MSNBC’s hiring of former high-ranking Obamastaffers David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs once again puts the network in the position of having to defend itself against allegations of being decidedly “pro-Obama” in its reporting and analysis. Speaking with CNN’s Howard Kurtzthis morning, the two pushed back against such accusations and instead claimed the mantle of “independent analysts.”
Gibbs is Obama’s former White House press secretary and played a big role in the 2012 presidential campaign; Axelrod has long been a close adviser to Obama. Their hiring at MSNBC renewed the widespread criticism that the network is “in the tank” for the president, including shots from Guardian‘s Glenn Greenwald who likened MSNBC’s “purpose” to how Fox News uses GOP loyals like Karl Rove on a regular basis.
But speaking with Kurtz this morning, the Obama confidantes said they plan to act as “independent” analysts for the network.
“I don’t see it either as being a cheerleader for the president or as a spokesman for the administration’s point of view,” Gibbs said.
“My role is not that of a surrogate, but an analyst and commentator,” Axelrod told the CNN media reporter. “I’m proud of my work for and with the president. But in this role, I will offer observations, based on my experience over 35 years in journalism and politics.”
Even Kurtz gave the two some benefit of the doubt, noting that “MSNBC didn’t invent this practice; Fox News is the model,” but concluding that “having labored so long as fierce advocates for Barack Obama,” it “could be a tough transition” for Gibbs and Axelrod into being seen as “independent.” Read more via Mediaite...