Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Here's Some Sweetness And Light

Image credit: MSNBC

No, the sweetness and light isn't the picture of the pretty lady. It's the fact that this pretty lady knows how to do journalism, which is a rare talent at her place of employment. Rachel Maddow showed the rest of NBC how journalism is done, as David Sirota explains:

Last night, Rachel Maddow did something I never thought I'd see a journalist do: In the name of transparency, she went back and clarified that a bailout-justifying guest of hers actually had a blatant conflict of interest. Watch the clip here.

On Monday, Maddow had on Berkley professor Laura Tyson to talk about the bailout. You can watch that clip here. As you'll see, Tyson defended the firms that have received bailout money, saying they are not at fault in either how they are using the money, or in how they are refusing to answer questions about their use of the money. She also insisted that companies that get bailout money should be able to keep paying dividends to their shareholders.

Yet, Tyson didn’t tell viewers that she sits on the board of directors of Morgan Stanley, a bank that has received $10 billion in bailout money. That’s right - according to Morgan Stanley’s SEC filings, Tyson makes about $350,000 a year from Morgan Stanley in total compensation from that position, and she now owns about 79,000 shares of the company.
Thankfully, when I pointed Tyson's conflict of interest out to Maddow and her show's staff, they did the responsible thing and made a big effort to inform viewers about what happened. Indeed, in doing this follow-up piece, the Rachel Maddow Show displayed the kind of integrity and respect for their audience that is almost unheard of in political journalism.

Maddow Busts Morgan Stanley Board Member for Lack of Transparency

[links from original]

Contrast this with NBC spokesmodel Brian Williams' behavior when he was questioned about the conflict of interest inherent in his good buddy Barry McCaffrey's working for the defense industry he was commenting on:

In fact, the only time NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams ever dealt with the subject publicly came in a brief mention in his blog, nine days after Barstow’s original piece. In that posting, McCaffrey was one of just two generals who Williams specifically defended, explaining that he had become a close friend of McCaffrey. “I can only account for the men I know best,” wrote Williams, but he was sure that at “no time did our analysts, on my watch or to my knowledge, attempt to push a rosy Pentagon agenda before our viewers."

Above the Fold: Kaiser On NBC News And The Military-Industrial Complex

That quote came by way of an article I wrote at the beginning of this month, entitled "Only Those With A Conscience Can Feel Shame". Rachel Maddow's conscience, at least, seems to be working just fine.

(h/t Eli at Multi Medium.)


shoephone said...

Rachel Maddow is a journalist. Brian Williams is a journalistic joke.

And with that out of the way, I'd like to wish you a very Merry Christmas, Cujo!

Me, I'm lighting the Hanukkah candles AND flipping on the Christmas lights. Ya know, kind of an all inclusive, semi-interfaith thing in ze ol' Ballard bungalow, atop the slushy rain and snow.

(No, I did not mean to rhyme that.)

Cujo359 said...

Merry Christmas to you, too, shoephone, and/or Happy Hanukkah. I've replaced the bulbs on my outdoor lamps with colored bulbs. That's as Christmasy as I get.

One Fly said...

Damn good stuff.

Cujo359 said...

Almost makes me wish I had cable, One Fly.

Dana Hunter said...

Real journalism. Feel... faint. Shock...too...much...


The best thing MSNBC ever did was give Rachel Maddow a show.

Happy Monkey, my dear!

Cujo359 said...

Yes, you wonder what was on NBC's mind, given how little they seem to value journalism.

Happy Monkey back at ya.