New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker opened a segment with MSNBC host Tiffany Cross by singing a version of “Happy Birthday” to her in what is likely to fuel new accusations about the mainstream media’s symbiotic relationship with his party.
The Saturday morning segment begins with Cross, newly minted host of The Cross Connection, introducing Booker before he interrupts her and says, “Please allow me a point of personal privilege.”
After she agrees, Booker says, “In the words of the great Stevie Wonder, ‘Happy birthday to ya, happy birthday to ya, happy birthday…’ That’s as far as I’ll go.”
A glowing Cross responded, “I love it! Thank you so much.”
“My family rejoices in you, and not your birth, but in your presence on national TV,” Booker continued. “There are a lot of folk in my family who look at you and feel proud of you and how you are living your life, and so today is worthy of celebration, and I want to thank you for being a light-worker in this world.”
“Well, my family all across this country is screaming in pride right now that Senator Cory Booker just sang Happy Birthday to me, the Stevie Wonder version at that, on national TV,” Cross responded, adding: “So thank you, I can die now, our interview might be over at this point.”
Cross, who replaced network colleague Joy Reid in the 10 a.m. EDT Saturday slot in December, went on to say, “I should probably get to some questions or this will be my last birthday in this chair.”
The incident is likely to fuel additional criticism of the media by Republicans and conservatives who have often claimed most outlets are biased in favor of Democrats.
Roughly a week before the November election, a Rasmussen Reports survey found that 45% of all likely voters believe “when most reporters write about a congressional race, they are trying to help the Democratic candidate,” the polling firm noted in a release. Meanwhile, slightly more than one-third — 35% — said they believe that reporters are trying to be unbiased. Just 11% said reporters tried to help Republican candidates.
Following former President Donald Trump’s 2016 election victory, a survey of 1,000 voters by McLaughlin & Associates found that “a forceful plurality (48%) of respondents believe the media coverage is unfair and biased” against him; 16% of Democrats agreed, Investors Business Daily reported.
The outlet went on to note that researchers from Arizona State University and Texas A&M University who conducted a survey of 462 financial journalists in 2018 found that 17.63% called themselves “very liberal,” while 40.84% described themselves as “somewhat liberal.” By comparison, 37.12% called themselves “moderate” while only 3.94% described themselves as “very conservative” or “somewhat conservative” (4.4% total).
By comparison, IBD noted, “in 1971, Republicans made up 25.7% of all journalists. Democrats were 35.5%, and independents were 32.5%. Some 6.3% of responses were ‘other.’”
A separate study conducted in the fall of 2018 by the Media Research Center, based on 1,007 evening news stories about the Trump White House on ABC, CBS and NBC, found that 92% of the coverage was negative versus 8 percent that was positive — even as the economy was roaring.
A Gallup/Knight Foundation survey published in September found that 86% of Americans believe the media is biased. Of those surveyed, 71% of Republicans viewed the media as “very” or “somewhat” unfavorably compared to 22% of Democrats and 52% of independents.
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