I wasn’t planning to do another post about Thomas Roberts, but there is a story to tell about today’s installment of MSNBC Live. You will recall this is being hailed as a move away from opinion programming, a view TCG viewed with skepticism. Today things became clearer.
The story of the day was Netanyahu’s speech, and after a series of brief reports on that and other topics du jour Roberts brought in his guest, Chris Matthews. The Hardball host went on a five-minute unchallenged rant about a “foreign” leader trying to “take over” foreign policy from an American president. It would be mild to call this hyperbole, but Roberts’ reaction was to agree:
Chris, as you say, it was stunning.
Roberts then went on to mention the $30 billion a year in “taxpayer’s money” that goes to Israel (why does that sound familiar?), this time casually name-dropping President Bush as the person who locked taxpayers into this obligation. Nobody appeared to give any sort of counterpoint to Matthews.
Meanwhile, during the same hour on Fox News, Democrats Jim Walsh and Rep John Yarmuth both appeared and spoke critically about the Netanyahu speech, providing balance to the viewpoints expressed by others. Which network was behaving like the arm of a political party, and which was “fair and balanced?”
Later in the hour Roberts turned to the Hillary emails and introduced his guest, Krystal Ball (a failed Democratic candidate herself, though that was not disclosed). Roberts read “bullet points” provided by the Clinton camp and asked his expert how much of an issue will this be if Hillary should run. Ball’s response:
If there’s a sense that she’s being forthcoming, that she’s providing all the information that people are wanting to see, that she’s not overly defensive about it, then I think it’s frankly a non-issue. I mean, how many voters in Iowa are really thinking deeply about which email account certain emails came from?
Needless to say no challenge from Roberts, who went on to tell viewers not to miss Ball’s “coverage” of the Emily’s List gala. And with that MSNBC completed another hour of its dayside non-opinion hard news coverage.