political contributions–even though GE/NBC executives and fellow MSNBC host Joe Scarborough has made similar donations. If you'd like to urge MSNBC to follow a consistent standard, see FAIR's Action Alert (11/5/10). And please post copies of your messages, and/or comments on the alert, to the comments thread here.
Gabriel Sherman's New York magazine piece on cable news (10/3/10) has an important insight into the Fox News' success: Fox's rightward flanking maneuver, capturing a disenfranchised part of the audience, was only part of its strategy. The news, especially political news, wasn't something that happened. It was something that you shaped out of the raw data, brought out of the clay of zhlubby, boring politics, reborn with heroes and villains, triumphs and reverses, never-ending story lines–what TV executives call "flow." And the beauty of it was that the viewers–the voters–were the protagonists, victims of evil Kenyan socialist overlords, or rebels, […]
The website Gawker (6/9/09) caught Newsweek making some sneaky changes in an online article–changes that were ordered by Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, and which just happened to favor the host of a show that Meacham appears on regularly. On the afternoon of Friday, June 5, Newsweek's website put up an interview with Joe Scarborough, the conservative host of MSNBC's Morning Joe program. The introduction pointed out that Scarborough had once been the defense attorney for an anti-abortion terrorist who murdered a doctor, and noted that the host had been criticized for giving insufficient attention to the murder of Dr. George […]