MSNBC president Phil Griffin vigorously defended his network’s handling of recent controversies surrounding its anchors, saying they were “transparent” in how they dealt with the situations. He also took a potshot at Fox News and CNN in an interview that was published Wednesday in The Hollywood Reporter.
‘We handled them,’ Griffin said. ‘We were transparent. That is our philosophy: Be factual, and step up when you make a mistake. And I don’t see that among our competition, whether it’s getting something wrong on a major story or when there are clear inaccuracies and they’re not corrected.’
The controversies resulted in the firing of liberal actor Alec Baldwin after just four episodes of his new program, Up Late with Alec Baldwin, had aired. Then came Martin Bashir’s inappropriate suggestion that someone should defecate in Sarah Palin’s mouth after the former vice presidential candidate compared the national debt to slavery. Bashir apologized, then quickly resigned to avoid further embarrassment.
If that wasn’t bad enough, weekend host Melissa Harris-Perry was forced to apologize earlier this month after leading a panel that mocked a family photo of Mitt Romney and his adopted black grandson.
Griffin said these incidents were “unfortunate,” but that he wasn’t going to allow these specific moments of lack of judgment to define the network.
He also disputed reports that the network has hired an executive to review all the scripts before programs air:
“We don’t rely on one person to look at all scripts — there are too many scripts,” Griffin said. “Of course I’ve talked to everybody in the building about it — and we move on. Some of these mistakes are being played out far more inside the media world. I don’t think it hurt us in any way.”
Anchor controversies are nothing new to MSNBC—remember Keith Olbermann? But with each succeeding one, they have the cumulative effect of reminding the public that the network is really nothing more than a collection of vile left-wing loudmouths who are more interested in character assassination than facts.