Frank Strategies: The Blog

What’s Happening to NBC News?
March 3, 2010, 9:21 am
Filed under: MSM, Online Video | Tags: , , , , ,

As the dinosaur media continue to wring their hands over crashing ratings and sinking subscription numbers, they might want to take a look at this video from MSNBC. In the clip, host Dylan Ratigan assaults Tea Party leader Mark Williams with completely unsubstantiated charges of racism and anti-Semitism, barely gives Williams a chance to respond to the outlandish charges, then calls him “offensive,” and demands that his microphone be turned off.

In political journalism, there’s something known as the “When did you stop beating your wife?” question, in which a reporter asks a loaded, accusatory question to which there’s no good answer. Do you respond, “I’ve never beaten my wife,” in which case the screaming headline is “CONGRESSMAN X DENIES BEATING HIS WIFE,” or do you respond, “I stopped beating her last week,” which obviously isn’t a good answer, either.

That’s essentially what Ratigan does in this clip, but he doesn’t even give Williams an opportunity to respond to the absurd line of questioning. This is literally one of the most unprofessional displays of “journalism” I’ve ever seen. It’s long past time for the real, respectable journalists at NBC News – Brian Williams, Chuck Todd, David Gregory, Andrea Mitchell, Mike Viqueira – to put an end to this kind of thing on their network. Because if they don’t, their hard-earned credibility is only going to continue to slide because of their association with this crap.


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