John Fugelsang · MSNBC

John Fugelsang zings conservative radio host: ‘If you don’t like gay people, take it up with the manufacturer’

Conservative radio host Heidi Harris (left) and comedian John Fugelsang on 'The Ed Show' on April 3, 2015. [MSNBC]
Conservative radio host Heidi Harris (left) and comedian John Fugelsang on ‘The Ed Show’ on April 3, 2015 | [MSNBC]

The Raw Story

Comedian John Fugelsang clashed with conservative radio host Heidi Harris on Friday when Harris questioned the need for sexual orientation to be covered under anti-discrimination statutes.

“Being gay is what sets a person apart from straight people,” Fugelsang told Harris on MSNBC’s Ed Show. “If you don’t like gay people, take it up with the manufacturer, because God keeps creating them around the world.”

“Did I say I didn’t like gay people?” Harris shot back. “I did not say that.”

“Well, stick up for them, Heidi,” he countered. “You’re a nice person.”

Harris argued that in the workplace, only a person’s behavior could set them apart, proving that non-discrimination statutes like one that was voted down by North Dakota legislators on Thursday were unnecessary.

“Why are we protecting a certain group of people because of their behavior?” Harris asked at one point, causing Fugelsang to facepalm. “Not only that, but how do you prove someone didn’t get hired because they were gay? You can’t prove that any more than you can prove somebody didn’t get hired because of their age or their sex.”

“Being gay is behavior?” host Ed Schultz asked, cutting Harris off.

“Of course it is,” she replied.

Schultz pointed out that, because of the defeat of Senate Bill 2279, the state’s LGBT community can lose not only employment, but housing opportunities because of their gender or sexuality.

“You can do that in North Dakota now, Heidi,” Fugelsang said.

“They could have done it in North Dakota two weeks ago,” Harris countered. “Was anybody suing about that?”

Harris then argued that there has been no evidence of abusing state law for the purposes of anti-gay discrimination in the past 22 years.

“You might not realize this, but sometimes straight people are mean to gay people,” Fugelsang said to her. “That’s why gay people have needed more protection.”

“Wow, there’s a sweeping statement — all straight people are mean, and all gay people are perfect,” she countered, reinterpreting Fugelsang’s words.

The anti-discrimination measure in North Dakota was voted down even after being split into two provisions on Thursday. The head of the state House Human Services Committee, Rep. Robin Weisz (R), said the committee “did not receive any testimony that showed any outright discrimination going on,” a contention that was shot down by Fargo activist Bernie Erickson.

“Probably the most recent discrimination that I experienced was last week, when I testified before the [committee],” Erickson told Schultz, saying that Weisz tried to cut testimony down for supporters of the measure before downplaying the accounts of more than 30 people who traveled from around the state to share their brushes with anti-LGBT discrimination.

“The level of contempt of our elected leaders is just unbelievable in North Dakota,” Erickson said. “We are the only state that has not had a ruling on our marriage equality lawsuit. It’s unbelievable. It’s unacceptable, and this does not reflect the ideals of North Dakota citizens.”

See video HERE

MSNBC · Rand Paul

Rand Paul To MSNBC: When Your Network Stops Lying, Then We Can Chat

MSNBC Screenshot

Most GOP lawmakers avoid MSNBC like the plague.

I have my issues with MSNBC in general but Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow represent the best of that network.  Notice that Rand Paul went on a program from MSNBC’s afternoon lineup which happens to include several anchors one of which is the daughter of a former GOP politico.

Therefore, I suspect Rand Paul means Hayes, Maddow and O’Donnell.  Those three have a “no holds barred” approach to their network broadcasts.  By the way, it’s a known fact that virtually all GOPers stay away from anything resembling “truth”.   Just sayin’…

TPM LiveWire

In the interview on “The Cycle,” host Ari Melber probed Paul to discuss his apparent change of heart on the Civil Rights Act. Melber brought up the senator’s comments from 2010 in which he said he would have modified the act’s rules for private businesses. Paul responded to Melber by saying that he had always been in support of the act and that MSNBC had treated him unfairly.

