After wading through the morass that is MSNBC and what they are presenting publicly as their roadmap back to respectability, it seemed to me that a second look was in order. Maybe I was being too cynical; maybe they really are trying to right the ship’s course to some extent. So we sat down to spend another two hours with their latest non-opinion news broadcast, MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts. This show’s premiere week had all the ideological diversity of Radio Havana, but things might be better now, right?
In case you didn’t know what Monday’s biggest news story was, Thomas Roberts was ready to tell you: the religious freedom law passed in Indiana. And in case you didn’t understand its importance, Thomas Roberts was ready to convince you. Segment after segment addressed the case. The first hour spent 8 minutes of the first block on the Indiana law. After the break the entire second block was all about the Indiana law. This time a guest appeared: Chad Griffin, a representative of the Human Rights Campaign which has been opposing the law. He got Thomas Roberts so worked up that the non-opinion news anchor blurted out:
People need to be honest when they’re doing things in the name of God!
It was all the way to the half-hour mark before another segment on the Indiana law, this time with Emma Margolin, an MSNBC “reporter.” As we have seen in the past, MSNBC “reporters” are usually such blatant opinionizers that even the mothership NBC News won’t label them as journalists, so it falls to MSNBC to do so. And Emma is no exception. Just for a change of pace at 49 minutes after the hour the segment was about HIV with MSNBC “reporter” Anthony Terrell.
The first block of the second hour featured another segment on—what else?—the Indiana law, and Thomas Roberts got riled up again:
There’s a financial issue if you’re not being honest in the name of God!
As they broke for a commercial I was afraid the ads would somehow morph into a bonus segment on the Indiana law. But that came after the commercial break, and then was followed by another guest opinionizer: Dave Zirin of The Nation. Guess what position he took on the Indiana law. By some programming oversight they didn’t have anything about the Indiana law in the last half-hour, though we did get to see MSNBC “reporter” Alex Seitz-Wald (alum of Salon, Think Progress, etc) once again.
Somehow, with all those discussions, reports, and analysis segments on the Indiana law, every opinion/commentary guest happened to have the same point of view: against the law. Not one guest spoke in favor of the law or defended it. In fact, just like all the previous installments of this show we’ve seen, there were zero guests giving a right-of-center view on anything.
Can you imagine the shock if somehow a regular Thomas Roberts viewer mistakenly tuned to Fox News on Monday and happened to see David Avella and Julie Roginsky doing a pro-and-con debate on this piece of legislation? What, there are two sides to this story? They let that sort of thing on the air?
So this non-opinion MSNBC newscast isn’t much different now than it was in its premiere week. Leftist ideologues masquerading as “reporters.” No opposing viewpoints whatsoever. Everything is one way. Those who feared their progressive paradise might be losing its soul can relax. “Lean Forward” isn’t going away any time soon.