Monday, February 17, 2014

Welcoming Bullying

Back in August, Republican National Committee chairperson Reince Preibus threatened

to refuse to partner with CNN or NBC on any presidential primary debates if the two networks move ahead with plans for television projects on Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Reince Priebus, the chairman, said in letters to the two networks that he considered the projects to be a “thinly-veiled attempt at putting a thumb on the scales of the 2016 presidential election.”

NBC has said it plans to broadcast a mini-series about Mrs. Clinton with Diane Lane scheduled to portray the former first lady and secretary of state. CNN is planning a feature-length documentary about her as well.

In a statement issued Monday, NBC News said, “NBC News is completely independent of NBC Entertainment and has no involvement in this project.”...

In his letters to CNN and NBC, Mr. Priebus said he would seek a “binding vote” at the R.N.C.’s summer meeting this month. He said the vote would require the party not to partner with the networks on debates or to sanction debates that they hold.

Fast forward five months to when Politico in late January reported

The boycott of MSNBC might have ended, but Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus says the network is still on “probation.”

“In their professed world of tolerance, they’re sure hitting on all eight cylinders of intolerance,” Priebus said Thursday of MSNBC while on Fox News’s “Hannity.”

Following a tweet by MSNBC’s account late Wednesday suggesting the Republican Party hates interracial marriages, Priebus sent a letter Thursday to MSNBC President Phil Griffin saying all staff members and surrogates would not appear on the network until there was an apology. The letter warned "Until you personally and publicly apologize, I have banned all RNC staff from appearing on, associating with, or booking any RNC surrogates on MSNBC. I have asked Republican surrogates and officials to follow our lead.”

Of course, the great progressive cable news network, MSNBC, stood by its employee and noted that the appearance of Republicans allows conservatives the opportunity to air their views in the marketplace of ideas (Republicans claim to love the "market."), allowing them to reach voters who otherwise might not be exposed to their perspective. Or less generously (but no less accurately) that the foundation of much of the modern Repub Party derived from dividing Americans on the basis of race. However,  no:

MSNBC President Phil Griffin apologized to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Thursday for a tweet suggesting conservatives “hate” interracial marriages and “dismissed” the staffer who authored it.

“The tweet last night was outrageous and unacceptable. We immediately acknowledged that it was offensive and wrong, apologized, and deleted it. We have dismissed the person responsible for the tweet,” Griffin wrote in a statement.

“I personally apologize to Mr. Priebus and to everyone offended,” he continued. “At msnbc we believe in passionate, strong debate about the issues and we invite voices from all sides to participate. That will never change.”

And neither will Priebus, back with an online petition pleading "Keep the Clintons out of the White House... Again. The RNC claims

Bill and Hillary Clinton will say and do anything to win.

Personal accounts of their campaigns reveal excessive infighting, warring camps and ruthless politics. The Clinton Machine even has a political “hit-list.”

Scandals and controversies follow the Clintons — the ultimate Washington Establishment.

Send a clear message today: we don’t want the Clintons back in the White House.

If Phil Griffin expected his capitulation to Priebus to mollify the RNC chairman, it was in vain.  But the MSNBC chief probably is just as happy he emboldened Reince.   Two weeks ago The Young Turks' Cenk Uygur, former MSNBC host, lawyer, and graduate of the finest high school in America explained (video on the topic, below)

First, let me be clear that this is not intended for the hosts on MSNBC. It's management that's the issue. The way Phil Griffin has his hosts trot out for one apology after another is revolting. At least, he included himself in the genuflecting to the right-wing last time around. The whole display is pathetic.

Let's also be clear about another thing. Phil Griffin, who happens to be the head of MSNBC, is not a liberal or progressive. I worked at MSNBC, I talked to Phil Griffin many times, I know Phil Griffin. He is not remotely progressive. All he cares about is success in his own career. He even basically admitted in this recent interview that he would head a conservative network if it made more money. The idea that he represents progressives as he keeps groveling to conservatives is absurd and sickening.