“I learned my lesson: To come on MSNBC and have a philosophical discussion, the liberals will come out of the woodwork and go crazy and say you’re against the Civil Rights Act, and you’re some terrible racist. And I take great objection to that,” Paul said.

Paul went on to say he took “great offense” to people skewing his viewpoint, saying he was the biggest advocate in Congress for getting back people’s voting rights and “mak[ing] the criminal justice system fair.”

“The honest discussion of it would be that I never was opposed to the Civil Rights Act,” Paul interrupted as Melber continued to push for discussion on the senator’s past comments. “And when your network does 24-hour news telling the truth, then maybe we can get somewhere with the discussion.”

Watch the interview via MSNBC here…


Rula Jebreal Rails Against MSNBC For Labeling Her ‘Palestinian Journalist’ (VIDEO)

Rula Jebreal former MSNBC Contributor


I have to wonder about the corporate bosses MSNBC.  If nothing else labeling her anything which might lead to a negative connotation, was simply inappropriate for a news organization.

TPM LiveWire

Jebreal said that there’s no reason to label her by her ethnicity, especially when she’s been counted on in the past to weigh in on issues across the Middle East as a journalist and expert.

“Is this how we label people? I think whoever is doing this PR campaign for MSNBC needs to rethink these issues,” she said.

She then suggested that MSNBC labeled her that way to make her seem “emotional.”

“Did I become Palestinian because this way you can describe me as emotional and as biased, and this way can avoid debate as to who is really biased on this issues?” she asked.

Jebreal was not forced out of her contract with MSNBC, but chose to pursue other opportunities.

“If I wanted to stay, I would have stayed,” she told TPM on Wednesday.

She also criticized MSNBC for calling her a Palestinian journalist on Wednesday, even though she calls herself a “Palestinian Journalist” on one part of her website.

Watch the interview via CNN here…


MSNBC Forbids Ed Schultz From Dem Fundraiser But Allows Joe Scarborough to Raise GOP Cash


Looks like Joe Scarborough is the boss’ pet over at MSNBC.  MSNBC seems to “Lean Right” (behind the scenes)…not ‘Forward’


The MSNBC double standard is on full display as the network made Ed Schultz cancel an appearance at a Democratic fundraiser, but is allowing Joe Scarborough to speak at a Republican cash grab.

In December of 2013, Ed Schultz was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at a fundraiser for the Broward Democratic Party’s big Unity Dinner in Florida, but he was forced by his bosses at MSNBC to cancel the appearance and claim that he didn’t know it was a fundraiser.

However, Republican Joe Scarborough is being allowed to deliver a keynote address for Cheshire County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner in New Hampshire in May. The fundraiser that Scarborough is appearing at costs $50 per person, and all of the money goes to the Republican Party.

MSNBC has turned down repeated requests for comment from media reporters who want to know why Scarborough is allowed to appear at a fundraiser, but Schultz was not.

It is this kind of a double standard and poor leadership that has led to many viewers distrusting MSNBC. There is a reason why MSNBC is losing viewers and has such a negative perception among cable news viewers.

The problems at MSNBC begin at the top. Viewers don’t trust the people who are running the network, and the people who are running the network tend to ignore what the viewers want. There are many talented people working at MSNBC. The network could be so much more than what it is, but it difficult to believe that they are leaning forward when management has different rules for their liberal and conservative employees.

Keith Olbermann was suspended for donating to Democrats in 2010, and that clash with management was part of the feud that led to his departure from the network. It is difficult to escape the suspicion that the execs at MSNBC are trying to push Ed Schultz out too. They have already tried to shuffle Schultz off to the weekends, but viewer outrage combined with the crashing and burning of Chris Hayes forced the network to bring him back to weekdays.

MSNBC’s behavior is not matching their public image, and it leaves viewers to wonder if the network’s liberal tilt is all a marketing scam.

