May 11th, 2012


@tamronhall Encapsulates #WTF Is Wrong With Contemporary News Media

Originally published at Quantum Matrix Scribe. Please leave any comments there.

Watch Tamron Hall Go Nuts | Washington Free Beacon.

If you really want to know why people continually dislike and distrust modern, contemporary news media, look no further than this outburst from an MSNBC anchor which makes her look like she’s five years old.

I’m serious.

The topic in question is this BS story about Romney allegedly cutting a guy’s hair in school back in the 1960s, a story which really doesn’t have any relevance to anything today (and which might, apparently, actually be false.) Tim Carney, of the Washington Examiner, was trying to put the story into context, and why whatever Romney’s response really shouldn’t matter. It’s something I wholeheartedly agree with–even though I am no fan of Romney–but apparently, Tamron didn’t:

HALL: So there you have it Tim. And the point is, he’s doing local television—that’s a local reporter asking something that is important to the people of that particular state. His response, you know, people are raising an eyebrow about.
CARNEY: Okay, well, I’ll talk about the marijuana in one second. But what you’re doing here is a typical media trick: You hype up a story, and then you justify the second-day coverage of the story by saying, “Oh, well, people are talking about it. Here’s how Romney responded to it—“
HALL: You don’t have to answer a single question I ask you. You do not. And you did not have to accept the invitation to come on. You knew what we were going to be discussing. [Unclear]
CARNEY: [Unclear]
HALL: Hang on, Tim. You’re kind of in my house here. The problem is this: The story’s out there, and you’re right—I am not saying that we should belabor what happened 50 years ago. We are talking about the response by the campaign and the governor, not just on this issue, but—
CARNEY: You are bringing up a meta story here, which is, “What is the Romney response to this other non-story?” I’m trying to go meta-meta on you, and say here’s some media treatment—
HALL: You don’t want me to go anything on you, because you are actually irritating me right now. I’m going to be honest with you—yes, you are, because you knew the questions and topics we were going to discuss. You knew them; you agreed. And we are not talking or demeaning—listen, 50 years ago, I was a much tougher kid probably than Mitt Romney was in high school. I’m not talking about the issue of whether he was bullying or not. He says he doesn’t remember; to be fair, I cannot say he does. What I am asking about is how the campaign has handled this situation, how he handled the Colorado reporter, how he handled same-sex marriage where he said he agrees with gay parents be able to adopt, but he does not agree with same-sex marriage? Just the handling of questions beyond the economy. If you’re not comfortable talking about that, I am a-okay, but you’re not going to come on and insult me, you’re not going to come on and insult the network when you knew what you were going to come on and talk about. Done. Now, let me talk to Jimmy, I’m done.
CARNEY: Are you going to cut me off?
HALL: Yes, I am.

This is why people are ceasing to watch TV news, or read the newspapers. It’s a combination of the shortsighted arrogance that news anchors and journalists decide what is and isn’t a story, and the technique of trying to hype up things in order to be “entertaining.”

In other words, it’s complete and utter horseshit. And people aren’t buying it.

Newsflash to Tamron Hall: More people get their news through Twitter and blogs than your TV show. Kicking Tim off your show won’t change any of that.

The whole point of having news is having a wide variety of opinion. Yes, there is a point where you have to say “stay on topic,” but you can do that in a far more civilized and adult manner, and you could also ask first where this is going. Second, Carney was talking about the topic at hand. She was asking about Romney’s response to a reporter, and how that might be the same nature as what Romney exhibited in the past, so Carney decided to talk about the media’s hyping up (which is really what it is) about the past story.

Trying to control the discussion in that manner is not news, that’s propaganda. And that shows a distinct lack of integrity on Tamron Hall’s part.

(In her defense, though, that “I’m going to go meta meta on you” line from Tim just sounded utterly crass, and he should not have said it. That was dumb.)

People got that sense from media coverage around the 2008 election, and they’ve been getting it a lot during the Obama administration (and a little before that too; we had it during the build up to Iraq, for example.) This was a crystallization of that distrust. And I think when people think about what’s going on here–not the mindless ravings from places such as ThinkProgress–you’re going to find that 52% trust in the media will evaporate.

This is why people read blogs, go on Twitter, and generally get their news sources from places you wouldn’t traditionally think of as news. It’s not just technology–though that plays a part–it’s because the traditional media outlets are extremely haughty and think they have the right to be the gatekeepers of all knowledge. And if you don’t toe their line…you get Tamron’d.

Also, a couple of quibbles:

  1. “I bet I was a lot tougher than Mitt Romney when I was a kid:” REALLY? You went there? Wow, that’s like, so, like, awesome, like. Seriously, isn’t that a phrase uttered by children? Because you’re so tough when you’re a teenager. Really.
  2. Where, at any point, did Carney insult you or the network? As I’ve said repeatedly, all he was doing was providing context to your question. If you don’t like that, well tough. That’s what he’s doing. He was discussing your question. If anyone was insulting, it was you, Ms. Hall, for saying “You don’t want me to go anything on you.” In fact, that might constitute a threat, which might be at the level that can bring on legal action.

I normally don’t get involved in these things–I said nothing about that whole Chris Loesch Twitter pseudo-debacle–but I abhor bullies, and that’s exactly what Tamron Hall was today. A bully. MSNBC should be ashamed of itself for having her on the show.

[Note: Tried to write this faster but I was so angry I had to get up and pace around my office. This video infuriates me that much.]