MSNBC Glosses Over Spike Lee Story, Doesn't Disclose He Directed 'Lean Forward' Ads

In this MSNBC segment on the case of Spike Lee tweeting what he thought was George Zimmerman's address, anchor Chris Jansing glosses over the director's irresponsible actions and fails to disclose that he directed the network's famous "Lean Forward" ad campaign.

Jansing characterizes the event as a "Twitter error," as though the most notable element of the story is that the wrong address was posted--not that a Hollywood director deliberately posted the street address of a private citizen, seemingly to direct those who want "justice" to his home.

This omission is glaring and is more evidence of exactly where MSNBC stands on the issue of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. The network's coverage--in example after example after example--has tilted toward bloodthirsty anger at all things even tangentially related to Zimmerman and outright dismissal of uncivil, vile behavior in the name of Martin.

What Lee did wasn't a "Twitter error;" it appears to have been a call to arms. And when two people completely unrelated to Zimmerman or Martin got caught in his cross hairs, Lee had not expressed any remorse at the time of this broadcast (he has since apologized). And MSNBC didn't find this newsworthy.

Why could this be? Perhaps NBC News wants to limit negative coverage of Lee's Twitter antics, as that could damage their own brand. Yes, Lee was the director of MSNBC's "Lean Forward" advertisements:

Jansing and her producers did not find it necessary to disclose their relationship to Lee for this story, which begs the cliche--if this were Fox News, how many weeks of outrage would this elicit?

Jansing also falsely reports that the tweets containing the address have been removed--most likely based on a report from the Orlando Sentinel which makes the same claim. However, one need only take 30 seconds to scroll down Lee's Twitter time line to find that both tweets containing the Florida address are still present. Here is a screenshot of Lee's Twitter feed taken this morning showing both tweets.

MSNBC's coverage of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, and now Spike Lee's role in the story is a classic campaign of bias-by-omitting-information, and the most ethically troubling omission is that which might embarrass the network itself.


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