Thursday, April 23, 2009

MSNBC's Conundrum

I've asked before how it's possible for MSNBC to permit Joe Scarborough and the other Morning Joe Know-Nothings to regularly recite GOP talking points that Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow have already proved false. I still think a news operation should only hold one set of truths. If something's a lie at night, it's a lie the next morning. End of story.

But there's another, increasingly troubling dilemma facing MSNBC. Olbermann and Maddow regularly call out crooks and liars on Fox and CNN for their Worst Personhood. But they never call out Scarborough for saying the same crap or worse.

I get it. There's clearly either an official gag order or a self-imposed truce. I get that it would be boring for the hosts to just keep lobbing charges at each other night and morning. That it's probably best to just say that "inside the MSNBC family" is off-limits.

But it is a little weird to criticize Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly for saying something while letting Scarborough off scot-free. And it creates a dangerous lack of balance.

When Fox News calls MSNBC a "far-left smear machine" etc. it always strikes me as odd. After all, MSNBC surrenders a huge amount of airtime to Scarborough and his cast of bobbleheads. (Actual Mika counterpoint the other day to a Scarborough rant: "I don't... I mean, isn't... I just...We need to get to... some... " Good one, Mika!) And Pat Buchanan is on camera throughout the day, every day. Who are Fox News' Scarborough and Buchanan?

In order for Fox to criticize MSNBC they must pretend Joe Scarborough doesn't exist. And Olbermann and Maddow are clearly pretending Scarborough doesn't exist. And while everyone on cable news is pretending Scarborough doesn't exist, he just keeps spewing his lies and spraying his bile, unchallenged.

What, him worry?

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