First of all, the last two apologies were not at all necessary. Melissa Harris Perry called Mitt Romney's black grandson gorgeous (go back and check the tape). Yes, it would have been nice if someone on the set said, "God bless their hearts for being open minded in adopting someone outside of their race." This is about as minor an infraction as I could imagine. Instead we got a tearful apology that was hard to watch and hard to stomach.

Now, there was a tweet sent out about how some right-wingers might not like a biracial ad by Cheerios. Gee, I wonder why they might think that. Maybe it's because some right-wingers already had hateful things to say about that ad (yes, they don't represent all conservatives, but once again, this is the most minor infraction in television history). The MSNBC employee didn't make up that reaction -- it already existed online. How many times has Bill O'Reilly characterized all liberals as saying something based on what some readers in the Daily Kos or The Huffington Post comments section said? Only about a million times.

Maybe that person at MSNBC who sent the tweet got the idea from a recent ad that caused outrage on Fox News because it included a Muslim woman and her husband who is in the U.S. military. They said this ad was only blocks from the site of 9/11! That is 100 percent bigoted response from the right-wing to an ad that involves two people from different backgrounds. Bingo.

Maybe they would have gotten the idea that Republicans don't like biracial couples because ofa poll in the Republican primaries in the South where 21 percent of GOP primary voters in Alabama and 29 percent of the Mississippi GOP primary voters said that interracial marriage should be illegal.

Can anyone in America say with a straight face it is unclear which party in America is more racist? One of the parties had this thing called the Southern Strategy, where they decided being racist toward blacks would get more white voters in the South. Care to guess which party that was? If you're still unclear on that or completely ignorant, maybe the last two RNC chairs could help you because they both apologized for their party's blatantly racist strategy.

Hey, anyone know whether Roger Ailes has ever apologized for running a station that argues we should take away voter rights in a way that disproportionately affects minorities? That's happening right now and only a million times more important than any tweet. You can turn on Fox News almost any day and see some fictional story about voter fraud, the whole purpose of which is to limit voting by the poor, the elderly, college students and minorities. Any apologies about that?

How about an apology for the fear mongering and race baiting about the New Black Panther Party? How about an apology for white Santa? And white Jesus? How about an apology for a guest on Fox Business talking about executing his political opponents? Oh, maybe he was joking. What do you think would happen if Ed Schultz joked about executing some Christian fundamentalists? They would fire everyone at 30 Rock and schedule an implosion of the building by lunchtime.

And oh yeah, anyone remember who worked for Richard Nixon when they came up with the Southern Strategy? That's right, Roger frickin' Ailes. Has he ever apologized for that?

MSNBC doesn't get it. Fox News and the right-wing are using this to set up a false equivalency. Yes, the Republicans race bait. Yes, Karl Rove did a push poll in South Carolina in 2000 asking if people would change their vote if they knew John McCain had an illegitimate black daughter (he doesn't). Wait, who does Karl Rove work for again? Yes, Bill O'Reilly is amazed when he goes into a black restaurant and they act like regular human beings. Yes, the Republican Party got 2% of the black vote in the last election because of their obviously hostile stance against African-Americans. But wait someone at MSNBC tweeted something mildly inappropriate.

If MSNBC cared about not presenting liberals as sniveling cowards, they would never go through these debasing apologies one after another. But they don't care about that because the guy who runs the network doesn't give a damn about how progressives look, because he isn't one of them.

The best example ever of a candidate doing "anything to win"- though, in this case, fleecing his state's taxpayers of $12 million to run up the score- is the current chairperson of the Republican Governors Association.   If Reince Priebus knows of any election in which either Bill or Hillary Clinton did "anything to win," he should put up and shut up.  Otherwise, we are left with the classic example of a stolen election (from Issues TV):

Perhaps in an odd sort of way Reince Priebus and Phil Griffin, the latter heading cable's alleged "liberal" network are- in the famous phrase of former New Jersey governor Tom Kean- perfect together.

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