The Sniveling Apologizers at MSNBC Don't Represent Progressives

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 of a 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.

Watch Real Progressives Here

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WHCD: A Salute to the Centurions

I was at the White House Correspondents' Dinner tonight. And I loved 85% of it. This makes me somewhat of a hypocrite because I often criticize a lot of the people in that room, and I especially single out the chuminess of the press with the government.

Now, I justify my participation in this bacchanal event by saying two things. I am a spy for our audience -- it's important to know how these things work at a minimum. And it's important to have conversations with folks in DC because you never know what you might get out of it and what you might learn. I promise you that these are 100% true. But nonetheless, it doesn't justify me enjoying it so much.

But by the end of tonight I was feeling uneasy. I came home and tried to figure out why. My unease was first triggered by seeing Gen. David Petraeus there. He was in full uniform, but it wasn't the standard green one you see on TV, it was a reddish formal one. He reminded me of the Roman centurions. But it wasn't just that.

Then I saw Gen. Odierno in the same centurion outfit. There was a circle of admirers waiting to shake his hand. Then I remembered that Gen. Petraeus is now the head of the CIA. Does that mean he is no longer in the Armed Forces? Or is he a general and the head of a civilian branch of the government at the same time? Does anyone know? Does anyone care?

I guess it was one thing to see the politicians mingling with the press. I can get beyond that, if it was for just one night. But it churned my stomach to see the press so chummy with the guys who run the war machine. That's not some liberal, anti-military spiel. We need a military, obviously. But shouldn't the press be the most vigilant in their watchdog duties with these guys?

I guess Washington finds that concern weirdly out of place and I seemed to be the only one in the building worried about it (of course we don't know if that's the case, but people seemed to be thrilled to be talking to them).

Then the president spoke at the dinner itself. He was brilliant. It was genuinely funny. It was better than any stand up I have seen in awhile. At every joke and smile, he seemed like the most likeable guy in the world. Here's the problem -- I kept thinking about the drone strikes. I know, I am the world's biggest downer (and hypocrite to boot for laughing at the jokes and generally enjoying the night).

I kept thinking how could that nice guy be the one who just ordered "signature" drone strikes where we bomb people without even knowing who they are. If you don't know about this program, I know that it seems unbelievable, but it's absolutely true. In Yemen and Pakistan, we can order drone strikes without having any idea who the target is or who the people we are firing at are. The kinds of strikes where we know who we're bombing are now called "personality" strikes. Isn't it amazing that they have a word for that?

We are now allowed to execute U.S. citizens abroad without a trial. Attorney General Holder calls this "due process without judicial process." That chills me to my bones. Yet the marching band played on. And the centurions were warmly greeted.

When I got home, I put it all together and realized what was bothering me. It's one thing to have this event be the aberration and be the one time of the year where the watchdogs let down their guard and have civil, polite and even friendly conversations with the people they cover. Again, I would really enjoy that. But the over-chumminess of the White House Correspondents' Dinner is not the exception, it's now the rule.

We smile at the generals. We laugh at the president's jokes. And the war machine hums on. I know some Americans have gotten really numb to it, some even enjoy and celebrate it. But people do actually die in far away countries like Yemen. Does the fact that they are just from Yemen make them any less human? Did the civilians killed in those strikes have it coming? Did they think our jokes were really funny tonight?

Let me be the asshole downer one more time. Imagine if we magically transported one of those Yemeni families whose kids were killed in a "signature" strike to the event tonight. Imagine how shocked or saddened they would be at our vast, vast indifference. It was such a nice party and everyone had such a good time, without a second thought.

Now, you can pick any injustice in the world and make a big stink out of it on a night like this to ruin everyone's fun. And in some way that doesn't seem fair. But I guess I was looking for some indication of a recognition that this was a one time exception and that tomorrow morning we would go back to the hard questions about Yemen and dead civilians. But how many of you think that's going to happen?

