Free Markets, Free People

MSNBC and “Wawa-gate”

As anyone who follows politics knows, MSNBC “leans forward” or, has all but publically announced it is the liberal news network.

Fine.  I have no problem with that.  In fact, I’m comfortable with it because it allows me to put into context anything they say or report.

However, a disturbing trend has emerged with the network.  It’s one thing to have a particular bias to your reporting.  It is another thing to report things dishonestly.  And MSNBC has been caught red handed doing that at least twice here fairly recently.  Ed Shultz edited a tape of Rick Perry in such a way as to make what he said sound like a racial slur.   Then there was the edited George Zimmerman tape.

Now we have the “Wawa” tape.  In it, Mitt Romney is made to appear “amazed” by some technology in the store with the obvious intent of recreating the George H. W. Bush grocery store scanner moment.  The point, of course, was to make Romney look like Bush who, the left contended, was so out of touch that he hadn’t been in a grocery store in so long he was unaware they used scanners.

Of course, as with most things, context is key.  In the case of Bush, he indeed hadn’t been in a grocery store and was indeed amazed by the scanner.  The “out-of-touch” claim had some validity.  And, politically, it also hurt him.

That last sentence is key.  And the MSNBC logic seems elementary as well as obviously transparent.  If that hurt Bush, let’s gin this up to hurt Romney.

But there were multiple problems with MSNBC’s attempt to smear the presumptive GOP presidential candidate.  First and foremost, what they were trying to portray wasn’t true.   Secondly, they seem to have forgotten that there are an army of watchdogs in the new media that inspect everything they say or do.  Third, they seem unaware they aren’t the only organization with video of the event in question.  And finally, they’re arrogant and believe they can pull off crap like this despite one through three.

So how did it go down?  Well, in a short clip shown by MSNBC, Romney, who had visited a convenience store named Wawa, talked about ordering a sandwich:

“It’s amazing," Romney said, as the Pennsylvania crowd appeared to laugh. Then viewers saw Romney say, "You have a touchtone keypad, and you touch that, touch this, go pay the cashier, there’s your sandwich.”

It was presented as a Bush moment with both Andrea Mitchell and Chris Cillizza laughing at how out-of-touch Romney was.  And, as expected:

Mitchell invoked an old perceived campaign stumble by George Bush, who supposedly marveled at a supermarket scanner at a grocers’ convention during his failed 1992 re-election bid.

But that wasn’t at all the context for Romney’s remark.  Here’s what he said prior to that line:

What viewers didn’t see or hear was nearly three minutes of Romney discussing the nightmare of paperwork faced by an optometrist he’d talked to in trying to get the post office to change his address. He expressed mock amazement at Wawa’s efficiency to underscore how the private sector often runs circles around the clumsy bureaucracy.

"We went to Wawas and it was instructive to me, because I saw the difference between the private sector and the governmental sector. People who work in government are good people and I respect what they do, but you see, the challenge with government is that it doesn’t have competition,” Romney said in a portion edited out of the segment.

Wow … that sort of context seems pretty important to the story if you’re actually a reporter and not a hack.

And that’s sort of the point of all this.  MSNBC continues to damage itself (self- inflicted wounds) to the point that no one is going to take them as a credible news source anymore (many of us already dismiss what they say unless vetted by a more reliable source).  Instead, they’ll be considered a propaganda outlet.  What they did with the Romney and Perry tapes certainly seem to be attempts at propaganda vs. news.

By the way, it’s not like other cable networks don’t have their own credibility issues (the left views Fox as the right views MSNBC).  But MSNBC seems to be the worst of the lot, at least at this point.   But, as someone recently said, as their viewership shrinks in the wake of these scandals, the only demographic that may be increasing for them is conservative and GOP viewers.  MSNBC has become an entertainment channel for them.


Twitter: @McQandO

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37 Responses to MSNBC and “Wawa-gate”

  • As Rush said yesterday, BSnbc is simply a corrupt organization.  WaWaGate will help bring it down.

  • Yeah, absolutely everybody who pays attention to right-wing fringe media knows MSNBC is a fraud! YAY WE WIN!
    No, wait: They all knew it already, and there aren’t enough of them to matter. The other 299 million people in the country think Romney never saw a WaWa before. Hook line and sinker.
    But keep patting yourself on the back.

    • You have to wonder what MSNBC’s 6 viewers are thinking (if they think at all) about “Fast and Furious,” considering MSNBC/NBC has had all of 10 seconds of coverage over the last year and a half.

    • You really think MSNBC has that kind of viewership?  Congratulations, you’re the 1%.

    • You’re pulling a bait and switch.  Andrea Mitchell didn’t claim or imply that Romney hadn’t visited a WaWa.  She dishonestly edited footage to pretend that he was “amazed” by the touch pad for ordering and likened it to the Bush 41 checkout scanner story, in which he was (dishonestly) portrayed as being “amazed” by scanner technology.
      Are we to surmise you approve of this sort of fake journalism?  Did you think Dan Rather’s “fake but accurate” forged document was good journalism?
      BTW, are you one of those lackeys like Tad CF who get paid to go to comment sections and toss in comment grenades to try to disrupt the discussion?  If not, you should ask him about how much money you can get for acting like a mindless toady.

