The Anatomy of a TV Confrontation

14May12

The web and Twitter exploded a bit on Friday after MSNBC’s Tamron Hall got into a heated confrontation with Tim Carney from the Washington Examiner. For the most part, the reaction has been split down ideological lines. Some have cheered it because Hall went after a conservative. Others see it as highly unprofessional and a reason not to watch MSNBC. CNN’s Howard Kurtz called Hall’s actions “insulting” because Carney was simply expressing his opinion and Hall wouldn’t let him. “The Atlantic” compared it to Bill O’Reilly cutting off the microphones of guests.

I have provided the Hall-Carney confrontation and two high profile O’Reilly confrontations below.

Tamron Hall:

Bill O’Reilly:

In all three incidents the hosts acted rather jerky. However, there is a bit of a difference between O’Reilly’s job description and Hall’s job description.

Bill O’Reilly is paid to be a political commentator and someone who confronts guests. It’s his job to do that. Even his Fox News bio calls him “controversial” and “bold.” In short, he’s paid to be confrontational and any argument he gets into helps increase the show’s viewing audience.

MSNBC considers Tamron Hall  a news anchor. The description of her show “NewsNation” is that of a news program with “high profile interviews and in-depth coverage of U.S., world and entertainment news.” News shows are supposed to be unbiased. What Hall did goes against her job description. Fox’s Megyn Kelly has gotten into heated confrontations as well, and it’s disrespectful.

I have no problem with commentators getting into confrontations because they’re commentators. If someone is paid to be a news anchor, then they should keep commentary out of their broadcasts.



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