Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Republican Media- No. 39

Politico always has been one of the media organs most aggressively pushing the "on the one hand and on the other hand" meme.  On Thursday, January 16, Dylan Byers didn't disappoint when he wrote

Back in May 2012, five months before the presidential election, Fox News produced and aireda four-minute video attacking President Obama. The decision to create an attack advertisement was seen as so ethically questionable that, after criticism even from conservatives, Fox News issued a rare statement clarifying that the video "was not authorized at the senior executive level."

On Wednesday night, MSNBC's Lawrence O’Donnell produced and aired an anti-Chris Christie ad (above) and offered ideas for future ads that could be used against the presumptive Republican presidential candidate.

"I wrote that ad in a few minutes,” O'Donnell told viewers. “I was just sitting there listening to him, just grabbed those quotes and wrote it. You can do this at home, it’s easy.”

We've reached out to MSNBC for comment regarding their decision to produce and air the advertisement. We will update here if and when we hear back.

Notwithstanding the title of the piece, "MSNBC Creates, then Airs, Anti-Christie Ad," there is no evidence the network itself produced the hypothetical campaign spot (video, below). Before going to commercial O'Donnell, who is a veteran television writer and producer, remarked

Chris Christie has already written the attack ads that his opponents will use against him when he runs for president. I actually took some of Chris Christie`s own words from his press conference last week and produced a perfectly respectable fake attack ad against Chris Christie which I will show you in tonight`s rewrite. You are not going to believe how easy it is to do this. And yes, you can try it at home.

Immediately before running the ad, O'Donnell stated "I wrote this commercial while Chris Christie was actually still doing his press conference."

Unless O'Donnell is lying, he himself wrote the commercial. Compare that with the way Fox News rolls, as described by the author of "The Loudest Voice in the Room." Asked by Chris Hayes why Fox News is so successful, Gabriel Sherman explained

One simple answer, Roger Ailes. He starts in everything (sic) with the network starts with him. It is a completion reflection of his world. He has two meetings a day, where he comes in, monologues about the news, gives his take on the headlines and that radiates through the building, from the daytime news shows to the pundits at night. Everything works together. It`s one cohesive package. At other networks, shows do their own thing. Different points of views. Fox, even with different hosts, it`s essentially one 24-hour product that`s packaged by Roger Ailes.

Five days after O'Donnell's piece, on January 20 MSNBC's Chris Matthews took a different tack than had his colleague, editorializing

The fact of the matter is that this case will proceed and will be judged not by the politics, but by the facts as they come to light. If it is found that the governor has set up a political operation that turned on punishing rivals and holdouts while favoring friends, the question then will be whether the tough-guy tactics crossed the line into criminality.

Certain hosts, including O'Donnell, on MSNBC have come down hard on the ruthless, incompetent governor.  Not so Matthews, for whom the standard is criminality. if Christie's tactics have not "crossed the line into criminality," he will be "exonerated,"  an awfully low bar for the governor of a state. But Dylan Byers evidently thinks MSNBC is run like Fox News.  While he first attributed production of the ad to Lawrence O'Donnell, he then refers to the network and "their decision to produce and air the advertisement."  It is a slick sleight-of-hand and a nefarious means of implying that management of MSNBC maintains the same control over that network's hosts as Roger Ailes does over his own.

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