      • And the point of the dust-up with Bush 41 and the scanner conveniently left out that what Bush was impressed by was a scanner that could read mangled bar codes.
        Of course, the psycho Mushroom Media / MiniTru didn’t bother to explain what….oh, why do WE BOTHER.?

  • I was particularly amused by this fellow’s admission that he’s defended the legacy media for years (having worked there a long time), but has now thrown in the towel and admits that they’re hacks without professionalism or even honesty, but with scads of bias.

    I’ve grown weary of trying to defend the indefensible and explain the inexplicable. For years, people have stomped their feet and pounded their fists and snorted “Liberal media bias!” and I’ve always tut-tutted and shooshed them and said, “No, no. Calm down. They meant well. It was just a misunderstanding. A mistake. These things happen.” I spent over 25 years working in the oft-reviled Mainstream Media and I saw up close and personal how the sausage was made. I knew the people who wielded the knives and wore the aprons, and could vouch (most of the time, anyway) for their good intentions.

    But now?

    Forget it. I’m done. You deserve what they’re saying about you. It’s earned. You have worked long and hard to merit the suspicion, acrimony, mistrust and revulsion that the media-buying public increasingly heaps upon you.

    Look, if you couldn’t see the bias in the media twenty to thirty years ago, you just weren’t looking very hard. Their mistakes and scandals always gave it away: exploding pickup trucks, Tailwind, and the like. They were *always* biased against business, the military, and conservatives, and always looking for reasons to cover for their political allies in the Democratic Party. If Chappaquidick had happened to a Republican, he would have been out of politics in a month.

    But people who really, really want for us all to get along and find common ground have bought into this ridiculous idea of media professionalism and objectivity for a long time. The line above – “They meant well. It was just a misunderstanding. A mistake.” – could have been written by one of the libertarian founders of this blog, who constantly asserted six or so years ago that the media were just sloppy, but did not have widespread consistent bias.

    I must say I’m pretty amazed what it has taken for some people to see the obvious. Makes me question whether what they have to say on anything else is particularly perceptive.

    • I first noticed that something was wrong during the VietNam coverage.
      It got to the point that I had to watch multiple networks to find out what was corroborated by the other, and even then it wasn’t always the truth.

      • I first noticed in newsmagazines. I subscribed to Time and Newsweek in the 1970s, and over time began to notice that the left side of an issue always, always, always got better treatment than right-leaning sides, and anything vaguely libertarian was treated as the ravings of cranks.

        My impressions were later verified by examples such as Time Magazine’s declaration on environmentalism:

         Time magazine’s science editor Charles Alexander, at a September 16, 1989 global warming conference, confessed: “I would freely admit on this issue we have crossed the boundary from news reporting to advocacy.”

        I switched to the Economist, which was fine until it went off the rails in the early 1990s. When they began pimping for Clintoncare, I realized they had been co-opted by the left. The day I read, in a new article and not an opinion piece, the phrase “Health Savings Accounts, which are simply a subsidy for the rich…”, I threw the magazine across the room and let the subscription expire. (For the record, I’ve had a Health Savings Account for twelve years, and I’m sure as heck not rich.)

        That’s when I started really looking at the profession of journalism. I talked to journalism majors and looked at programs at various schools. My conclusion was that journalism majors don’t learn much. They learn the accepted practice for how to structure an article, and some loose rules for how to use sources. They practice putting words in a row. They don’t learn economics, business, technology, military history and practice, or the other things that would make them able to understand the things they write about. They don’t know much about statistics. They take no courses in basic logic.

        In short, they’re hacks because journalism programs train them to be hacks – to get something out quickly that has a certain ponderous, pseudo-objective tone to it, without worrying much about whether it makes sense or means anything.

        That makes journalists likely to indulge their own biased intuition a high percentage of the time. That means leftist intuition – an astonishing percentage of them got into journalism to “change the world” or “make a difference” – their words, usually. They live in a monoculture of thought that makes them think such biased thinking is objective and mainstream, and are genuinely surprised when someone questions their objectivity or qualifications.

        But, as with other professions such as travel agents that think they’re really smart and important but ultimately don’t add any signficant value, they are being dis-intermediated. I used to get peeved at them. Now I just laugh – I know where they’re headed, even if they don’t.

        • I started with a few 5 year subscriptions to TIME while in college.  I left when TIME was PEOPLE-fied.
          The issue with the headlines  “Boris’ Boffo Trip” and “The $5.6 billion Gizmo” was the end.

        • The Economist perfected cloaking leftist policies in “marketspeak.”
          I had to drop them too when they started that.

