MSNBC’s decision to cut ties with contributor Sam Seder in response to an old tweet sparked a strong response from a lot of well known left-wing Twitter users, who say the network capitulated to a bad-faith smear campaign initiated by alt-right figure Mike Cernovich.
Joining the fray were many notable names, with even MSNBC host Chris Hayes retweeting someone else’s tweet criticizing the move before himself tweeting: “The entire culture and our politics are now dominated by people who have weaponized bad faith and shamelessness.”
Others included in the backlash are Slate political correspondent Jamelle Bouie, Mother Jones Editor-in-chief Clara Jeffrey, Huffington Post’s Ashley Feinberg Daily Beast senior editor Andrew Kirell, and even Bill Corbett from “Mystery Science Theater 3000.”
At issue is both the joke itself, which critics of MSNBC’s decision insist is at the expense of rape apologists rather than itself a piece of rape apologia, and Cernovich’s involvement. Cernovich is a well known hard-right firebrand who has risen to prominence in the age of Trump, and Liberal Twitter says his campaign against Seder over the tweet was made in bad faith, willfully disregarding the true meaning of the joke.
Here’s Seder’s 2009 tweet, which has been deleted: “Don’t care re Polanski, 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.” Cernovich claimed the joke was in earnest, but Seder said the joke satirized liberals in Hollywood who made excuses for Roman Polanski, who was convicted for the 1977 sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl.
We’ve reach out to MSNBC for comment on the backlash but have not yet received a response.
Below you’ll find a sampling of the Twitter response to the news that MSNBC was ending its relationship with Seder.
Love to see media outlets treating Cernovich as if he’s a critic with good faith and not a rape apologist who is most noteworthy for spreading a pedophilia conspiracy theory that almost got innocent people shot. https://t.co/p7ss98zvi9
— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) December 4, 2017
The entire culture and our politics are now dominated by people who have weaponized bad faith and shamelessness.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) December 4, 2017
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) December 4, 2017
This clearly sardonic 8-yo tweet is an incredibly stupid and cowardly excuse for MSNBC to fire someone, esp since goaded into it by Mr Pizzagate himself. https://t.co/RAaIlHBQjA
— Clara Jeffery (@ClaraJeffery) December 4, 2017
Totally disgusting. The alt-right forces @MSNBC to cut ties with @SamSeder over a Polanski joke you'd have to bend over backwards to misinterpret. Don't capitulate to these fascists. https://t.co/YuaS3GFVYS
— Scott Tobias (@scott_tobias) December 4, 2017
inability or unwillingness to distinguish between good-faith and bad-faith criticism is a really huge problem in media (and elsewhere) right now https://t.co/E2ZWfhGgnS
— Tim Murphy (@timothypmurphy) December 4, 2017
Hey @MSNBC you've sucked for a long time but this is a new low. @SamSeder's intent with that old tweet was crystal clear, you know it, but you let yourself be played by rapey Pizzagate promoter @Cernovich anyway. You deserve the slow death you've set up for yourselves. https://t.co/BSe46mUV1b
— Bill Corbett (@BillCorbett) December 4, 2017
Not to get all doomsday, but when a rape apologist gets someone fired for making what was clearly a joke *about* rape apologists… we’re doomed. https://t.co/Yhp5GpPczx
— Andrew Kirell (@AndrewKirell) December 4, 2017
everything is gamergate https://t.co/aFMNeYSfvi
— Max Read (@max_read) December 4, 2017
This is a case study in how cynics on the right exploit the bottomless appetite of the left for masochistic self-scolding. Bad on MSNBC for capitulating. https://t.co/FGMmchjbOe
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) December 4, 2017
hey look it's another bad faith right-wing pressure campaign to get someone fired, and it worked! https://t.co/y9Pa9GisG7
— sebastian gawker (@libbycwatson) December 4, 2017
Media outlets think the best way to defuse bad-faith attacks is to give into them. It's the best way to guarantee more bad-faith attacks. https://t.co/s08KKAAVy8
— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) December 4, 2017
now that cernovich got what he wanted at least we know now he'll be nice to msnbc
— kev (@kept_simple) December 4, 2017