Often, I turn on Fox News and Rush Limbaugh to hear their points of view on hot topics. Whenever I repeat Rush Limbaugh’s name or mention Fox News to some of my Hispanic and Black friends, I get two responses; bewilderment or disgust. Then, I am peppered with questions as to why would I listen to “those racists people.” This usually leads to long discussions about the latest comments from Limbaugh about the President or how Fox News is trying to destroy our communities.
This happened last week with me and a longtime friend as we discussed the knee-jerk reaction to the Sherrod debacle by the Obama Administration that led to more criticisms by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. As I was railed against for even mentioning Fox News, I told my friend that many Black folks listen to Rush Limbaugh and watch Fox News for various reasons. She stared at me as if I fallen off a turnip truck and could not believe that anyone would listen to “those racists”. I informed her that Rush Limbaugh’s producer, James Sheldon, is a Black man who Limbaugh depends on to keep the show going. In disbelief she said, “No Black man would work for someone who spits that venom?” I agreed that Rush Limbaugh “spits venom” but I do not listen to him for news or information. He gives commentary from his point of view. I want to hear what he has to say whether I agree with him or not. My grandfather often said, “Even a broke clock is right twice a day!” Rush has built an empire that generates millions and gives his opinion on everything from a kitchen blender to the President. He makes money by being controversial not because of his fact finding revelations. As a business owner, I am not mad at him. My friend continued to share her views about programs that she do not watch or listen too until I interrupted her to ask has she turned on MSNBC to hear their resident bigot, Pat Buchanan. I stated that Pat Buchanan gets a pass for his ever-ready racial statements by the press and is far more damaging to Blacks than Rush Limbaugh or anyone Fox News has on their airwaves.
MSNBC is the cable news arm of NBC news. Both, NBC and MSNBC, are part of NBC Universal. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric and 20% owned by Vivendi, which are publically held companies.
In the world of stockholder satisfaction first, news second, MSNBC Cable News puts on several programs in a 24-hour cycle. The actual journalism arm of NBC Universal is NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. It is on one time of day-5:30 in the evening. The narrative of the MSNBC may appear to lean more towards the NBC news side but on further examination of its programming like, Joe in the Morning, hosted by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, one will find that it showcases its racial extremist, Pat Buchanan, front and center. Pat Buchanan is one of Joe in the Morning’s political commentators. Buchanan is not limited to Joe in the Morning; his colorful commentary is sought after for input time and again on MSNBC’s midday programs and Chris Matthew’s Hard Ball. In my opinion, one of the worst offenders is Chris Matthews who gives Buchanan uninterrupted space at the table frequently. Hard Ball airs at 4:00 PM and is repeated twice in MSNBC’s rotation. Buchanan’s resume includes being an author, a syndicated columnist, and a broadcaster. He was a political advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Regan. Buchanan also sought the Republican nomination for President in 1992 and 1996. He ran in 2000 as the Reform Party’s candidate.
MSNBC took Fox News, Andrew Brietbart, and the NAACP to task over the Sherrod video last week and is well, they should have. However, while judging from on high they ignored the headlines that Buchanan has generated while commentating at MSNBC that received little or no rebuke from the network that gives him a seat at the table on racial discussions. In March 2008, Buchanan authored “A Brief for Whitey”. When “A Brief for Whitey” was penned, the country was at the height of the Rev. Wright controversy. Never one to miss an opportunity to keep the races divided Buchanan stated:
First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.
I take it Buchanan is telling Black folks they should be glad to have been slaves. I could be wrong; however, it would be nice if MSNBC and Chris Matthews asked him exactly what did he mean. With a constant eye on Fox News, MSNBC gave Buchanan unlimited access to its viewers to shape opinions on Rev. Wright by focusing on some of his statements from one speech while ignoring Buchanan’s constant barrage of race baiting. One look at the titles of Pat Buchanan’s articles shows you why he was so successful with the Southern Strategy. Pat Buchanan’s article discusses racial prejudices in the ugliest of terms. Andrew Brietbart is a baby by comparison.
Since the election of the President Obama, MSNBC has become less diverse than Fox News. When it comes to diversity, Fox actually has the other networks beat when it comes to commentators and guests that support their view point and even those who disagree with Fox’s narrative. You can find Julie Banderas, Linda Chavez, Wendell Goler, Lauren Green, Marc Lamont Hill, Michelle Malkin, Star Parker, Uma Pemmaraju, Jesse Lee Peterson, Al Sharpton, and Juan Williams on the network on fairly consistent bases. Glenn Beck has had town halls filled with Blacks and oddly, has had bible study on air with a member of the King family. By contrast, MSNBC allows visits from Eugene Robinson who often can not articulate what he wrote in his own column in the Washington Post. Appearances from Charles Blow of the New York Times are announced on Twitter when “balance” from the ever critique of the Obama Administration is needed and Harold Ford drops by to hold a cup of Starbucks. Professor Melissa Lacewell Harris was a regular at one point in the morning but is often found on the Rachel Maddow Show now here she is usually limited to race relations discussions. As for the Rachel Maddow, its gaining respect from fans and adversaries for actually investigating the issues before giving an opinion. Maddow’s show is taped for the 8:00 hour and repeated once before midnight. To Maddow’s credit, Pat Buchanan has been on her show, I believe, once.
This week the National Association of Black Journalists, NABJ, is having its annual convention in San Diego. Hopefully, honest discussion about how journalists of color have helped create this atmosphere by not challenging news organization to get back to journalism and less opinion led talk shows that give little specifics and all hype. I hear more protest from NABJ members about the color of the anchor instead of the substance of the news given by the media outlet. If there were more stories about how to move the country forward, more investigative news pieces and less talk about racial hate, folks will start to watch the news more for information and less for entertainment. Until then, MSNBC will continue to slip Pat Buchanan into its lineup while telling us that the Fox News has a diversity problem.
In closing, my post is to show it is easier to allow the news to drive the storyline than to actually view the facts even when it comes to reporting on itself. I always appreciate a person who tells me they dislike me upfront rather than one who smiles in my face while plotting my demise. When I see Pat Buchanan on MSNBC, I find myself totally disgusted that his history of race baiting while wearing a Christian halo (smiling in my face) is accepted by anyone let alone a news organization that spends a lot of time sitting naked in glass anchor chairs. With Fox and Limbaugh, I am told upfront who or what they dislike. With MSNBC, I am given racial commentary from a serial racist who plays a political commentator on TV.