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MSNBC won’t comment on whether they banned liberal blogger from network

By John Byrne
Thursday, July 8, 2010 10:24 EDT
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Update: Markos Moulitsas notes differences between bannings at MSNBC and MSNBC

Daily Kos founder says he received email from MSNBC president

Markos Moulitsas, founder of the popular liberal blog DailyKos.com, wrote in a blog post Wednesday that he had been banned from appearing on MSNBC.

Lauren Skowronski, a public relations employee for MSNBC and NBC Universal, MSNBC’s parent company, told Raw Story, “MSNBC is not commenting.”

MSNBC is generally considered a liberal-leaning network, so the claim that a large liberal blogger has been banned has raised eyebrows.

“In case you were wondering why you haven’t seen me on MSNBC recently, it seems that Joe Scarborough, he of the lowest rated morning show in cableland, has blackballed me,” Moulitsas wrote Wednesday. “And Phil Griffin, the alleged president of MSNBC, is going along with it.”

It began, DailyKos’ founder averred, with a Twitter posting by MSNBC “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough.

“The Sestak story is as unbelievable a cover story as Nixon throwing little Checkers under the bus,” Scarborough tweeted. “A farce on it’s face. Luckily for the White House, the media has been negligent on this story since Day 1. The press will let this laughable story slide.”

“That was too much horseshit for me,” Moulitsas said on his blog Wednesday. “If there was someone who had ZERO ground to stand on whining about media bias, it was Scarborough.”

To Scarborough, DailyKos’ founder replied on Twitter, “Luckily for the White House, the media has been negligent on this story since Day 1.”

“It degenerated from there,” Moulitsas said.

The Tweet war then continued.

JoeNBC: @markos Unbelievable. You have a long history of spreading lies suggesting I am a murderer. This is the 3rd or 4th time by my count.

Markos: @JoeNBC, I’ve never suggested you’re a murderer. I’ve noted media hypocrisy in going after Gary Condit. But he was Dem. You aren’t.

JoeNBC: Anyone in media who interviews @markos, know that you’re extending your credibility to someone who regularly suggests that I’m a murderer.

Markos: A bit touchy, @JoeNBC? Links for where I accuse you of being a murderer please.

“I never accused him of murder, much less three or four times,” Moulitsas said in his blog post. “In fact, we had just had a pleasant chat in the Meet the Press green room in December, which wouldn’t be the case if I was bedeviling him with accusations of murder. The only time I ever mentioned the incident was this post in 2005, in which I discussed him as a potential Senate candidate…

“Scarborough, unable to keep it together, ran crying to [MSNBC President] Phil Griffin,” Moulitsas added. “And while admitting to me that Scarborough’s claims were baseless and overblown, Griffin banned me from the network.”

DailyKos’ founder said Griffin replied in an on the record statement. It read:

Yes, after I became aware of the ugly cheap shot you took at Joe on Twitter, I asked the teams to take a break from booking you on our shows for a while. I found the comments to be in poor taste, and utterly uncalled for in a civil discourse.

I’m hoping this will be only temporary and that the situation can be resolved in a mature fashion, but until then I just don’t know how one could reasonably expect to be welcomed onto our network while publicly antagonizing one of our hosts at the same time.

The DailyKos community has been among the most supportive of MSNBC, and we continue to appreciate that support.

MSNBC did not confirm or deny the legitimacy of Griffin’s email after Raw Story made a follow-up email inquiry at 9:36 AM ET.

DailyKos’ founder has banned some individuals from his site as well. In 2005, after 20 were killed on concerted train bomb attacks in London, he disabled the accounts of some community members who, he said, were floating “unsupported and frankly embarassing conspiracy theories.”

Today I did something I’ve never done before (not even during the Fraudster mess), and wish I’d never had to do. I made a mass banning of people perpetuating a series of bizarre, off-the-wall, unsupported and frankly embarassing conspiracy theories.

I have a high tolerance level for material I deem appropriate for this site, but one thing I REFUSE to allow is bullshit conspiracy theories. You know the ones — Bush and Blair conspired to bomb London in order to take the heat off their respective political problems. I can’t imagine what fucking world these people live in, but it sure ain’t the Reality Based Community.

So I banned these people, and those that have been recommending diaries like it. And I will continue to do so until the purge is complete, and make no mistake — this is a purge.

This is a reality-based community. Those who wish to live outside it should find a new home. This isn’t it.

Moulitsas later reinstated the accounts for some of those he had banned, and wrote:

I’ve been reinstating some of the banned accounts as they email me. Some people wondered why there wasn’t any warning. There have been warnings from others — repeated pleadings for people to ground themselves in reality.

It’s telling that I have NEVER done something like this before. Because this has been an extreme situation. This isn’t about disagreeing with what people are saying. If that was the case, everyone would’ve been banned by now. The myth of the “echo chamber” is just that. A myth.

In response, however, Moulitsas told RAW STORY via e-mail, “Daily Kos doesn’t ban people for things they say in other forums.”

“Daily Kos certainly doesn’t ban people for criticizing me,” Moulitsas added in a second e-mail.

But bannings at Daily Kos typically don’t include reasons, some bloggers have complained in the past.

After the 2004 election, he also banned some users for having high “troll ratings,” a setting which allows the site’s users to flag users they believe are not suited for the community. One blogger alleged last year that he was banned because he thought the Senate should not have certified Ohio’s electoral votes, a state Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) ultimately conceded to former President George W. Bush.

Quite frankly, the bile coming from certain people would not be tolerated if it was coming from the DLC/Joementum wing of the party. But since it’s from the party’s left wing, I’ve been more tolerant (as have other posters who have propped up these individuals with unwarranted “4″ ratings to keep them from being caught in the site’s troll filter). No longer. It’s a double standard I’m not willing to carry forth.

Daily Kos is well represented across the party’s ideological spectrum, and people can agree and disagree with some modicum of respect. Those who are consistently unable to maintain basic levels of civility are not welcome.

Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent wrote of the DailyKos founder’s alleged banning: “I don’t recall the chief of MSNBC publicly banning Liz Cheney from appearing on the network when she cut an entire Web video ‘publicly antagonizing’ Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews for allegedly being too frightened to debate her about terrorism.”

“See, conservatives are expected to demonize the media, and can always count on being granted a platform by the same major networks they hammer publicly on a regular basis,” Sargent added. “It’s all part of the game, get it? But it seems Markos got publicly dressed down and banned by the president of the network, no less, all because he got under Scarborough’s skin with a few nasty little Tweets.”

Regardless of the ban, Moulitsas says he respects a number of MSNBC’s hosts, among them liberals Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz.

“Look, it’s been good for Daily Kos to have me on, but it’s not my favorite medium, I’m often uncomfortable, and part of me would be grateful if I never had to do a TV spot again,” he wrote. “I did as much MSNBC as I did because I like and respect Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz. If they decided they didn’t want me on anymore, I’d be perfectly okay with that. However, I do think it’s noteworthy when I’ve been booted from the network because of a Scarborough temper tantrum.”

MSNBC is a division of NBC Universal, which is a subsidiary of General Electric. General Electric agreed in December of last year to sell its majority interest in NBC Universal to Comcast in a deal that values NBC Universal at $30 billion.

This article has been updated from its original version.

Correction: Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article stated that NBC Universal had been valued at $30 million. The correct value should have been $30 billion, and it has been corrected in this version.

 
 
 
 
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