Silence descends at MSNBC

Outside my usual bailiwick, but I’m compelled to write. And if I need a pretext, well, Benen is a Vermonter.

Today, dozens of reporters tramped through the apartment of the alleged San Bernardino shooters. Some of them, including MSNBC and CNN, went live as their reporters rummaged through the belongings of the dead couple, brandishing pictures of unnamed people and pieces of legal identification before the cameras.

The spectacle revealed nothing. It was, as the Washington Post put it, “life-sucking.” It was despicable. It was a sign that journalistic ethics have been completely subsumed by the endless hunger for ratings.

The authorities say they have completed their investigation of the apartment. I find that hard to believe. What I do know is that if they ever want to go back in there, they won’t be able to use anything they find as evidence. The whole scene is irretrievably tainted.

And people think bloggers have no standards. Today, I prefer my profession to journalism.

Even the news anchors seemed to be choking back their revulsion. CNN’s Anderson Cooper called it “bizarre,” and a CNN security analyst spoke about compromising a crime scene. MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell begged reporter Kerry Sanders not to show pictures or ID’s on the air.

The networks seemed to realize what a ghoulish clusterfuck they’d just taken part in. MSNBC later issued a very tepid semi-apology. CNN boasted that it had not showed pictures or IDs, which is just the worst of many offenses.

After getting home this evening, I turned on Rachel Maddow to see what she would have to say about it.

She said nothing.

She did her full show, much of it concerning San Bernardino and related issues, but no mention of her own network’s live home invasion.

I looked through Maddowblog, curated by Vermont’s most famous blogger, Steve Benen. Not a peep.


It looks like MSNBC has decided to exile the entire event to Siberia, because when you look around its website, you see nothing of the story. Which proves my point, that this journalistic abortion failed to produce any real news or information. And also leads me to conclude that the order went out from on high: We Shall Pretend This Abomination Never Happened.

Too late, folks. My respect for MSNBC and CNN took quite a hit today. (In the case of CNN, I didn’t have much to spare.)

If Steve Benen would care to say anything about this, on or off the record, he knows where to find me.


7 thoughts on “Silence descends at MSNBC

  1. Jane Stein

    I agree with you wholeheartedly, this was a disgrace on the part of MSNBC, CNN, Fox, and clearly lots of others, given the number of media people in that crush. I was watching MSNBC when it happened, and I could hardly believe what I was seeing. It was particularly obnoxious because there was obviously not going to be anything genuinely worth seeing in there after the FBI had gone through it. So what was it? Frankly, just porn. It’s the kind of thing Nancy Grace wallows in because her audience loves it.

    I suspect all the “hosts” were as appalled by it as Andrea Mitchell was. This was a producer stunt, aided and abetted by the eager reporters on the scene– I note that both MS/NBC and Fox’s reporters were not their first-string or even second-string, so no doubt all desperate to get on the air with a “scoop.”

    But Maddow, Benen and all the other on-air people were I’m certain told by the Suits to keep their yaps shut about it once it became clear what an awful idea it was. Too bad Lawrence O’Donnell was off tonight because he’s the most likely to defy the Suits. But it’s telling that only Fox gleefully replayed segments of it on their primetime shows.

  2. Susan Pelletier

    I don’t understand why it did not stay a crime scene for the time being. I have never ever seen anything like this. It is very disturbing. Ahhh the media, analyzing every little detail and giving Isis an opportunity to gloat over how we react.

  3. Brooke Paige

    I’m sure the landlord was slipped a nice “chunk of cash” and it was: LIGHTS !, CAMERA !, ACTION ! There is little journalism left in the media (print or electronic) today !

  4. Dave Katz

    Rachel’s just the piano player in the whorehouse.

    Oh, and FWIW, Senator Sanders, John Nichols, and Robert McChesney were speaking in Vermont TWELVE YEARS AGO, warning that corporate media conglomeration was warping the landscape beyond recognition; this particular horror show is only the latest spawn of that unclean coupling. (See also War, Iraq, and the ginning of public enthusiasm for. If your gorge can take it.) Isn’t it right and proper to think very well of a guy running for president who’s actually right about calling out wrong shit that’s going on? Isn’t that what we once wanted leaders to do, as a matter of course?


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