 

Follow Cenk Uygur on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CenkUygur

 

 

How We Can Change the Media

A quote you see everywhere is Gandhi's line about being the change you want to see in the world. Since I'm a corny guy, I took that to heart. Here are some of the main problems with the establishment media that I want to help change:

1. They are the establishment. They don't challenge the politicians, the government or the system. They are perfectly content to help maintain the status quo.

2. They trade access for positive coverage. In order to get political officials on their shows, they treat them with kid gloves. The single largest factor in making political decisions is campaign donations, yet they almost never ask them about that or talk about it on any of their shows.

3. They do non-stop talking points, yet no one ever says anything. It's just people talking past each other in a very boring, scripted movie we've seen before.

4. They confuse neutrality with objectivity. If the Cowboys and Steelers play and the Steelers win 21-0, and you say the Cowboys and Steelers both played equally well - you have lied to your audience. You are neutral, but nowhere near objective.

So, we set out to do a political talk show where we break all of those rules. This is the beginning. We hope you join us somewhere down this road. Together, let's be the change we want to see in the media.

You Can Participate in the Show (Current, 7PM ET) By Clicking Here

 

Glenn Beck's Horrific Lie

As much as I disagree with the hosts on Fox News, I have never called for any of them to be fired. I defended Don Imus when he got in trouble with his incendiary comments. That's because I believe a talk show host should have wide berth, even to offend. They are the conversation starters and at the heart of our political discourse.

Of course, as a talk show host I'm very biased on this issue, but I think it helps the national conversation to hear everyone out. That's even if what they're saying is outrageous or not even remotely true. Let there be a battlefield of ideas and I think the truth will win out in the long run (though it loses many battles in the short run).

Now that you know how strongly I feel about that -- I think Glenn Beck should be fired. He has told a lie so grotesque that it goes beyond the pale of even dirty politics. Just when I thought he couldn't shock my conscience anymore, he has done it. Let me explain.

George Soros survived the Holocaust. He is Jewish and when the Nazis caught up with his family his father saved his life by bribing an agricultural official to pretend Soros was his Christian godson. At one point, that man took the fourteen year old Soros to survey and appraise the property that had been confiscated from another Jewish family. Obviously Soros did not have a choice in the matter. Soros eventually survived the Holocaust.

To most this would be an amazing and harrowing story of survival during the Holocaust. To Beck it was an opportunity to paint Soros as an anti-Semite and smear him with one of the worst lies I have ever heard.

First Beck started by horribly warping this story on his Fox News show. He said of Soros:

[When he was] 14 years old, he had to help the government confiscate the land of his fellow Jewish friends and neighbors.

That's not what happened at all as you can see from above. He didn't help confiscate people's land. He didn't actively participate in betraying his Jewish neighbors or friends. The implications are horrible. But what Beck did next is much worse. He twisted the story further until he came out with this inexcusable lie on his radio show:

[H]ere's a Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps.

That lie takes my breath away. That is a lie that cannot be told.

The ADL has now condemned Beck's statements as "horrific."

Michelle Goldberg has aterrific article in The Daily Beast explaining how Beck's two part series on Fox News Channel about George Soros was classic anti-Semitism. He even named the series "Puppet Master." Nazi propaganda used to call Jews the "wire pullers."

The Nazis would say in their propaganda pieces that Jews secretly controlled everything and brought down whatever governments they didn't like. Beck's two part series on Soros talked about how he was the secret force behind the progressive agenda and surreptitiously brought down governments he didn't like (Communist governments by the way, but apparently he doesn't get credit for that). And Beck concludes by saying that we might be next. Soros might destroy our country. This is anti-Semitism 101.

One man has already tried to assassinate people who worked for the Tides Foundation because Beck accused them of being tied to George Soros. That man was caught in a shoot-out with cops before he could kill the people who worked there. Beck undeterred by what he is spurring people to do, has put his foot on the gas pedeal to try to stoke the fires more.

Fox News has told and spread many lies, ranging from the absurd (President Obama is going to spend $200 million a day in his trip to India) to the politically devastating (they invited John Kerry's accusers on-air to smear his Vietnam service repeatedly during the 2004 election). I know that's what they do. But even I didn't know it went this far. If Beck doesn't get fired over this, what else can he say? I literally cannot think of anything more outrageous.

