“Controversy” and Candor On Cable

Heard earlier this morning on MSNBC, accompanying the headline: “TEEN BIRTH ‘SHOCKER,’ YouTube pulled graphic viral ad, but it is now back on site:”

MONICA NOVOTNY: (After showing said YouTube video): [It] looks like one of those viral videos we’ve shown you in the past where you’ve got teens fighting, but actually the actress in the video appears to give birth. YouTube apparently pulled the video but we checked a short time ago and it appears to be back up on the site.

Donna Friesen is live in London with the latest on the controversy now. Donna, what’s been the reaction to this?

FRIESEN: Well, not huge reaction here. There’s another huge story going on involving M.P.’s expenses getting the bulk of the attention in this country…

Yeah, no one here is too focused on this. Just us.

Points for candor! But: Did the segment end there? Maybe Friesen moved on to tell viewers about that “huge story” that actually is occupying folks across the pond? No. Friesen delivered that report on the teen pregnancy public service “shock” ad posted on YouTube by a healthcare agency in Lester, England, with Novotny concluding that “it did catch people’s attention.” Nothing more on that “huge story.”

The “teen birth” segment puts at three, since 9am today, the number of news stories on MSNBC made up of disturbing video someone posted on YouTube. (The others: thieves robbing a store; and a bus driver eating, reading, and talking on the phone while driving a bus.)

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.