MSNBC · RNC Chairman

Boycott or Not, MSNBC Can’t Have It Both Ways (Updated)


Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 10.31.42 AM

I totally agree with the author of this article…

Daily Banter

Updated Below

Maybe you’ve heard but MSNBC is once again taking crap for something it said. This morning, impossibly named RNC Chairman Reince Priebus announced that the GOP would begin a boycott of the network in response to a tweet fired off from its official Twitter account yesterday. The offending tweet suggested that conservatives would dislike a new Cheerios ad that features a biracial family. And that’s putting it mildly. It’s since been deleted — as if that ever works — but it read as follows:

Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/biracial family.

Priebus, immediately sensing something he could feign self-righteous outrage over, demanded an apology from MSNBC — and of course MSNBC, being what it is, complied without hesitation. That’s not good enough for Priebus, though — not when there’s mileage to be gained from a horseshit controversy that once again stokes the right’s perpetually inflamed persecution gland. He’s demanding a personal apology from Phil Griffin and says he’ll discourage Republican leaders, personalities and strategists from making appearances on the network until he gets one.

We can have our political disagreements with MSNBC, but using biracial families to launch petty and ridiculous political attacks is low, even by MSNBC’s standards. It only coarsens our political discourse.

MSNBC hosts—including Alec Baldwin, Martin Bashir, Melissa Harris-Perry, Alex Wagner, and Ronan Farrow just to name a few—have had a troubling streak in the last several weeks of making comments that belittle and demean Americans without furthering any thoughtful dialogue. Perhaps it’s time for the executives at MSNBC to consider whether their network is upholding a meaningful journalistic mission.

This is more than just a tweet or an offhand comment. This is part of a pattern of behavior that has gotten markedly worse, and until Phil Griffin personally apologizes and takes corrective action, we cannot be part of this network’s toxic programming.

I am confident that he will want to “lean forward” and prove to the American people that he does not condone this behavior. I look forward to his apology and corrective action.

And so we do this stupid, tiresome dance again, with the right pretending to be hurt and angry, its fragile sensibilities having been offended, and the left being shamed into submission with staggering ease.

Here was MSNBC’s tweeted apologia:

Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 9.40.43 AM

It would be easy to run down the dozens and dozens and dozens of times that Fox News, the media arm of the Republican party, has voiced or written something undeniably offensive and has done so with a schoolyard bully’s expectation of impunity. It would also be easy to demonstrate the ways in which MSNBC’s tweet might be perceived as correct. But the more interesting story here is what MSNBC’s constant need to express remorse for even flirting with the same kind of language you regularly find at Fox News says about the network.

The issue is that MS is trying to have it both ways. It’s trying to engage in a street fight with Fox News and conservatives while also keeping its hands unbloodied. It wants to take a side but still remain true to the tenets of honest journalism, which are antithetical to taking a side. The problem is something I’ve written about before, which is that despite its occasionally combative progressive tone and urge to meet its enemies on their own terms, MSNBC still has to answer to the NBC mothership, which is insistent on balance and objectivity to a fault. NBC is so dedicated to the notion of being unbiased that it will proudly behave as if all political stories have two equal sides, essentially turning its journalists into little more than stenographers dutifully reporting the conventional wisdom of whichever side of the aisle they happen to be assigned to — and despite going way out on a limb over the past couple of years MSNBC has had to at least nominally toe that company line because to not do so would hurt NBC News’s reputation as a whole.

MSNBC is a subsidiary of NBC; Fox News is a subsidiary of Roger Ailes, and he’s a ruthless, unscrupulous son-of-a-bitch who isn’t bound in any way by the rules and morals that govern MS. That’s why MS can’t go up against him and the right unless it’s prepared to stop bringing a knife to a gunfight. It’s like Colonel Kurtz at the end of Apocalypse Now, where he speaks with both revulsion and awe of the willingness of the enemy to cut off the arms of children to achieve its goals. “It’s judgment that defeats us,” he says. Exactly. It’s judgment that defeats the left and MSNBC over and over again. A desire to be both vicious and moral.

Guys like Reince Priebus and Roger Ailes will continue to get the better of MSNBC as long as MS continues to pretend that it isn’t what it claims to and wants so badly to be: a ferocious and truthful adversary of conservatives and their media bullhorns. This isn’t even to say that it’s necessarily a good idea for MSNBC to take this tack and to be that kind of news outlet; I’ve said before that I’m not sure that’s where MSNBC should be headed. But one thing is for sure: As long as MSNBC keeps backing down when it gets called out by people who can score political points by doing so, it’s always going to lose. It’s always going to look weak.

