Huff-Post Asks: 'Will MSNBC Hold Obama Accountable in Second Term?'

One of the funniest headlines of Wednesday was the Huffington Post asking "Will MSNBC Hold Obama Accountable In Second Term?" The actual headline right now is “MSNBC Battles 'Pro-Obama' Label Heading Into President's Second Term.”

HuffPost media reporter Michael Calderone raised eyebrows for quoting radical-lefty Glenn Greenwald on MSNBC insisting that If  the DNC "were to own a network and produce news programming...would look exactly like what MSNBC has become." He even made Soviet analogies:

Speaking broadly about MSNBC's programming, Greenwald said the network has "staffed their shows with not only hosts but regular guests who are the most loyal, reverent admirers of President Obama and who are single-handedly devoted to no real political principle or cause other than glorifying him and defending what he does." At times, he said, the network can feel "like watching televised Pravda at the height of the Brezhnev era," a reference to the old Soviet propaganda arm.

Calderone also interviewed MSNBC president Phil Griffin, who repeated some of his best (unintentional) belly-laugh lines:

-- "This channel has never been the voice of Obama. Ever," Griffin told The Huffington Post. "People want to talk about Fox. Fox is the voice of the Republican Party."

-- "We hire smart people with a progressive sensibility," Griffin said. "I tell them to go think for themselves. We don't have talking points."

-- "What I really believe is we analyzed this election in a really smart way and we didn't go over the top," Griffin said. "We weren't just shilling for Obama. We were really smart. And people are responding to that now."

Griffin also claimed (without a laugh track, presumably) "We're going to hold Obama to his campaign promises...And the fact is, there are many things that some of our hosts support him on. But basically, we have a standard, whether it's the war on terror or getting out of Afghanistan: Is he going to live up to his campaign promises?"

Anyone remember the 46 segments on MSNBC this year on Obama's failure to close Guantanamo? The 77 segments on how Obama promised to cut the deficit in half? A hundred wailing panel discussions on cap and trade legislation? No?

But there were several hundred about "voter suppression" and another huge pile on the "War on Women." Name your DNC talking point -- MSNBC covered it like a blanket.

Some Democrats thought MSNBC's relentless pro-Obama spin was just the right temperature of progressive porridge, and their leftish tilt saved the day for Democrats in 2012:

Robert Creamer, a political organizer, strategist and partner in Democracy Partners, told The Huffington Post that MSNBC took "exactly the right tone" during the 2012 race and described a need to illustrate the sharp contrasts with a Republican Party trying to "return us to the Gilded Age."

"If we didn't have MSNBC as a vehicle, I think it would have fundamentally transformed the political environment," Creamer said. "If it was just Fox out there and kind of the middle-of-the-road journalistic CNN on television, I think we would have had much different circumstances."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis