State Controlled Media
Yesterday, Teresa Kopec noted the strange convergence of the Left and Right over the healthcare debate, quipping “2009: Little Green Footballs goes left & Jane Hamsher goes right. Who’d a thunk it?”
She was referring to erswhile warhawk blogger Charles Johnson’s public break with the Right and progressive movie-maker and the FireDogLake firebrand’s going on the warpath against what she terms “LieberCare,” proudly making common cause with conservatives who oppose the plan for entirely different reasons.
Indeed, Hamsher sees much in common with the Tea Party protesters and her own compatriots. Maybe she’s right.
See, for example, Brian Maloney‘s post railing against “state-controlled media,” in which he argues that MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program is being secretly controlled by the White House. His source? Ultra-left radio host Ed Schultz.
During his syndicated radio show Friday, libtalker and MSNBC host Ed Schultz relayed to listeners how he observed ‘Morning Joe’ Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski take feedback directly from the White House during their program last week.
Schultz appeared on Thursday’s Morning Joe and directly challenged Obama’s David Axelrod on the current version of the health care bill under consideration in Congress.
And here’s what Ed told radio listeners the next day about the visit:
SCHULTZ (08:12): So Mika starts looking at her Blackberry and so does Scarborough and obviously the White House is texting them or emailing them or whatever and they didn’t like the show. Because Arianna had been on there, I’m on there, Howard Dean had been on there and they wanted some balance.
Now think about that – here’s the White House getting in contact with ‘Morning Joe’ because they’re afraid there’s too many lefties on the air! Now if that’s not sensitivity at its highest level, I don’t know what is! I told ya a few days ago they had rabbit ears! They don’t like anything that’s being said right now, they’re getting beat up!
Is it really possible that the White House has a direct line to MSNBC’s hosts, communicating with them during their live broadcasts? Now THAT’S state control!
And do MSNBC staffers actually carry out the administration’s commands? In this case, they certainly made room on short notice for a lengthy segment featuring Axelrod, there to rebut comments made by Howard Dean and other recent guests.
Now, imagine if Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, or another non-“progressive” host had been caught taking orders from Bush during the program. When would we ever hear the end of that?
Now, first of all, all we know if that Schultz claims he saw the hosts looking down at their BlackBerries during the show. He doesn’t claim to have seen the messages or that the hosts said they had a question from the White House. It’s pure wild ass speculation on Schultz’ part.
But let’s take a leap of faith and presume that MSNBC’s show hosts do in fact get emails from the White House trying to spin them. Is that really that shocking? The White House has a rather sophisticated communications shop, after all. If the hosts are checking their emails while guests are on the air — which strikes me as a rather bizarre thing to do — then it stands to reason that they get whatever emails are sent during the show, including those from the White House.
How, exactly, does that translate into state control?
It’s the political equivalent of working the refs. Watch any NFL game and you’ll see players and coaches pleading with the officials to throw a flag or reverse a call. And every so often, the ref will change his mind after hearing the argument! Does that mean the refs are under the coaches’ control? Of course not.
And, one presumes, Limbaugh, Hannity, and Levin did indeed get messages from the Bush administration and other Republican operatives during their broadcasts. Hell, Limbaugh has admitted to “carrying the water” of the party, putting a spin on things contrary to his own beliefs in order to help Republicans win. (See “The Waterboys,” “Talk Radio, Partisanship and Hackery,” and “More on Carrying Water” for more.) He was getting his talking points from somewhere.
Does anyone really think Joe Scarborough, a former Republican Congressman from Florida who many presume has future political ambitions, is a stooge for a Democratic administration? It just doesn’t make any sense.