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MSNBC Panel Explores Difference Between Being a Journalist or an 'Advocate


Can you be both?

An MSNBC panel momentarily halted its criticism of President Barack Obama’s Rose Garden address Wednesday to reflect on the difference between journalism and advocacy.

“I have felt this about the president since he was campaigning: he talks too much,” said MSNBC contributor Jeff Greenfield. “A twenty-eight minute speech is twenty-six minutes too long about what happened. Surrounded by the same kind of human props, that poor pregnant diabetic who almost collapsed. It was too long. What he might have learned from Winston Churchill was to begin by saying, ‘We screwed up, and we are going to fix it.’”

“I’ll tell you the other thing,” he said.

He paused for a moment before adding, “I realize sometimes networks can be—I want to just—I want to be a counter-arguer.”

Alex Wagner, host of MSNBC’s "Now With Alex Wagner," interjected with a little humor.

“You’re allowed to do whatever you want,” she said.

“Because I represent myself as a humble country journalist, not an advocate,” Greenfield said.

“I think many people at this table would consider themselves journalists, too,” she said.

“Who are also advocates,” he added. “Progressives and liberals.”

“Or not,” she said, adding later: “We can get into that discussion later.”

“My point is, when [Obama] said nobody’s madder than me that this isn’t working, I’m thinking, how about a single working mother whose kid has a pre-existing condition and couldn’t get on the website?” Greenfield said.

“I bet she was angrier than Obama that it didn’t work. My feeling was—because he’s president in part because of his eloquence, going back to 2004, that speech—he spoke at great length about this, and, ‘Yes, it’s a great system, and it’s not working because too many people want it.’ I would have much preferred ‘We’ve blown it and we’re going to fix it,’” he added.

You can watch the discussion here:

(H/T: Mediaite)


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