In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, MSNBC President Phil Griffin addresses a trifecta of late-2013 screw-ups involving former host Alec Baldwin (who allegedly used a homophobic slur against a paparazzo), former host Martin Bashir (who said horrible things about Sarah Palin on air) and host Melissa Harris-Perry (whose show made fun of Mitt Romney and his family).
“We handled them,” says Griffin. “We were transparent. That is our philosophy: Be factual, and step up when you make a mistake. And I don’t see that among our competition, whether it’s getting something wrong on a major story or when there are clear inaccuracies and they’re not corrected.”
No. 1: True, MSNBC issued heartfelt apologies in those instances.
No. 2: True, the competition doesn’t fess up, ever, unless it’s forced to.
No. 3: A full embrace of transparency at MSNBC requires that host (and Post monthly columnist) Rachel Maddow circle back and address the standards and criteria that she used on her Jan. 2 broadcast to tie famous industrialists Charles Koch and David Koch and their political instrumentalities to an ill-fated Florida law to require welfare applicants to undergo drug testing. On that show, Maddow said that a group that defended the law, the Foundation for Government Accountability, was a so-called “Koch brothers-affiliated group.” An extensive review by PunditFact, along with an extensive review by NewsBusters’s Noel Sheppard and a less extensive review by the Erik Wemple Blog reached pretty much the same conclusion — that Maddow’s allegation of a tie between the Kochs and that group was shaky. After the Kochs complained about the allegation and suggested a corrective script for the host, she snapped on air, “I will not read scripts provided to me by anyone else. I do not play requests.” Great TV, not great accountability.