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Just what the hell is it with MSNBC? The show host/presenters are characterizing Bernie Sanders as "a gadfly," "a curmudgeon," "your angry uncle," "an angry man" with "no chance to win."

MSNBC Attacks Bernie

Then they immediately present distinguished journalist guests on their shows to vigorously refute their opening salvos of character assassination and trivialization by saying what they, the show hosts, will not — or cannot(?) — say.

The real journalists, as guests, discuss Senator Sanders' solid grasp of the issues, mastery in crafting legislation, and fearlessness in proposing solutions that appeal to the vast majority of the American people, if you just drop the labels.

There is even emphasis on that last point, admonishing the hosts to drop their labels.

Unwarrented labels. Trivializing, defining, ball-and-chain labels, the very labels that the MSNBC show hosts affix to Bernie Sanders with all the epoxy they can conjure, as if (their choice of) these labels were part of his name.

Unwarrented labels. Trivializing, defining, ball-and-chain labels, the very labels that the MSNBC show hosts affix to Bernie Sanders with all the epoxy they can conjure, as if (their choice of) these labels were part of his name.

Then, after their journalist guests tell them those labels do not apply, the hosts thank their guests, dismiss them, and waste no time going back to pasting labels all over Senator Sanders once again.

Watching it happen, you really want the director to turn a mic back on so you'll hear, "Didn't that idiot listen to anything I just said?"

I have no hidden-baseball-cap-cam inside story to tell you here, no tantalizing 3 AM phone call, no proof of any conspiracy. But observation of the coverage of Bernie Sanders is the latest manifestation of a pattern that warrants, even begs, some questions about what the hell is going on.

  • Is MSNBC (when it's not presenting entire weekends of "prison tv") still trying to be a cable news channel like CNN, or is it trying to emulate Faux News to the extent that it's an intentional cult of personalities, pontificating show host/presenters who "assess" everything?
  • Have corporate NBC's powers-that-be decided they want Hillary as the nominee, so they, accordingly, will minimize any other Democratic candidate?
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  • Has corporate NBC decided they want to sabotage the Democratic Party's half of the equation, as was so obvious on "Meet the Press" during David Gregory's tenure (so obvious they had to get rid of him)?
  • Is the rise of corporocratic "assessment-driven" information management — so glaringly evident with Rupert Murdoch's media empire, which includes Faux News — in fact as much an editorial factor at NBC and/or MSNBC?
  • Is the sudden, right-out-of-nowhere, proliferation of Koch Industries' tv ads, as sponsorship of news and public-affairs programming, a page from Wal-Mart's playbook — wherein you prevent examination of your mega-giant corporation's activities by becoming the payola-dispensing puppeteer behind what is allowed to be "news"-?
  • Are we seeing MSNBC show hosts fighting back, even as they parrot the corporate line, by booking guests who will "disagree" and say what they, the hosts, cannot say, and want to say? And if so, how long will their corporate masters tolerate them doing that?

Again, just questions. Questions based on observations of some aberrations that reach well beyond the immediately dismissive editorializing of an important campaign as it leaves the starting gate.

Aberrations. Recently ubiquitous aberrations that appear when you compare Al Jazeera's coverage of world affairs with the "assessment"-driven coverage of America's corporocratic media. Aberrations that are evident when you read a newspaper — though you need to recognize just how centrally consolidated newspapers have become. Still, print media usually comes-off looking better than what tv presents as "news" through its various assessment-driven cults of personalities.

In this age of finely-tuned information management — which, when no one was looking, replaced mere message management — the aberrations have become the new norm. And purposefully so. To deal with, for example, a dangerously challenging "curmudgeon" candidate like Senator Sanders, to spin things end-for-end, to make him the aberration.

In fact, an aberration by more than one of its multiple definitions:

"... a departure from what is normal, usual, or expected, typically one that is unwelcome."

"... the failure of rays to converge at one focus because of limitations or defects in a lens or mirror."

Even when the only candidate out there who focuses on the issues like a laser beam is the one the aberrant media is characterizing as an aberration.


Larry Wines