11 October 2010

MSNBC's Media Machiavellianism

On the Daily Rundown Show , MSNBC’s anchors Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie repeatedly peppered Florida Senate Democrat nominee Kendrick Meek if he would drop out of the race so as to prevent his conservative opponent Marco Rubio (R-FL) from winning the three way race.

Last week, there was speculation amongst Florida Republican officials that Meek might be pressured to drop out of the race to be the junior Senator from the Sunshine State so the way is cleared for turncoat Republican Governor Charlie Crist (I-FL) to win the race. Meek staunchly denied the rumor and insists that he is in it to win it.

During Chuck Todd’s interview with Meeks, the MSNBC host cited internal polling numbers which showed that Meeks and Crist were splitting the crucial votes amongst Democrats. Todd asked: “I mean: what is more important, sort of making a point and trying to finish second between the two of you, or is it more important to try to prevent Marco Rubio from winning?” When Savannah Guthrie questioned the Democrat nominee, she asked Meek if he could live with himself if Rubio won if Meek’s presence split the Democrat vote.

At first glance, one might think that the liberal leaning news channel was shedding it’s MSDNC (sic) reputation by asking hard questions to Democrats and bolstering the chances of an Independent candidate. But this presumes that Double Crist is actually an Independent. Crist attended a fund-raiser in Martha’s Vineyard in late August and would not reveal who threw it, but he denied meeting with President Barack Obama while he was there. If Crist is successful in winning the Florida Senate seat, “Good Time Charlie” has not declared with which party he would caucus.

But I believe that it is part of a Democrat dirty trick on one of their own. Democrats may prefer to “win” with Crist rather than lose with their own nominee. Meek is only polling at 21% in a three way race but is pulling most of his support from black voters. A media drumbeat of withdrawing may reinforce backdoor cajoling. Even if Meek does not pull out, an appearance of inevitable defeat might push all but the most dedicated Democrats to vote for a potential liberal winner in Crist and put him over the top.

In the throes of a campaign, I expect October Surprises and Political Potemkin villages. It is fine if a news source has a distinctive point of view. But MSNBC is not just leaning forward, it is abandoning any journalistic integrity which it still retains. I object to a Machiavellian Media which merely acts as a tool for party preferences.

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