FishbowlDC hears that MSNBC General Manager Dan Abrams asked David Shuster to apologize for Wednesday’s Rep. Marsha Blackburn incident and even wrote the bulk of Shuster’s on-air apology.
We also hear that an on-air explanation of this episode is not expected today, with MSNBC hoping to pretend the entire episode never happened.
Blackburn’s office told Abrams that the congresswoman never received a death notice from the Army for Jeremy Bohannon (that is true). Shuster hoped to acknowledge on air the various complaints received and that MSNBC would look into it further. Shuster is slated to host “Tucker” on Monday and that would provide a proper venue for a follow-up.
Abrams conceded that it was fair for Shuster to ask whether or not Blackburn knew the identity of the last person from her district who died in Iraq (she didn’t), but should acknowledge if he made a factual error in naming Jeremy Bohannon.
But as today’s Memphis Commercial Appeal article suggests, it’s not totally clear that Shuster made a factual error. Yes, Blackburn’s office did not receive a notice from the Army, but Bohannon’s last legal address (and where he lived for a year before joining the Army) was in Blackburn’s district.
Shuster appealed for further time to look into it, but Abrams shipped the reporter to apologize on air during Wednesday’s 6 p.m. hour:
But according to Pentagon documents, that young man came from a town inside a neighboring congressional district, not from Representative Blackburn’s, and for that, I apologize for that mistake.
Did Abrams cave to Blackburn’s pressure and fail to back his own reporter? Or should Shuster not have mentioned Bohannon’s name and just let it stand that Blackburn didn’t know the identity of the last person from her district to die in Iraq? Or should Shuster not have asked the question at all until the particulars of this situation were completely settled? Let us know your thoughts.