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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

What You Just Said Hurts My Head

We’re all familiar with the feeling of cognitive dissonance, when suddenly we’re forced to hold two contradicting ideas in our heads. Maybe we’ve just heard unflattering news about someone we respected, or have been presented with facts that challenge a deeply held worldview. As any communications expert will tell you, we tend to deal with this kind of dissonance by simply rejecting the new information as incorrect, unreliable, or purposefully misleading.

NPR recently ran a story on this topic that went a little deeper, exploring how partisan beliefs interacted with challenging facts. Dartmouth College political scientist Brendan Nyhan and Georgia State’s Jason Reifler began looking into why it is, for instance, that Democrats currently believe the president has little control over gas prices, while six years ago they believed that President Bush could do something to lower them. Republicans have just as predictably switched position on this issue. Partisans, it seems, can reject facts they earlier believed – facts that probably don’t mean much to them, really – in order to stay aligned with their party loyalty.

Party loyalty is one way to describe a more deeply held worldview, but I think an even better term is core values. We belong to certain political parties because they have become a stand-in for those values. So we reject or accept facts that question or support our party loyalty (the president has little control over gas prices) because doing so reinforces our belief that our core values are right. And that we are right. President = party = core values = core identity. So it’s important to us that our party's president does the right thing.

So how do we approach audiences armed with facts that are likely to contradict their firmly-held beliefs? NPR reports:

Nyhan and Reifler hypothesized that partisans reject such information not because they're against the facts, but because it's painful. That notion suggested a possible solution: If partisans were made to feel better about themselves — if they received a little image and ego boost — could this help them more easily absorb the "blow" of information that threatens their pre-existing views?

Nyhan said that ongoing —and as yet, unpublished— research was showing the technique could be effective. The researchers had voters think of times in their lives when they had done something very positive and found that, fortified by this positive memory, voters were more willing to take in information that challenged their pre-existing views.

Interesting, and useful if you’re talking one-on-one and know your subject enough to evoke such specific memories. But what about messaging to the masses? I think the answer is values again. By appealing to people’s notions of what we as a country hold dear, and how those values make us our best selves, we give them a bit of an ego boost.

For instance, the topic of immigration can cause many audiences a fair amount of cognitive dissonance. The dominant narrative tells us that many immigrants are criminals just for being here, and are taking jobs from native-born Americans.  Of course, the facts don’t support either of these storylines. But many an immigration advocate will tell you that simply relaying to folks that being here without papers is a civil, not criminal, violation; or that study after study shows that immigrant workers have no affect on unemployment rates, does not change minds. But what if we made people feel a little good about themselves first? Could they better handle the dissonance?

We could start by reminding people why immigrants want to come here –for opportunity, because of our freedoms, to be a part of something we all love. We can remind people of the other aspirations that most of them believe make this country great: our values of treating people equally and fairly, our values of community and voice, our ambition to make things better and try new things.

Now clearly, those stories can go in a number of different directions and cause their own dissonance, particularly among progressives. Sure, we value equality, but then why do we stand for income and racial disparities? And doesn’t our ambition sometimes cause us to leave whole groups of people behind? No, we don’t always live up to our aspirations. But they’re still good ones. And they do make a lot of people feel good about the country, and perhaps as an extension, themselves.

Like any messaging strategy, opening conversations with values is no silver bullet guaranteed to ease the way for all challenging ideas. But if we know that throwing facts at people doesn’t work (and actually pains them), we need to rethink how we use those facts. Otherwise, they’re not just useless, but actively harmful to the cause.

Talking to Conservatives: Tips on Reaching Across the Aisle

Tips on talking to political adversaries. Moving past politics, partisanship and labels, recognizing corporatism masquerading as progressivism or conservatism, and going straight to the issues. Read on...

Talking to Conservatives: Tips on Reaching Across the Aisle

Tips on talking to political adversaries. Moving past politics, partisanship and labels, recognizing corporatism masquerading as progressivism or conservatism, and going straight to the issues. Read on...

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