Andrew Kirell at Mediaite reports:
On Tuesday afternoon, four of MSNBC’s primetime hosts were seen entering the West Wing for a meeting with President Obama.
The network’s 8 p.m. host Ed Schultz tweeted out that the group was meeting with the president to discuss the impending “fiscal cliff”.
Huffington Post reporter Jennifer Bendery tweeted that she saw Schultz’s colleagues Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Al Sharpton all entering the White House. Maddow reportedly joked that she was there for a “hippie cabal”.
Bendery also reported that a White House spokesperson says the meeting was between President Obama and various “influential progressives” with the intent to “discuss the importance of extending the Bush middle-class tax cut.”
In recent months, MSNBC has been accused of having too close of ties with the Democratic Party. One Pew survey found that in the weeks leading up to the election, the network gave exceedingly negative coverage to the president’s opponent Mitt Romney, in stark contrast to overwhelmingly positive reporting on the president. The New York Times‘ Jeremy Peters accused the network of “recycling talking points” from the Democratic Party throughout the election cycle.
The network’s president Phil Griffin recently told HuffPost that the network looks to combat that “pro-Obama” reputation during the second term. With that in mind, this White House meeting may raise some eyebrows.
MSNBC has yet to respond to request for comment.
UPDATE: A source familiar with the meeting tells Mediaite that MSNBC personalities were only the most recognizable among the attendees, but there were many other “progressive media” members in attendance, including from the Washington Post, Daily Kos, and the Huffington Post.