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Howard Kurtz Asks If MSNBC Developing ‘Culture’ of ‘Harsh Personal Attacks’

KurtzFoxnewsIn a column for Foxnews.com, “MediaBuzz” host Howard Kurtz delves into MSNBC’s recent string of “rude and crude”comments made by Melissa Harris-Perry and former hosts Martin Bashir and Alec Baldwin.

Prefacing his column as not just a Fox attack on MSNBC—citing friendly relations with several at the network—Kurtz asks if the network has developed a culture where “harsh personal attacks” are encouraged.

If there is a theme to these episodes, it is a view of Republicans and conservatives as so mean-spirited, hard-hearted and clueless that just about any rhetoric against them can be justified.

What was striking to me was that MSNBC did nothing but issue a tepid statement until Bashir resigned under pressure nearly three weeks later. But he had a telling line in his apology, saying that “the politics of vitriol and destruction is a miserable place to be and a miserable person to become.”

Now comes Melissa Harris-Perry and her MSNBC panel, mocking a Mitt Romney family photo because, amid a sea of white faces, Romney’s adopted black grandson was on his knee. This falls more in the category of racially insensitive jokes than personal attacks, but why shouldn’t the family be praised rather than ridiculed for the adoption? Instead a defenseless baby was made into a symbol of the GOP’s lack of diversity.

Harris-Perry apologized to the Romney family on Twitter and on MSNBC.com.

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