MSNBC Reporter Panel Complains Some Are Not Listening to Their Narrative

Monday night news broadcasts were dominated by a Washington Post report that claims that President Trump may have disclosed classified information to top Russian officials in the Oval Office. Many in the media were quick to pounce on the report and condemn the President. On MSNBC’s The 11Th Hour, host Brian Williams and some of his guests bemoaned how some Americans weren’t buying into their narratives about the President over the last few days, including the day’s breaking news story.

Jeremy, I've been thinking about you because of the time you spend thinking about and reminding people about our two bubbles,” Williams said, getting ready to tee up The New York Times’ Jeremy Peters. “Is this one skewing both ways? Is this a partisan looking story?” A disheartened sounding Peters responded with: “I think, Brian, it's shaping up to be that way.

Peters’ analysis was little more than veiled jabs at Fox News, although he didn’t mention them by name, for not having the same narrative as the rest of the media:

I'm hesitant to draw any conclusions just a few hours after the story broke, but in the early cuts of the news cycle here, what you're seeing is are partisans taking—taking the same series of events and picking very different sets of facts out of those events to draw their conclusions.

Congratulations Peters, you discovered opinions. And to clarify, it’s not that people picking out a different set of facts. It’s that people assign different values to different things than other people based on their life experiences and other factors. They take into account certain aspects of a report, such as who's reporting it, and make a determination if certain aspects of a story are being played up out of a bias. For instance, many may not take something Brian Williams says seriously because he’s a documented liar.

A few minutes later, Peters whined that people thought the media was unfairly targeting Trump. “So there is this alternate series of facts that is out there, that is going to really shape the perceptions of an awful lot of people in this country, as has been the case throughout President Trump's White House and his campaign,” he argued.

And Peters wasn’t the only guest to have that complaint. Julia Ioffe of The Atlantic shared in Peters’ distaste for differing narratives. “And what's even more scary is that half the country, I think, is watching a different channel tonight and get thing this from a totally different perspective,” she told Williams, while also alluding to Fox News. “So I think a lot of people are going to be getting that spin on the story, and this is going to look increasingly like last week's kerfuffle over the photographers, as the media being out to get Trump…

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The irony that their complaints about people not trusting a story were being voiced on a show hosted by Brian Williams seemed completely lost on them. To add insult to injury, an hour or so prior to the show going live, NBC Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel released a series of tweets that seemingly defused the whole controversy.

“Us [sic] intel official tells me trump [sic] told russians [sic] about laptop airline threat. Told it wasnt [sic] anything they didnt [sic] already know,” one of Engel’s tweets read. Another said: “Us [sic] intel official says Trump talked abt [sic] isis [sic] interest in laptops, which is why laptops of such concern these days. Says not new info”

Engel’s reporting went completely unmentioned by Williams and his panels of journalists. 

Transcript below:

MSNBC
The 11th Hour
May 15, 2017
11:14:13 PM Eastern

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Julia, what else looks familiar to you? Given how much you have studied the dynamic between any of these figures, and certainly these two countries and governments?

JULIA IOFFE: I mean, the sneakiness and the willingness to lie and to obfuscate. I’ve seen it a 100 million times before. What's scary about this is this is the one thing that The Washington Post happened to reported on. I mean, what else do we not know able? What else is out there?

And what's even more scary is that half the country, I think, is watching a different channel tonight and get thing this from a totally different perspective. And you have certain Republican Senators saying, “Well, it's unclassified the second it leaves the president's mouth. He has the ability—the legal ability and legal right to declassify anything he deems worth declassifying.”

So I think a lot of people are going to be getting that spin on the story, and this is going to look increasingly like last week's kerfuffle over the photographers, as the media being out to get Trump, and he's just trying to shake things up, and what's wrong with making a deal with the Russians who are also fighting the same guys we are in Syria. Which of course, not at all true.

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11:21:53 PM Eastern

WILLIAMS: Jeremy, I've been thinking about you because of the time you spend thinking about and reminding people about our two bubbles. Our two sides in this country. You noted that people went into the weekend with different views of the Comey story. Different views of the potential White House taping story. Tonight on another cable network, I'm hearing people talk about this President's ability or inability to faithfully execute the office of president. His potential lack of fitness for office. Is this one skewing both ways? Is this a partisan looking story?

JEREMY PETERS: I think, Brian, it's shaping up to be that way. I'm hesitant to draw any conclusions just a few hours after the story broke, but in the early cuts of the news cycle here, what you're seeing is are partisans taking—taking  the same series of events and picking very different sets of facts out of those events to draw their conclusions.

11:27:42 PM Eastern

PETERS: It’s kind of hard to keep up with this vortex of news we have going on. But yes. That's why context is important here and how Americans put this together in their minds and whether or not they see some type of malicious intent here is going to be key.

I will say, you were talking earlier, Brian, about people calling for the President's impeachment and how this is an illustration of his lack of fitness for office. I was looking at a lot of commentary before this broadcast of people saying ‘this is just another smear by Donald Trump's opponents. This is just another example of how they will never give him the benefit of the doubt. Oh, and by the way, guess what? There was another high-profile politician who also mishandled classified informant. We can't forget about her.’

So there is this alternate series of facts that is out there, that is going to really shape the perceptions of an awful lot of people in this country, as has been the case throughout President Trump's White House and his campaign. They are willing-- his supporters are—to cut him an extraordinary degree of slack, to overlook behavior that I think they otherwise would not. And I'm -- I think that's going to be the case this time again.

 

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