One year ago tonight, Thursday, November 20 - like today, the Thursday
one week before Thanksgiving - MSNBC ridiculously plastered "BREAKING
NEWS" on-screen for video of Sarah Palin at a turkey farm just after
pardoning one, running more than three minutes of video of some turkeys
being slaughtered by a man in the background behind her. Palin, then
just weeks off the presidential campaign trail, was simply answering
questions from reporters in her role as Governor of Alaska.
Filling in as host of Countdown, David Shuster scolded Palin: "She neglected to notice what was happening directly behind her - in clear view of the television cameras. We've blurred out the goriest parts, but here's her interview, from start to finish."
As the video ran, MSNBC displayed rotating chyrons with hyperbolic declarations, such as:
GOV. SARAH PALIN KEEPS TALKING WHILE TURKEYS GET SLAUGHTERED BEHIND HERGOV.
PALIN APPARENTLY OBLIVIOUS TO TURKEY CARNAGE OVER HER SHOULDER
The November 21, 2008 CyberAlert posting, "MSNBC Turns Palin's Pardoning of Turkey Into Means to Deride Her ," recounted:
MSNBC took denigrating Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to a new low on Thursday night's Countdown. With "BREAKING NEWS" ridiculously on screen, MSNBC ended the show, hosted by David Shuster filling in for Keith Olbermann, with more than three minutes of video of some turkeys being slaughtered by a man behind Palin while rotating chyrons hyperbolically declared:
GOV. PALIN PICKS WORST POSSIBLE BACKDROP FOR TV NEWS INTERVIEW
TURKEYS DIE AS GOVERNOR PALIN TAKES QUESTIONS FROM MEDIA
GOV. SARAH PALIN KEEPS TALKING WHILE TURKEYS GET SLAUGHTERED BEHIND HER
GOV. PALIN APPARENTLY OBLIVIOUS TO TURKEY CARNAGE OVER HER SHOULDER
GOV. PALIN NOT REALIZING INCONGRUITY OF HER WORDS VERSUS HER BACKDROP
TURKEY-KILLING FOWLS PALIN NEWS CONFERENCE
The video aired after MSNBC ran a story on Palin's pre-Thanksgiving pardoning of a turkey at a Wasila poultry farm. Shuster, quite serious, set up the segment with this warning:
We've made every effort to sanitize the video of what happens next, but you still might want to consider getting the kids out of the room right now and anyone who's a little squeamish about where Thanksgiving dinner comes from. Are they gone? Okay, here's what happened next: As Governor Palin stepped outside of the hatchery, to give a post-pardon interview, she neglected to notice what was happening directly behind her - in clear view of the television cameras. We've blurred out the goriest parts, but here's her interview, from start to finish.
Afterward, Shuster asserted:
And you thought her media outings as a vice presidential candidate were as bad as it gets.
To watch the video in a larger frame - those interested in the supposed gore, or reading the chyrons, play it on the MRC's Eyeblast site .
- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center