MSNBC’s penchant for stoking racial animosity in service to a liberal agenda reached a new low on June 25 following the Supreme Court’s invalidation of the Voting Rights Act. Following the decision that Section 4 of the Act was unconstitutional, MSNBC’s Chris Jansing claimed that the ruling was an outright “setback for civil rights.”
That's doubtless a claim that many liberal advocates will make, but is patently irresponsible and biased for an ostensibly objective journalist like Jansing to claim. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
What section 4 of the VRA did was lay out whole states and counties within certain other states where any change to voting laws needed what is called pre-clearance from the federal Department of Justice. Essentially, before any changes could be made, Washington had to sign off on them. The Supreme Court did not declare pre-clearance of voting law changes unconstitutional, it just said the formulas used under section 4 to determine preclearance is outdated and needs to be rewritten by Congress with new criteria that would better match the present reality, not reflect how things were in the mid-1960s.
What's more, section 2 of the VRA, by which both individuals and the federal government can sue states, "is permanent, applies nationwide, and is not at issue in this case." There's nothing preventing future federal lawsuits about changes in voting laws in the South or anywhere else in the country. The courts are still open to aggrieved parties wishing to sue.
But why let those facts get in the way of a good screed?
In typical Lean Forward fashion, MSNBC brought on entire panel of liberal guests including MSNBC host and liberal activist Al Sharpton to decry the court’s ruling. It was with Sharpton on set that Jansing offered her pronouncement about the Court handing down a "setback for civil rights."
Naturally, Jansing opted to do all of this before actually turning to NBC's senior justice correspondent Pete Williams, who did his level best to inform viewers about what the Court held and to avoid making any value judgments about the decision itself.
A sensible, objective news anchor would seek first and foremost to get the facts straight by going first to the network's Supreme Court correspondent. He or she would then turn to some legal experts, preferably a panel including one who skews conservative and another liberal to give viewers some expert analysis. After that, a panel discussion featuring both liberal and conservative panelists discussing the broader societal and political implications would make sense.
That makes too much sense and bears too much resemblance to journalism to be how MSNBC would operate, however.
See relevant transcript below.
Jansing and Co.
June 25, 2013
10:32 a.m. Eastern
CHRIS JANSING: I just want to reset. Its 32 minutes past the hour. There has been a major decision from the Supreme Court on the landmark Voting Rights Act and it is a setback for civil rights that basically says that that key provision of the Voting Rights Act cannot be enforced until Congress comes up with a new way of deciding which states and localities and how they will require close federal monitoring of the elections