What is going on with Alan Grayson and MSNBC? Our research reveals some surprising statistics. And there’s more to it than just numbers.
We have to thank Media Matters for putting us on the scent. They have been publishing articles attacking Fox News for interviewing this candidate or that too many times for their liking. Last week they were concerned over the fact John Kasich has appeared on Fox nine times since announcing his candidacy (on June 1 2009). Similarly, MM complained that in the space of one year, Rand Paul made ’21 appearances’ on Fox. The number is a bit misleading, since when you subtract spots on Fox Business Network or online, it turns out to be 10 appearances on FNC. Still, it’s cited by MM to demonstrate that Fox ‘jumped to his cause’.
While researching our response to the MSNBC challenge, we couldn’t help but notice a pattern. It seemed like one name kept recurring: Alan Grayson (D). Is it possible that MSNBC has been ‘promoting’ Grayson in the same manner that MM claims Fox was pushing Kasich and Paul?
So what did we find? MSNBC has treated Alan Grayson very well, with considerably more appearances than Kasich and Paul on Fox combined. More than 30. More than 40. In fact, a total of 62 appearances!
To be fair, as a sitting Congressman prone to attention grabbing, it is likely that he would be called on more often than a non-incumbent. But over 60 appearances, even multiple appearances on the same day? (In what must be an oversight, Media Matters has yet to report on this spectacular example of what it calls ‘promotion’.)
MSNBC’s dedication to Alan Grayson is striking. But it goes beyond mere numbers. Follow: In November of 2009, a political ad from ChangeCongress used footage of Keith Olbermann. MSNBC demanded the ad be taken down. A year earlier Tom Brokaw and audio of Olbermann were used in a Barack Obama ad. The Obama campaign was sent a cease and desist letter.
Flash forward to the present. Here is an advertisement from Alan Grayson:
Not only does this ad incorporate MSNBC footage of Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz, it’s also being used to do what? Raise money, of course. Four months after it was posted, it still sits on the front page (next to another fundraising pitch) of Grayson’s re-election site.
The publicity MSNBC has given Alan Grayson is one thing. But is the news channel so invested in Grayson that they allow him to use the NBC News brand to get re-elected? Or is MSNBC unaware that this ad uses their footage and on-air personnel to promote a political candidate? The latter seems highly unlikely, given that MSNBC has played this ad–including the Olbermann/Schultz footage–on its air!
What exactly is going on? Is MSNBC colluding with Grayson by letting him use their footage and brand identity to get re-elected? Will anyone ask them?
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