CNS News posted a clip of Charlie Rangel saying he does not support the President’s “red line” in Syria. What’s most striking isn’t Rangel’s answer it’s the question he’s asked by a host on MSNBC (video below):
Are you concerned in terms of that red line – the president was very clear about that a year ago – are you concerned if there is not action once that line has been crossed that it will send a message to the world about the United States’ influence and their strength in the face of countries openly defying them?
American progressives have gone from protesting war in the streets to wondering if it’s a good PR move for their guy. But this is not just one stray comment. Writing at Mediaite, Thaddeus Russell points out that Chris Matthews, Chris Hayes and Lawrence O’Donnell have all let their shows be used to justify a push toward war:
Last week on MSNBC’s All In, Chris Hayes featured a host of left-of-center hawks, including Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Julia Ioffe of The New Republic, Iraqi-American writer Zainab Salbi, who called for a “long-term intervention,” Mouaz Moustafa, a representative of the Syrian rebels, and Tom Perriello of the Center for American Progress, who has argued elsewhere
not just for missile strikes against Assad but for “a more aggressive
posture that would potentially include regime transition.” On his show, Chris Matthews justified bombing the Assad regime by declaring that even “Hitler didn’t use” chemical weapons. The liberal network’s call to war climaxed with a stunning piece of demagoguery on Wednesday’s Last Word, when reporter Richard Engel put
a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl on camera to say, “Does [Obama] want
his kids to be like us? … When we get bigger, we’re going to write,
‘Obama didn’t help us.'”
Similarly, Al Sharpton did a segment titled “Is there a moral case for attacking Syria?” in which he hosted Melissa Harris-Perry and E.J. Dionne. Dionne said he had “concluded reluctantly” that we needed to attack Syria. Sharpton himself noted that many progressives had been against unilateral action in the past and asked if there was any possibility of broadening the coalition. But no one criticized the President directly.
Rachel Maddow hosts the highest rated show on MSNBC. She is also the person who narrated a special about the lead up to the Iraq War titled “Hubris.” Surely she would be critical of the administration’s current moves?
Maddow was critical, though just barely. Last week she called Obama’s decision to go it alone a “striking departure” for someone who won the Democratic primary criticizing the “rush to war” in Iraq. But while she seemed very skeptical, she offered no direct condemnation of Obama or the administration. Her moderate tone last week is especially striking when you compare it to what she was saying about the same issue in February of this year:
Maddow was probably referring to word of a likely chemical weapons attack in Syria reported in mid-January. As you can see above, she was not impressed at the time. She expected pushback to any such reports. But now that the moment has arrived, who is really pushing back at MSNBC?
In fact there is a surprising amount of support for an attack on Syria given that it would be a completely unilateral attack without domestic support or international approval. The American people clearly do not support an attack on Syria. Therefore there is no downside, as far as public opinion or potential ratings go, for coming out strongly against action in Syria. Given the history of most of MSNBC’s hosts, there can be little doubt that is their inclination. So why isn’t it showing in the coverage?
MSNBC, whose hosts have had multiple private meetings with the President, has to be worried about burning bridges with the White House. If it abandons the President now, when everyone else has already done so, what have they got left? And how many of their viewers really care about consistency on the issues more than they do supporting the President? The safe play is to stick with the President, even if they have to swallow their pride to do so.
you concerned in terms of that red line – the president was very clear
about that a year ago – are you concerned if there is not action once
that line has been crossed that it will send a message to the world
about the United States’ influence and their strength in the face of
countries openly defying them? – See more at: