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On January 30, Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman Reince Priebus announced a boycott of MSNBC by RNC officials after the network posted an offensive tweet, which was later deleted, which stated "Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ biracial family." After Priebus demanded an apology and corrective action from MSNBC President Phil Griffin, he apologized for the tweet and fired the employee responsible for writing it later that day.A lot of lefties are angry at Griffin for caving without a fight. I understand that position. But I'm angry at the rest of the media for accepting this sort of GOP blackmail without questioning it, while holding Democrats to a completely different standard.
You'll recall that, back in 2009, there was a much-publicized Obama administration "war on Fox." Did reporters and commentators remain silent while the White House took on Fox, as they did when Priebus took on MSNBC? Just the opposite -- every concern troll in the media wagged a finger at the White House and said the Fox war was a terrible idea, if not a totalitarian one.
Ruth Marcus, Washington Post:
The Obama administration's war on Fox News is dumb on multiple levels. It makes the White House look weak, unable to take Harry Truman's advice and just deal with the heat. It makes the White House look small, dragged down to the level of Glenn Beck. It makes the White House look childish and petty at best, and it has a distinct Nixonian -- Agnewesque? -- aroma at worst.Chris Rovzar, New York magazine:
Recognizing Fox as an enemy worth fighting is an admission of weakness for a president whose appeal has been partly predicated on the promise of unity.... it makes it seem as though they're actually wounding the president. When you're winning, acknowledging the enemy isn't necessary.Louis Menand, The New Yorker:
... wars of words are distracting, and Obama campaigned as a listener -- a contrast with his supremely deaf predecessor that was evidently welcomed by the electorate. Why are his spokespersons throwing red meat to Fox's angry white men? Wouldn’t it be better to supply them with only tofu smoothies?Did any off these oh-so-concerned observers say anything similar about Priebus? Did they say the MSNBC boycott was a sign of weakness, or argue that it was a jackbooted effort to silence MSNBC?
... The dubious efficacy of a war on Fox News is not the only reason to feel qualms. It's hard to kill the press, but it is not hard to chill it, and this appears to be the White House's goal in the case of Fox.... The state may, and should, rebut opinions that it finds obnoxious, but it should not single out speakers for the purpose of intimidating them. At the end of the day, you do not want your opponents to be able to say that they could not be heard. It may be exasperating, but that is what the First Amendment is all about.
Yeah, the MSNBC tweet offended some people (and led others, in what sure looked like a coordinated campaign, to feign outrage). But recall what led up to the White House "war on Fox":
Prominent among Fox's numerous examples is former host Glenn Beck calling President Obama a "racist" who has "a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture" in July 2009. In contrast to how MSNBC handled this offensive tweet, Beck's statement was defended by [Sean] Hannity himself, by Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of Fox's parent company, and according to a new book, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes privately agreed with Beck.The MSNBC tweeter was instantly fired. Beck remained on Fox for a year after those remarks, Hannity is still on Fox, and Ailes signed a new contract in 2012 that will keep him at Fox for four more years.
But Obama was the bad guy in 2009, according to the hand-wringing pundits. Priebus this week? Not so much.