Update: And, right on schedule, MSNBC has fired the person who sent the tweet and Phil Griffin has groveled before Priebus.

“We have dismissed the person responsible for the tweet. I personally apologize to Mr. Priebus and to everyone offended. At MSNBC we believe in passionate, strong debate about the issues and we invite voices from all sides to participate. That will never change.”

The “S” in MSNBC apparently stands for “suckers.”

Joy Reid · MSNBC

Joy Reid Getting Her Own Show on MSNBC (w00t!)

Joy Reid 3
MSNBC’s Joy Reid | (photo credit: Adam Fagen)

I’m so happy Joy Reid will have her own show.  For a couple of years now, I’ve been in awe of Joy’s uncanny ability to respond to any question on any topic in depth.  The woman is a natural when it comes to politics.  I have no doubt she’ll be on top of the ratings for her time slot.

Daily Kos

From The Daily Beast:

…Reid’s news show, which is still being staffed, came as more of a surprise. It will launch at 2 p.m., where (Tamron) Hall has presided for the past three years.Reid, a 44-year-old graduate of Harvard and, until now, a contributor to the cable network, is, along with Hall and Rev. Al Sharpton, one of three African-American hosts on MSNBC’s week-day lineup. She will give up her duties as managing editor of the, MSNBC’s black-oriented web site, to anchor full-time.

“Joy is a really thoughtful journalist and analyst, and she’s found real success on this network,” Griffin told The Daily Beast. “She’s formidable on-air and very smart. She fits our sensibility and our audience really connects with her. She’s a natural.”…


Ronan Farrow, son of Mia Farrow, is also getting a show, to launch on the same day. But I have never seen so many tweets over the past year begging Phil Griffin, head of MSNBC, to give Joy Reid her own show. And I agree with all of them. She is really terrific.

Best of luck, Joy! You deserve this, and we’ll be watching. Her debut is Feb. 24 at 2pm ET.


Christie camp held Sandy relief money hostage, mayor alleges

A woman makes her way through the floodwaters, Oct. 31, 2012, in Hoboken, N.J.
A woman makes her way through the floodwaters, Oct. 31, 2012, in Hoboken, N.J. |


Instead of posting a long complicated report on the issue, I urge TFC readers to go here for a video report from Kornacki’s show.

MSNBC – Steve Kornacki

Two senior members of Gov. Chris Christie’s administration warned a New Jersey mayor earlier this year that her town would be starved of hurricane relief money unless she approved a lucrative redevelopment plan favored by the governor, according to the mayor and emails and personal notes she shared with msnbc.

The mayor, Dawn Zimmer, hasn’t approved the project, but she did request $127 million in hurricane relief for her city of Hoboken – 80% of which was underwater after Sandy hit in October 2012. What she got was $142,000 to defray the cost of a single back-up generator plus an additional $200,000 in recovery grants.

In an exclusive interview, Zimmer broke her silence and named Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Richard Constable, Christie’s community affairs commissioner, as the two officials who delivered messages on behalf of a governor she had long supported.

“It’s not fair for the governor to hold Sandy funds hostage for the city of Hoboken” because he wants support for one private developer, she said Saturday on UP w/ Steve Kornacki.

Constable and Christie – through spokespersons – deny Zimmer’s claims.

Continues here…

Alec Baldwin · MSNBC

Giving Alec Baldwin A Talk Show Is The Best Idea MSNBC’s Had In A While

Credit: MSNBC

This sounds like a pretty good plan. I can still watch Bill Maher an hour later…

Think Progress

Alec Baldwin is not always an easy celebrity to be fond of. There’s always the acting work, of course, and 30 Rock is recently-enough departed to elicit a warm glow of remembrance. But Baldwin’s his own worst enemy in many other venues, whether he’s going after paparazzi, throwing temper tantrums on social media in ways that sometimes seem in contradiction of his stated political beliefs, then quitting and rejoining it, not to mention the unfortunate details of his divorce and handling of his custody arrangements that were reported in the press. For all of Baldwin’s gifts, he doesn’t seem to have learned to manage his temper.

