The odd tale of MSNBC firing, then rehiring, Sam Seder

By Paul Farhi | Washington Post

First, MSNBC fired a left-wing commentator over an eight-year-old tweet the pundit said was a joke but which a far-right activist said showed insensitivity about rape.

Then a small ruckus ensued: Over the firing. Over the tweet. Over MSNBC’s caving to the right-wing guy’s complaint about the tweet.

On Thursday, the saga took another sharp turn: MSNBC reversed itself and hired back the lefty guy, Sam Seder, whom it had dismissed earlier in the week amid a pressure campaign from conservative conspiracy theorist and gadfly Mike Cernovich.

The Seder-Cernovich dust-up was relatively trivial in itself but perhaps says something about the fraught politics of the moment. That is, how a campaign emanating from the fringe-right prompted a news-and-commentary organization with a liberal bent to overreact and shut down one of its own pundits over a comment the media bosses now admit they probably misunderstood in the first place.

MSNBC told Seder – a comedian and political pundit – earlier this week that his services would no longer be necessary after Cernovich whipped up outrage over Seder’s tweet from 2009 about controversial film director Roman Polanski.

Seder said the tweet was a satirical comment about liberals who were defending Polanski over his conviction in 1978 for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl. “Don’t care re Polanski,” he wrote, “but I hope if my daughter is ever raped it is by an older truly talented man w/a great sense of mise en scene.”

MSNBC, though, initially bought into Cernovich’s logic that Seder had made a reprehensible joke about sexual assault and decided not to renew his appearance contract after it expires in February.

The decision represented an initial victory for Cernovich, who promoted the discredited “Pizzagate” conspiracy against Hillary Clinton and has himself called date rape a fiction perpetrated by liberals.

But after Seder’s firing stirred …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

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