MSNBC, which has been reeling from recent statements made by its hosts, has apparently decided that the network can’t risk any more embarrassing incidents. To that end, they are putting an executive in charge of reviewing scripts before they air, according to Eliana Johnson in National Review Online:
It now has an executive reviewing scripts before they go on the air. The role, which has fallen to Rich Stockwell, a former executive producer of The Ed Show and Countdown with Keith Olbermann, who now oversees special projects at the network, was created as several of the network’s hosts have, to the embarrassment of network brass, conducted a master class in political incorrectness. In recent months, Alec Baldwin, Martin Bashir, and, most recently, Melissa Harris-Perry have awkwardly crashed into the trinity of sexual orientation, gender, and race, leading many to wonder if there are any adults in charge at MSNBC.
The first host to have recently embarrassed MSNBC was none other than liberal actor—is there any other kind?—Alec Baldwin, who made an off-air homophobic slur to a New York Post cameraman. This resulted in the network firing him after just four episodes of his new program, Up Late with Alec Baldwin, had aired.
Bashir resigned in December after attacking Sarah Palin on his program for her comparison of the national debt to slavery. Bashir said that someone should defecate in her mouth. He apologized the next day for his remarks, but then resigned when it was clear that the controversy wasn’t going away.
Most recently, weekend host Melissa Harris-Perry led a panel that mocked a family photo of Mitt Romney with his adopted black grandson, with one panelist saying it summed up the diversity of the Republican Party.
Harris-Perry apologized this past Saturday morning, and Romney told Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday that he accepted her apology and harbored no ill-will towards her.
The idea that someone will be reviewing the scripts sounds a little bit like a network censor, which would normally cause the left to recoil. But isn’t reviewing scripts the job of a show’s producer? Maybe they could initiate a 10-second delay, and wire the hosts so that the producer can send an electric shock every time they say something stupid. But that would require a full-time person. In reality, however, I doubt that this is anything more than a cosmetic move to make it appear that MSNBC is actually taking action to rein in their loose-lipped hosts.
UPDATE: MSNBC spokesperson Lauren Skowronski told Politico that “MSNBC has had an editorial and script review process in place since the network began in 1996.” If that’s true it makes the network look even worse than it did before Johnson’s story.