Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher is not at all amused that CNN has taken the lead in fanning the flames of the media firestorm that erupted in the wake of MSNBC’s stupid and offensive segment in which Melissa Harris Perry and her panelists made fun of the Romney’s for having a black grandchild. He accuses CNN of “concocting pressure” on MSNBC to fire MHP.
What began as online criticism of a ham-handed cable news segment has now morphed into a full-blown public cable news flogging of Dean Obeidallah, Pia Glenn, and MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry, who participated in said segment on Sunday’s episode of Harris-Perry’s show. MSNBC competitors Fox News and CNN each filled the desolate holiday weekend with multiple segments attacking the segment, while Harris-Perry and her panelists offered a round of apologies on Twitter, and elsewhere.
On Wednesday morning, CNN anchor Zoraida Sambolin teased a report on the uproar by telling viewers “Some people demanding MSNBC fire one host after she mocked Mitt Romney’s black grandson,” (Harris-Perry’s comment on the photo had to do with imagining a Mitt Romney/Kanye West-sponsored wedding in the future) and introduced the report, by Lisa Desjardins, by repeating that claim, and grouping Harris-Perry with recently-ousted MSNBC hosts Alec Baldwin and Martin Bashir.
Desjardin’s report, however, presents little evidence of such a groundswell. giving just one example of a person on Twitter who wants Harris-Perry fired. Even with more examples, a raft of tweets is an awfully low bar for a national news network to claim as a newsworthy movement to have someone fired. To this point, Harris-Perry’s critics from competing cable news outlets have not suggested she be fired, nor has anyone else in Desjardin’s report.
A hard news report like this, though, could certainly help start such a movement. This is exactly the fuel that a mob of people who already didn’t like Harris-Perry needs to light their torches. “CNN reports pressure to fire Melissa Harris-Perry” is a fine tune for conservative media outlets to echo, and legitimate enough to appear on other cable networks.
Christopher protests too much. CNN didn’t say there is a “groundswell” – only that “some people are demanding” – which would seem to me, is somewhat less than a groundswell. But, he’s right that they just might be trying to create such a groundswell with their reporting.
It’s a great segment. I love the fact that they tied the “ham-handed”incident in with other MSNBC debacles that resulted in firings. And then they got a great quote from a woman from the National Council on Adoption: “They intended to make jokes about politics, and instead they made jokes that would offend adoptive families,” she said. Nice touch.
CNN really is flogging this story…
In another segment, Don Lemon and one of his guests tore into MSNBC for being “smug” and “mean.” Marc Lamont Hill, on the other hand found himself quite alone in excusing the behavior of his friends at MSNBC – calling what they did “not inappropriate.” I don’t know who Ana Navarro is – but she’s pretty awesome, here:
CNN anchor Don Lemon had some tough words for his competitors at MSNBC Monday night during a discussion about Melissa Harris-Perry and her panel poking fun at a crowded Mitt Romney family photo with his young black grandson. Lemon used the opportunity to vent about the liberal network, calling it “smug” and unwilling to entertain actual diversity of opinion.
Republican Ana Navarro agreed with Lemon that it was in bad taste to use the child to mock the Romneys, but Marc Lamont Hill argued that they didn’t actually make fun of the baby itself, just used it to make a point about diversity in the Romney family and the GOP.
Lemon wondered if Hill would react the same way if the same segment aired on Fox. Navarro predicted, “By now, Jesse Jackson would be protesting and tied to a tree somewhere.”
Lemon then took on the “crowd” at MSNBC that’s given him lots of flak for comments he’s made on issues of race specifically. Lemon explained he’s never bothered responding because “dogs are supposed to howl at the moon, the moon doesn’t howl back.” He called MSNBC a “smug” club where despite touting diversity, there is “no diversity of opinion” on the network.