Accuracy in Media

MSNBC Live anchor Thomas Roberts was so anxious to stick it to the opponents of gay marriage that he reported a Huffington Post satire blog post as fact and was later forced to apologize for the blunder:

Thomas Roberts: Get this, tech rivals Apple and Microsoft are marrying up and asking the National Organization for Marriage and its supporters to boycott their companies. This follows the release of secret documents last week showing part of the organizations’ strategy to “drive a wedge between blacks and gays on the issue of marriage equality.”

The blog post was in reaction to real documents leaked from the pro-family National Organization for Marriage that talked about the group’s strategy with regard to blacks and gays on the issue of gay marriage.

While the post referred to the real documents, the premise that Apple and Microsoft were teaming up to demand that they be included in NOM”s boycott against corporations that support gay marriage was so ludicrous it’s hard to believe anyone would actually consider it to be genuine.

Here is the Microsoft statement from the Huffington Post piece:

So what gives? The National Organization for Marriage singles out Starbucks, and those yuppie bean heads get all the attention? We have to read in the Seattle Stranger how “[t]here has been an incredible Facebook campaign of photos of people drinking coffee at Starbucks.” Where are all the photos of happy people tapping away on Windows machines knowing that they, too, are supporting equality for all? What about us? We’ve even got a rainbow in our logo. Boycott us, National Organization for Marriage! Now!

When was the last time anyone ever heard of a corporation demanding to be included in a boycott?

Yet despite how obvious this seems, plus the fact that the placement of the post was in the COMEDY section, Roberts forged on and reported it as fact.

But this wasn’t an innocent error on Roberts’ part. Roberts, who is openly gay, has a penchant for injecting his opinions into his news reports. Last July he said that then-GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann wanted to “extinguish gays,” referring to her husband’s reparative-therapy business.

Roberts was so eager to take a swipe at the National Organization for Marriage that he ignored the obvious absurdity of the story and wound up embarrassing MSNBC, as well as himself, in the process.

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