April 10, 2013


See that clip above? It’s a segment on Fox News’s popular roundtable program “The Five.” Like many segments on “The Five,” it features an active, entertaining discussion. And like many segments on “The Five,” it pivots off of a hot contemporary topic.

Unlike many segments on “The Five,” however, it begins by running a promo for MSNBC. Not a paid promo — all for free. It’s that now-famous “Lean Forward” spot by MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry in which she speaks of society’s collective responsibility for raising children. Perry says, in part, “We haven’t had a very collective notion of ‘These are our children.’ So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”

The panelists of “The Five” thought enough of Harris-Perry’s philosophical advertorial that they devoted 10 minutes and 55 seconds to the topic. Ten minutes and 55 seconds! That’s 10 minutes and 55 seconds of admission that MSNBC has done something terribly provocative, as a good cable-news outlet should. That’s 10 minutes and 55 seconds of admission that a rival cable-news outlet has hit on a topic of enduring fascination to the American public — i.e., how we raise our children. That’s 10 minutes and 55 seconds of admission that your producers couldn’t find anything other than MSNBC to talk about. That’s 10 minutes and 55 seconds of admission that a rival cable network has come up with a conceptual scoop. That’s 10 minutes and 55 seconds seconds of repeating the acronym “MSNBC.”

Other Fox News programming has also elevated the Harris-Perry promotion.

Is Roger Ailes on vacation this week or something? In case he is, here’s a message to Fox News from the Erik Wemple Blog: Stop it! Pretend this ad doesn’t exist. Other outlets are supposed to fill their programming by obsessing over your stuff, not the other way around.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.
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