They call themselves a "News Channel." Is this the kind of "news" people want to participate in?

This is the kind of thing people should resign in protest over. This is the kind of thing that guests shouldn't go on the channel over. This is the kind of thing that people shouldn't want their names associated with.

If Fox doesn't fire Beck over this, well then you know exactly where they stand. It certainly isn't as a news channel.

 

 

Glenn Beck's Horrific Lie

As much as I disagree with the hosts on Fox News, I have never called for any of them to be fired. I defended Don Imus when he got in trouble with his incendiary comments. That's because I believe a talk show host should have wide berth, even to offend. They are the conversation starters and at the heart of our political discourse.

Of course, as a talk show host I'm very biased on this issue, but I think it helps the national conversation to hear everyone out. That's even if what they're saying is outrageous or not even remotely true. Let there be a battlefield of ideas and I think the truth will win out in the long run (though it loses many battles in the short run).

Now that you know how strongly I feel about that -- I think Glenn Beck should be fired. He has told a lie so grotesque that it goes beyond the pale of even dirty politics. Just when I thought he couldn't shock my conscience anymore, he has done it. Let me explain.

George Soros survived the Holocaust. He is Jewish and when the Nazis caught up with his family his father saved his life by bribing an agricultural official to pretend Soros was his Christian godson. At one point, that man took the fourteen year old Soros to survey and appraise the property that had been confiscated from another Jewish family. Obviously Soros did not have a choice in the matter. Soros eventually survived the Holocaust.

To most this would be an amazing and harrowing story of survival during the Holocaust. To Beck it was an opportunity to paint Soros as an anti-Semite and smear him with one of the worst lies I have ever heard.

First Beck started by horribly warping this story on his Fox News show. He said of Soros:

[When he was] 14 years old, he had to help the government confiscate the land of his fellow Jewish friends and neighbors.

That's not what happened at all as you can see from above. He didn't help confiscate people's land. He didn't actively participate in betraying his Jewish neighbors or friends. The implications are horrible. But what Beck did next is much worse. He twisted the story further until he came out with this inexcusable lie on his radio show:

[H]ere's a Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps.

That lie takes my breath away. That is a lie that cannot be told.

The ADL has now condemned Beck's statements as "horrific."

Michelle Goldberg has aterrific article in The Daily Beast explaining how Beck's two part series on Fox News Channel about George Soros was classic anti-Semitism. He even named the series "Puppet Master." Nazi propaganda used to call Jews the "wire pullers."

The Nazis would say in their propaganda pieces that Jews secretly controlled everything and brought down whatever governments they didn't like. Beck's two part series on Soros talked about how he was the secret force behind the progressive agenda and surreptitiously brought down governments he didn't like (Communist governments by the way, but apparently he doesn't get credit for that). And Beck concludes by saying that we might be next. Soros might destroy our country. This is anti-Semitism 101.

One man has already tried to assassinate people who worked for the Tides Foundation because Beck accused them of being tied to George Soros. That man was caught in a shoot-out with cops before he could kill the people who worked there. Beck undeterred by what he is spurring people to do, has put his foot on the gas pedeal to try to stoke the fires more.

Fox News has told and spread many lies, ranging from the absurd (President Obama is going to spend $200 million a day in his trip to India) to the politically devastating (they invited John Kerry's accusers on-air to smear his Vietnam service repeatedly during the 2004 election). I know that's what they do. But even I didn't know it went this far. If Beck doesn't get fired over this, what else can he say? I literally cannot think of anything more outrageous.

They call themselves a "News Channel." Is this the kind of "news" people want to participate in?

This is the kind of thing people should resign in protest over. This is the kind of thing that guests shouldn't go on the channel over. This is the kind of thing that people shouldn't want their names associated with.

If Fox doesn't fire Beck over this, well then you know exactly where they stand. It certainly isn't as a news channel.

 

 

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