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MSNBC takes media mendacity to a new level

Posted by Richard on August 21, 2009

It's been increasingly obvious for several years that the majority of the mainstream media are no longer attempting to report the news honestly and fairly, they're attempting to create news and manipulate public opinion.

No outlet has been a worse offender in the past year or so than MSNBC. But their August 18th story about demonstrators near the VFW convention in Phoenix marked a shameful new low even for them (emphasis in 1st pgf from original; later emphasis added): 

On Tuesday, MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer fretted over health care reform protesters legally carrying guns: "A man at a pro-health care reform rally…wore a semiautomatic assault rifle on his shoulder and a pistol on his hip….there are questions about whether this has racial overtones….white people showing up with guns." Brewer failed to mention the man she described was black.

Following Brewer’s report, which occurred on the Morning Meeting program, host Dylan Ratigan and MSNBC pop culture analyst Toure discussed the supposed racism involved in the protests. Toure argued: "…there is tremendous anger in this country about government, the way government seems to be taking over the country, anger about a black person being president….we see these hate groups rising up and this is definitely part of that." Ratigan agreed: "…then they get the variable of a black president on top of all these other things and that’s the move – the cherry on top, if you will, to the accumulated frustration for folks."

Not only did Brewer, Ratigan, and Toure fail to point out the fact that the gun-toting protester that sparked the discussion was black, but the video footage shown of that protester was so edited, that it was impossible to see that he was black. The man appeared at a health care rally outside of President Obama’s speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Phoenix, Arizona.

Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson has called for the firing of everyone responsible for this blatant piece of propaganda (emphasis added): 

According to the Wilson letter to Capus, in the MSNBC broadcast at 10:45AM on August 18th “your anchors hysterically raised the specter of impending racial violence — while carefully cropping the very video upon which they based their duplicitous charges. Leading audiences nationwide to believe that militant whites were mounting violence against a black President, they deliberately covered up the fact that the individual they were framing was himself African-American.”

The broadcast showed a video of a man with a machine gun [wrong; it was a semi-automatic rifle] at a protest against the government-run health care legislation in Arizona, a state where citizens are permitted to carry firearms openly.

“His face and hands were cropped out so that viewers could not see that the man was black as the broadcasters breathlessly reported that he was a rightwing white militant,” Wilson explained in a statement.

“This simply goes beyond the pale, and has never in my memory been seen in what is supposed to be a legitimate news broadcast,” Wilson said.

ALG has video of both the MSNBC broadcast and a local Phoenix news interview with the gun-toting black man.

The Second Amendment Foundation has also denounced this deliberate dissemination of lies (emphasis added):

“What MSNBC purposely did not reveal with the deliberately doctored video is that the man carrying that sport-utility rifle was an African-American,” said SAF founder Alan Gottlieb. “MSNBC knows the man was black, yet all they showed in a brief film clip was a close-up of the rifle against the man’s neatly-pressed dress shirt. It was impossible to tell the man’s race.

“This is a detestable attempt to manipulate public sentiment,” he continued, “in MSNBC’s continuing effort to perpetuate a stereotype of gun owners as white racists. It was even suggested during the segment by MSNBC culture critic Toure that it would not be surprising ‘if we see somebody get a chance and take a chance and really try to hurt’ the president.

“By irresponsibly fomenting this kind of racial divisiveness through the use of carefully-edited video,” Gottlieb stated, “MSNBC is not simply reporting news, it is provoking a reaction. If any harm comes to the president, MSNBC’s hate-mongering should be blamed.

“I wonder,” Gottlieb conclude, “if Keith Olbermann is going to name MSNBC as the worst news network in the world.”

Note: I'm not defending the judgment of the unnamed black man with the rifle and pistol, or his armed friends. Just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean it's the right or wise thing to do. In the interview, he seemed quite reasonable and articulate, and his point about conditioning people not to freak out when they see an armed citizen is quite valid. But if that's his goal, he should openly carry that pistol on his hip when he goes grocery shopping, buys gas, and picnics in the park. In my opinion, from a tactical and public relations perspective, just outside a presidential appearance is not a good place to make that particular point.

But that's neither here nor there. The issue here is MSNBC's cynical manipulation of the video footage to convey an outrageous lie in furtherance of their vicious disinformation campaign against those who oppose the Obama agenda and its drive toward socialism. 

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3 Responses to “MSNBC takes media mendacity to a new level”

  1. Roosevelt (Mo'thanskin) said

    MSNBC has been baltantly biased toward President Obama and his administration, since the Democratic primaries. Unfortunaely most mainstream media has become propaganda media instead of objective news media. Most of the CNN “experts” and commentators are President Obama’s PR people. Even the AP and Reuters are biased for the Obama Adminstration. One of the reasons for this phenomena is that President Obama is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, whose main objective is to manipulate the press.

  2. Hathor said

    Black people knew he was black.

    There is a Black Blogosphere where info, such as the make up of that group, travels as fast.

  3. rgcombs said

    What about all the people who only know what they saw on CNN, NBC, CBS, … ? That’s where most people still get their news.

    Besides, the fact that some people learned the truth from the “Black Blogosphere” or anywhere else doesn’t in any way diminish what an outrageous act of journalistic malfeasance this was. It’s simply inexcusable.

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