And if I thought MSNBC was relying on his temper, or even Baldwin’s outspoken liberalism, for the new talk show that the network confirmed today that Baldwin were host, I’d be worried about the result. But instead, Baldwin’s program, Up Late with Alec Baldwin, will be a talk show. And that’s a genre Baldwin’s demonstrated that he’s very good at during his stint as host of Here’s The Thing, a podcast he’s done in collaboration with WNYC.

Baldwin’s stature meant that he was able to pull an impressive roster of guests to WNYC, from Chris Rock, to Dwight Gooden, to Jill Abramson. And where Baldwin can be combative in other media, on the podcast, he’s thoughtful and curious, quizzing Abramson about her time at the Wall Street Journal and the role of her legal writing experience in her later reporting, or teasing out the differences between Lena Dunham and the character, Hannah Horvath, she plays on her HBO show Girls, and with whom Dunham is frequently conflated. Because of his work in the entertainment industry, Baldwin has a lot of experience he brings usefully to bear in interviews about culture. Where he’s not an expert, he’s curious, as when Baldwin asked Andrew Luck about how studying architecture and the math required for it interacted with his development as a quarterback.

Not only does Baldwin’s experience lend itself well to the format to which he’s assigned, that particular peg in that particular hole is a good expansion of MSNBC’s brand. If MSNBC is supposed to be a smart, enthusiastic place for intelligent analysis and discussion, Baldwin brings a dash of celebrity and sex appeal to that mission. It also expands the network’s coverage of culture, which has cropped up in Rachel Maddow, Melissa Harris-Perry and Chris Hayes’ shows in particular, at a time when Al Jazeera America has entered the market with regular culture segments, and Jeff Zucker, who came up through the entertainment side of NBC and NBC Universal, has taken over CNN. Finally, Baldwin’s likely one of the few figures who has a shot at success going up against Bill Maher in the 10PM Friday timeslot, where his reputation will lure in enough viewers to give his approach to interviewing time to take root. The best possible thing MSNBC could do with Baldwin is to encourage him to replicate his experience on Here’s The Thing as much as possible, and trust that his curiosity will create moments in interviews that will last into the next week’s news cycle.


What Really Went Wrong For MSNBC, And How To Really Fix It

To paraphrase a famous quote: The reports of MSNBC’s demise are greatly exaggerated.  

We’ve seen this before, but in reverse.  Last fall, MSNBC was beating Fox News in certain demographics.  Ratings go up and down and with that thought, there’s no doubt in my mind that MSNBC is here to stay…period.


There has been a lot of virtual ink devoted to the two months of dismal ratings that MSNBC has just endured, some of it sincere, some of it concern-trolling, and much of it tinged with Schadenfreude. There has even been talk that the network might never recover, at least not unless it abandons its Lean Forward identity. In order to figure out how to fix MSNBC’s problems, you have to understand what went wrong in the first place, and you have to actually want the network to thrive.

Before I even start, and more importantly, before any of you even start, let me set the record straight: I hate everything about TV ratings. I hate writing about them, reading about them, and I especially hate getting PR pitches about them. ratings are a terrible way to measure quality, especially in news programming, there are a million ways to slice and dice them, and just looking at them gives me a headache. This is not an invitation for you to email me about how your show is #1 with carpentry aficionados age 63-97. My concern for ratings is confined to their effect on whether I can continue watching programming that I enjoy.

That’s why I took notice when Salon‘s Alex Pareene, in an otherwise excellent column, suggested that MSNBC’s bad stretch has put the network’s progressive-leaning orbit into fatal decay. Are the ratings really that bad?

