The Peacock and the Ass

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From Wednesday evening WaPo:

“MSNBC host Martin Bashir resigned from the network Wednesday, nearly three weeks after making graphic remarks on his show about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

“I deeply regret” the comments, Bashir said in a statement. “It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues, at this special network, will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself or my ill-judged comments.”

His resignation, effective immediately, was accepted by MSNBC president Phil Griffin, who in a statement thanked him “for three great years” with the network.

The uproar began last month when Bashir suggested that someone should defecate in Palin’s mouth because of a remark the former vice presidential candidate made comparing the United States’ indebtedness to China with slavery.

Bashir criticized Palin and her “long-diseased mind” after playing video of her speech about China. He told the story of Thomas Thistlewood, a former overseer at a plantation who described in diaries how he dealt with wayward slaves by, in one case, having another slave defecate in the mouth of the miscreant. In another case, someone urinated in the face of a slave being punished.”

It seems to me that since NBC News, a long-time leader of responsible journalism, aligned itself with Microsoft to create MSNBC, the reporting by NBC has been filled with nuts, wackos and just plain fools who have absolutely no idea what responsible journalism is. People like Olbermann, Mathews, Bashir and Baldwin can’t shine a candle to the likes of Huntley, Brinkley, Chancellor and Russert.

These fools act like they never took a journalism class, know nothing of news, and think their opinions are the greatest things since sliced bread. Yet, each in their own way, has taken this once great news organization and has trashed it to the point where it has no identity to what the proud peacock had grown from.

Perhaps, it is time for NBC to divorce itself from the Microsoft piece of its business. It could learn something from the relationship Time-Warner had with AOL some years back. Time-Warner realized its error and disassociated its brand from the cacophony of AOL’s uninformed and misguided attempt to run a news and communication company. It appears the information industry has no business running an information company.

As for NBC News, the deceased men mentioned above were true journalists of the first order. They grew up as journalists when journalism was a noble profession. The four fools, Bashir, Baldwin, Olbermann and Mathews, have no real journo savvy; instead, they are muckrakers, interested only in their own blather. And that’s a shame.

NBC News President, Deborah Turness, needs to reevaluate the people still employed by NBC News and make sure they understand the difference between reporting the news and being the news. Or she will need to go, too. And maybe, NBC needs the likes of Fred Friendly or Brandon Tartikoff to take charge to protect the brand.

Otherwise, NBC will soon have lower ratings than even Univision, WLNY or some other “discount” network. And that would be a shame for this once storied news organization.

Lesson learned? Hire real live journalists and let the ratings fall where they may. At least, it will be real, not the desperate attempt to have ratings at the cost of a reputation.

Trust me, NBC is not alone in hiring non-journalists to “report” news on their cable news networks. Just the most glaring.

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