Shameless Japan “Coverage” from MSNBC, CBS

A dart to MSNBC and its new hire, Martin Bashir, who used the monologue part of his eponymous cable news show yesterday to connect the unfolding tragedy in Japan to the flailing Hollywood career of the star of the Lethal Weapon movies (h/t, Josh Marshall).

I couldn’t find video of yesterday’s Martin Bashir show in embeddable form but you can watch it here. And here are the highlights (emphasis mine)

BASHIR: It’s time to Clear the Air, and on Friday morning, one man might have been tempted to think that he was incredibly fortunate that the story of his own unstable and volatile behavior would also be buried underneath the horrific earthquake in Japan— news which has dominated this and every broadcast.

You see on Friday, a 9.0 earthquake hit coastal Japan sparking tsunami waves, explosions at a nuclear power plant, and untold death and destruction. Also? Mel Gibson pled no contest to spousal battery in a California courtroom.

And? How could one possibly tie the two together? Who would think to even try? Back to Bashir:

There are some who are now saying that [Gibson’s] career is finished, his character radioactive. Strangely enough, it’s almost exactly what’s being said of that region in the northeast of Japan, where explosions have occurred at a nuclear power plant. Yet somehow, there’s every confidence that just three days after the earthquake, the Japanese people will rebuild their land and restore their nation. Indeed, there’s no doubt about it. But there’s much less confidence in Mel Gibson’s ability to salvage his own career. Which leads us to ask a somewhat difficult question: Is it easier to rebuild a devastated country than it is to restore a devastated character?

Musing that “now is the time” for Gibson “to start humbly rebuilding his world,” Bashir concluded that “if the Japanese can do it, then why not Mel Gibson, too?”


Another dart to (although they are no doubt not alone in this) for shamelessly courting the clicks of frightened, uninformed people searching the web for information about nuclear radiation by slapping together a slide show titled “Radiation sickness. 8 terrifying symptoms,” featuring istockphoto images of “Spontaneous Bleeding” (close-up of heavy nose bleed) and “Bloody Diarrhea” (man in bathroom grimacing, clutching stomach) with the following informative and not-at-all-sensational introduction:

People are terrified about being exposed to radiation, including the stuff that some experts fear might leak from the quake-stricken nuclear power plants in Japan. That makes sense. Even if it doesn’t prove fatal, radiation sickness can cause some pretty awful symptoms - and often proves deadly.

Keep clicking to find out eight of the worst…

Yep, it “makes sense” to be “terrified” of that “stuff,” when “even if it doesn’t prove fatal,” it “often proves deadly.” Click on!

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.