MSNBC: The Place For Interviewing Empty Chairs

By Alex Weprin Comment

Twice this week an MSNBC host interviewed an empty chair, but both situations were not created equal. First, MSNBC 10 PM host Lawrence O’Donnell interviewed an empty chair when a lawyer for George Zimmerman (the man accused shooting Trayvon Martin) bailed at the last minute:The second time time it wasn’t one of MSNBC’s political commentators that feigned outrage, it was one of the network’s news anchors. Thomas Roberts was slated to interview the National Organization for Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher, but the camera feed showed an empty chair, with Roberts saying that Gallagher didn’t show up (h/t Inside Cable News):

There was just one big, glaring problem: Gallagher was ready to appear, but was in a different studio. Roberts explained on Twitter:

MYSTERY solved… @maggiemarriage was in a studio ready for our #nom interview it was just the wrong studio booked improperly on @msnbc_booking IT WAS OUR MISTAKE and she has an open invite for the show. Our sincerest apologies

ICN took issue with how Roberts handled the situation:

The proper way to handle it is to say that a guest was scheduled to appear but couldn’t make it in time and we hope they will appear in the future. Then you move on and don’t refer to it again. Given that you don’t know what actually happened you must err on the side of caution…for reasons that now seem all too obvious given that it was MSNBC booking that screwed up.