MSNBC sees it as its mission in life to rile conservatives and outrage people. We have seen this tendency play itself out in Martin Bashir’s comments about Sarah Palin, in Melissa Harris-Perry’s–and friends’–comments about one of Mitt Romney’s grandchildren, and now we see it anew in a tweet that all but outright states that all right-wingers are racists. As such, MSNBC is–and should be viewed as–a network of trolls, by trolls, for trolls.
And we know the standard rule when it comes to trolls: Don’t feed them.
But of course, MSNBC is not your run-of-the-mill troll. It is a vast news network, capable of shaping public opinion and public debate, which means that in this case, the standard rule ought to be dispensed with. Instead of just making sure that we don’t feed trolls, we ought to embarrass a network that believes it is right and proper to make entirely unsubstantiated allegations about people with whom they don’t agree politically. That includes fighting back against smears that are spread by MSNBC, demanding greater accountability from the leadership of the network, demanding that people who outrage and offend–instead of informing and enlightening–get fired, and telling advertisers that they ought to think twice about putting their ads on a network that keeps finding itself apologizing for dumb comments made by its employees. Employees who are given the power and the privilege of being public faces of MSNBC.
I don’t expect the people who work at MSNBC to agree with me politically, and it ought to go without saying that it is perfectly fine for them not to agree with me politically. But as news reporters and newsmakers, they ought to be responsible adults. And if they fail to be responsible adults, there ought to be negative consequences for that failure.
Incidentally, if you made a giant fuss about the Duck Dynasty kerfuffle, but think that there is nothing wrong with MSNBC stating that the “rightwing” has a problem with biracial families, you might want to consider the possibility that you are being a hypocrite.