        • But, as with other professions such as travel agents that think they’re really smart and important but ultimately don’t add any signficant value, they are being dis-intermediated. I used to get peeved at them. Now I just laugh – I know where they’re headed, even if they don’t.

          I’m enjoying the #justablogger and #realreporter topics on twitter.  The guy who exposed this fraud, @SooperMexican, was “just a blogger”, and Andrea Mitchell is purportedly a “real reporter”.
          These sorts of events will only increase in frequency during the long, drawn out death throes of the dinosaur media.

      • With me it was a gradually growing discomfort and puzzlement until I found CSPAN. I watched the Thomas and Souter heaings on CSPAN, as well as some other stuff, then read the coverage of what I had just seen  in newspapers and watched network news (I was unemployed at the time). Talk about cognitive dissonance. Wow!  Believe it or not, those were the good old days. The MSM has gotten worse.

        • Growing up, I was into politics early in part due to my dad (a John Bircher) and also due to my interest in guns.

          The gun debate was a good way to get a measure of media bias, since it was somewhat easy to compare your facts to those presented on the TV or in print. Note that a certain book of lies that eventually got a “historian” in trouble was well received in “all the right places” but was shot down by private enthusiasts. Gun owners tend to be very knowledgeable on their field as well as the history related to guns and to crime statistics, a factor that has helped defeat gun control.

    • “I’ve grown weary of trying to defend the indefensible and explain the inexplicable.”

      So now this guy, who has been aiding and abetting this stuff for over 20 years, confesses, and we are supposed to think he is a good guy?  I have just one question for him; “What the hell is wrong with you?”.  

    • It was harder to see back then. Yes, left wing bias in the media goes way back. Imagine if G. W. Bush drove PT boats during WW2 (instead of F-102s in the early 70s), and his PT boat was run over by a Jap destroyer. Would that make Bush a hero, or an idiot?

  • MSNBC has now fallen into the abyss doing irreparable damage to the NBC brand.
    I’m just happy that I don’t own any Comcast stock.

  • Bush wasn’t amazed by the scanner at a grocery store, he was amazed that it could read a badly-torn bar code.  He didn’t get fair treatment in the media over that issue.

  • One of the media scandals of our will turn out to be the networks’ treatment of F & F.  Now that Obama has erected a neon sign over it, screaming…”THERE IS SOMETHING UNDER THIS ROCK”…perhaps that will change.

    • Holder asked Obama to assert Executive Privilege over the “Fast and Furious” documents the Oversight Committee wants and Obama has.
      So, the coverup of Fast And Furious now officially goes all the way to Obama.  He owns it now.

    • “There is something under this rock”  Is it a bad word that Rick Perry is trying to keep covered up?

    • So, is it possible for criminal prosecution to come out of this?  We’re talking about a dead American Border agent, and hundreds of dead Mexican citizens here.  Even Nixon wasn’t in THAT deep.

  • I’m tired of these people living in the same country as me. And the emphasis is starting to shift from country to living.

  • Bruce, Steverino nailed it.  The biased media got you. 

    Bush the elder was familliar with normal scanners, he was amazed, at a grocery store convention (not a grocery store) by a new type of scanner that could read even badly mangled bar codes, as well as simultaneously weigh items to verify it was the correct item, and electronically check signatures (the now familliar sign on the keypad).  None of that was commonly deployed at the time of Bush’s visit, it was a new technology demonstration at an industry convention.  I am pretty sure any of us would be amazed by the most impressive technology demonstration at almost any industry convention.     

    The biased media twisted it out of recognition to politically damage someone on the other side of the political spectrum.  The difference is that now there is an alternative information stream to call them on it.   

    Who was it who said, “it ain’t what you don’t know, it is what you know that ain’t so”? 

    • The point is he was characterized by the media as not knowing anything about them and thus “out of touch”, the same MO as the recent MSNBC smear on Romney. And, as I said, he’d not been in a grocery store for years (he admitted that subsequently) and was amazed by the scanner … not necessarily for the reasons the media portrayed. But there was enough “believeability” to sell it then and no one to really rebut the point.

      Fast forward to now … the whole media world has changed, but apparently MSNBC hasn’t noticed. They try the same ploy. #FAIL

    • The there was the pickup truck rollover expose, and the Audi reports…
      And Walter Crackkite and Walter Duranty…

  • By the way, anyone on the West Coast like me who was “What’s a WaWa…and man, that is kinda amazing you can order a sandwich with a touch screen.”

    • You’re out of touch!  You’re obviously not one of the common men…
      Personally, when I saw the WaWa reference, I was wondering what it had to do with Barbara Walters.

    • Another West Coaster over here.  Though my first reaction was along the lines of “Someone named a store ‘WaWa?’  Seriously?”

      • I was perplexed about “In n’ Out” burgers…for obvious reasons.

    • I’m from CA, but I was working out in VA and someone recommended Wawa for lunch. So I went, and got a sandwich. Not bad. I prefer the old school way of ordering by talking to the person over the counter, however.

  • “Fake, but accurate” seems to be the new standard.