Well, they are pretty bad, from what I can see, and as Pareene notes, lots of people are taking this opportunity to beat up on All In host Chris Hayes. The launch of the former Up star’s 8 pm show just happened to coincide with an extended series of news cycles that played to rivals CNN and Fox News’ strengths, along with the climax of the HLN-owned-and-operated Jodi Arias trial. Here’s how Pareene describes it:

Meanwhile, CNN’s been given gift after gift by whichever minor demons are responsible for the creation of cable news stories. The channel’s new Zucker-approved softer focus and lack of dignity allowed it to capitalize on Jodi Arias nearly as much as its trashy sister station HLN did. The Boston bombings were a perfect CNN story, even if CNN botched the hell out of its coverage. The Dzhokhar Tsarnaev manhunt was precisely the sort of story that makes people go through their channel guides trying to remember which one CNN is. And then there was the West, Texas, explosion. CNN capitalized on all of this because CNN’s brand is “breaking news.” Fox capitalized because there are simply a whole bunch of people out there whose TVs are tuned to Fox basically all the time. MSNBC’s brand is “people either talking calmly or yelling at you, or each other, about politics.” These weren’t stories that made people think, “What does Chris Matthews have to say?” (Another problem: During huge stories, like the Boston bombing and subsequent manhunt, MSNBC frequently finds itself in the odd position of competing with its own sister network, when NBC News takes over the broadcast network.)

Ironically, MSNBC was alone among its cable news competitors in getting the Boston manhunt story right, a good deed for which they appear to be being punished. Fox News, meanwhile, has been carb-loading like Jabba the Hutt with ringworm on the three-headed Scandalabra™, and bloating its endlessly voracious audience in the process.

Continue here…

MSNBC · Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow – ‘Something weird is going on’ in FBI shooting of Ibragim Todashev

Maddow 053113

(Revised from earlier post)

The Raw Story

On Thursday night’s edition of “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Rachel Maddow discussed the swirl of questions around the shooting of Ibragim Todashev, an associate of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the two men charged with the bombing of the Boston Marathon.

FBI officials have given conflicting accounts of the questioning and killing of Todashev, who knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev through Mixed Martial Arts fighting. Todashev, who, like the Tsarnaevs, was Chechen, lived in Boston for a time before moving to Florida. Agents from the FBI traveled to Florida to question Todashev repeatedly about the bombing.

“Last week while being questioned again in Florida,” said Maddow, “something went very, very wrong and he ended up dead.”

Law enforcement officials were interviewing Todashev in his apartment in Orlando on Wednesday, May 22, when something occurred that resulted in the young man being shot multiple times.

On Thursday, Todashev’s family held a press conference in Moscow, where they showed autopsie photos of their slain son. Ibragim Todashev was shot six times in the torso and once in the back of the head.

“We have not been able to authenticate these photos,” said Maddow. “No one has.”

But, she said, if they are genuine, “something weird is going on.”

“How does that comport with the FBI’s story that he was killed during questioning by armed agents who were only acting in self defense?” she asked. “Shot seven times, including in the back of the head?”

Todashev was questioned because of a possible connection to a bizarre 2011 murder in Waltham, Massachusetts in which three men were found with their throats cut, covered in marijuana, with $5,000 in cash untouched nearby. Law enforcement officials theorize now that Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have murdered the men with the help of some other person or persons.

“That cold case got hot again” after the marathon bombing, Maddow said. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was close friends with one of the victims, but, after his murder, Tsarnaev declined to attend his friend’s funeral.

After Todashev was shot during questioning, Maddow said, law enforcement officials “leaked an elaborate story” that purported to justify the killing. The officials also claimed that Todashev had implicated himself in the Waltham murders prior to being shot. They said that just before the man was about to sign a confession, he snapped, and “lunged at the interrogator with a blade.”

“That initial story has fallen apart,” Maddow said. Within 12 hours of the shooting, two of the three law enforcement officials who were talking to the media about the case changed their story, saying they were no longer sure whether Todashev had a knife.

Now, multiple sources have come forward to papers like the Washington Post to say that, in fact, Todashev was unarmed. NBC News reported on Thursday that Todashev may have been brandishing some kind of “metal rod.”

“So they shot him seven times?” Maddow asked, “Including in the back of the head?” She added that no one actually knows right now if that was the actual number of gunshot wounds on Todashev’s body since officials will neither confirm nor deny that the post-autopsy photos are accurate.

“What we’re left with here is a baffling mess and a story that does not make sense,” she said.