April 4, 2008

What the....?

I'm becoming convinced that a gang of frat boys run the control room at MSNBC.

I was just watching a recording of tonight's edition of "Hardball" and Chris Matthews was discussing Hillary Clinton's recent effort to appear likable by appearing on The Tonight Show, and her recent appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show.

He tossed the subject to Michelle Bernard, a part of tonight's panel of pundits, and as she began her response, they suddenly put up a full screen shot of .... Madonna.

Huh???!!! Gears ground as my brain tried to figure how this made sense. Some connection between Madonna and Clinton? Had Madonna commented on the race? Madonna? It wasn't going well.

The gleaming publicity shot of the Material Girl stayed on screen with no caption for perhaps 3 or 4 long seconds, then the screen switched to this:

Yep, a national "news" network displaying a photoshopped image of Hillary atop Madonna's infamous pointy bra get-up. (I think of it as the '55 Cadillac outfit... you know, the bumper bullets.)

The graphic occupied the entire screen for maybe another couple seconds before disappearing, going back to showing Michelle Bernard as she continued her response.

While the graphic was up, and as Bernard spoke afterwards, you could detect titters from off camera in a male tone, either Matthews or David Corn, another panelist.

When they finally got back to Matthews I expected some sort of apology or acknowledgement that they'd messed up.


Matthews continued as if nothing had happened and closed the show without ever mentioning the obvious and bizarre incident.

How do you think this happened? Why?

Do these directors/producers/control room people/editors really sit around composing that sort of crap?

Just strikes me as very unprofessional and sloppy, not to mention juvenile.

With Matthews already cowed and justifiably chastised for his weird obsession and history of terribly sexist and just plain mean comments about Clinton stretching back for years, (resulting at last in his having to do an on air mea culpa), and his obvious effort to keep his Clinton hatred in check, this can't help his cause.

Not only that, but it comes on the heels of one of this long campaign season's best quips ever.

Matthews was interviewing Obama last Wednesday night in front of a college audience in Pennsylvania when he asked Obama if, during the campaign so far, he'd ever experienced things that are so funny, so ridiculous or dumb that he can't help but laugh out loud.

Obama immediately shot back, "Of course! Every day!" to great laughter from the crowd. Then displaying perfect comedic timing, as the laughs began to subside, he got a sly look on his face and continued, "But.... then I stopped watching cable news."


Matthews reaction showed that he's much, much worse at taking a swipe than handing them out.

Wonder if they'll be any reaction to this blatantly demeaning graphic of Clinton being shown on "Hardball" come tomorrow. In a lull in campaign season where we see daily efforts to inflate the smallest events or statements into "something", this might qualify.

We'll see.


At 4/04/2008 11:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw the same thing and was glad somebody recorded it. Throw it up on youtube. It didn't appear on the second showing of Hardball. I do like Chris though.

At 4/05/2008 1:00 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

That's interesting. Glad someone else caught it.

Don't know if I can get a clip to put on YouTube though, as it was recorded on my hard drive and the Microsoft program that reords it uses a propietary file format. In other words, you can't copy it or otherwise slice and dice it, and there's no easy way to convert it into a format that could be edited and uploaded to YouTube. (that I'm aware of)

I'll have to see if I can tinker with things and see if I can find a workaround.

At 4/05/2008 2:16 PM, Anonymous No Nonsense said...

Apparantly HRC is distant cousin of Madonna. I guess somebody has been running around doing geneaology on the candidates. Anyway I did watch Ellen and it was her show that did the photoshop of HRC's head on madonna's body (you may get the clip there). It was a hoot! Go easy on Chris Matthew eh?

At 4/05/2008 5:09 PM, Blogger AlleyCat said...

Found your blog because I was searching for someone else you had seen this! No mention of it anywhere! Does Hardball have just three viewers?? I find it hard to believe. Now, considering that Countdown and Abrams continually bash other networks over any little remark or misstep, I can't believe they aren't being called on this! And I'm no Hillary fan, but this takes the cake!

If you can't get this on YouTube, how about forwarding this blog post to sites such as Media Matters - you seem to be the only one who has a screen capture of this picture. I'm sure by removing it from the repeat they feel they are safe.

I do not have my own blog and have actually never even commented on a blog, so I don't know any of the rules about copying or forwarding this to anyone, but I found this so infuriating I wanted to comment. I'm no liberal by a long shot, but I know a rat when I see one. Please expose them!!

Thank you!!

At 4/07/2008 3:36 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

No nonsense,

Thanks for that tidbit. It at least removes a bit of the mystery as to where it came from and provides at least a sliver of a rationale for why it was put up.

And be easy on Matthews? Why? He's certainly not "easy" on anyone else. I'm sure a big strapping Irishman from Philly can take it. HA!

At 4/07/2008 3:41 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...


Yes, it's kind of odd that noone seemed to have noticed this. I did a search yesterday and couldn't find any other mention of it.

I did however send along the screen capture and explanation to Media Matters the day I spotted it. So far no response.

With the explanation from no nonsense above, maybe they figured it was an innocent mistake?

But the fact remains that they flashed a demeaning photo of one of the candidates, and a female one at that, to millions of viewers without providing ANY explanation or context, particularly when they could have explained it later in the show or on the next evening's show.

And yes, it seems even more hypocritical since MSNBC has seemed to have adopted a policy of highlighting every single mistake CNN or FOX makes, no matter how far they have to reach to do so.

I still find it pretty inexcusable.


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