It seems as if MSNBC didn’t think it had courted enough controversy lately, what with Melissa Harris-Perry’s Sesame Street riff on Mitt Romney’s adopted grandson and Piers Morgan’s airing of his excretory fantasies vis-a-vis Sarah Palin. No, the network that professes to “lean forward” had to keep the party going with a tweet from one of its erstwhile staffers, bringing racial politics into, of all things, a cute Cheerios commercial slated to run during the Superbowl:
Naturally, this prompted the kind of outrage you would expect from the right, culminating with Reince Priebus going all Django and threatening to ban all Republican National Committee types from the network unless it offered a full-throated apology. And, to his credit, MSNBC president Phil Griffin offered one in short order–although one has to wonder how something like this could have happened after the high-profile string of apologies the network has been forced to make over the last couple of months. You’d think that Griffin would have already read his people the riot act and warned them to think carefully before blurting out something so profoundly stupid. Alas, apparently not.
I’ve heard this business described on conservative talk radio as yet another example of left wing media bias, but I believe it’s more than that. What we’re really seeing here is the same kind of cultural rot that has infected a lot of media outlets, with MSNBC as a kind of mini Detroit where the rot has just become so bad that they can’t cover it up anymore. The question we need to be asking is how a lowly staffer could ever think that firing off a tweet like that could ever be okay under any circumstances–and the answer, quite simply, is that it probably never occurred to that staffer that what he was doing was wrong. After all, most everybody who works at MSNBC is liberal. They’re headquartered in New York, a liberal town. And New York is in the northeast, a solidly liberal region. Chances are pretty good that the staffer has never known an actual conservative, and wholly believes the right-wing hayseed caricatures manufactured by the media bubble in which he lives.
In other words, he didn’t know any better.
That didn’t stop MSNBC from firing him, of course, but that isn’t going to help the situation much. The rot is still there, and until the media start cleaning house and getting out of their left wing enclaves, ain’t nothin’ gonna change.Share