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MSNBC decides to bring back Sam Seder after controversy

In a dramatic reversal, MSNBC has decided to bring back Sam Seder as a contributor, days after the two sides parted w...

Posted: Dec 7, 2017 3:04 PM
Updated: Dec 7, 2017 3:04 PM

In a dramatic reversal, MSNBC has decided to bring back Sam Seder as a contributor, days after the two sides parted ways over an old tweet of Seder's that had drawn right-wing criticism.

Seder, a progressive commentator who also hosts his own daily radio show, said that he will accept the network's offer.

"I appreciate MSNBC's thoughtful reconsideration and willingness to understand the cynical motives of those who intentionally misrepresented my tweet for their own toxic, political purposes," Seder said in a statement. "We are experiencing an important and long overdue moment of empowerment for the victims of sexual assault and of reckoning for their perpetrators. I'm proud that MSNBC and its staff have set a clear example of the need to get it right."

MSNBC president Phil Griffin said in a statement that the network had erred in its decision.

"Sometimes you just get one wrong -- and that's what happened here. We made our initial decision for the right reasons -- because we don't consider rape to be a funny topic to be joked about," Griffin said. "But we've heard the feedback, and we understand the point Sam was trying to make in that tweet was actually in line with our values, even though the language was not. Sam will be welcome on our air going forward."

Related: How a joke, and Mike Cernovich, got Sam Seder booted from MSNBC

The news, first reported by The Intercept, marks a swift and remarkable turnabout for MSNBC, which was criticized for the decision.

On Monday, the network said that it would not renew Seder's contributor contract due to a provocative joke he told on Twitter in 2009.

In the tweet, Seder mocked defenders of the filmmaker Roman Polanski, a director who pleaded guilty to statutory rape after being charged with drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl.

"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," Seder said at the time.

The tweet went largely unnoticed for nearly a decade -- until last week, when the far-right activist Mike Cernovich dredged it up and spearheaded a pressure campaign against MSNBC.

Cernovich, a central figure behind a bizarre and false conspiracy theory that linked Hillary Clinton's campaign to a supposed child sex ring inside a pizza shop, was triumphant when news broke on Monday that the network was parting with Seder.

But the decision was met with a negative reaction throughout the media world -- and inside the halls of MSNBC. One senior MSNBC employee, speaking with CNNMoney on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, called the move "really weak" and "pathetic." And many journalists were appalled that the network would capitulate to Cernovich and his misreading of the tweet.

Seder defended the tweet to MSNBC brass last week, but to no avail. He learned his fate was sealed when he was informed on Monday of a forthcoming story by The Wrap, which said that MSNBC would not renew his contract in February.

But on Wednesday night, Seder told CNNMoney, he received a phone call from Griffin telling him the network wanted him back.

In a phone interview Thursday morning, Seder said he believes MSNBC "got a little bit duped," but that he has no hard feelings toward the network. The same can't be said for Cernovich, however.

"Mike Cernovich is not everything that's wrong with society, but he is definitely the low hanging fruit of what's wrong with society," Seder said.

Cernovich did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday morning.

Seder said earlier this week that advertisers on his talk show, "Majority Report," had also faced pressure over the tweet, prompting him to launch a GoFundMe campaign. He planned on using a portion of the proceeds to produce a short film detailing Cernovich's background. The idea, he said, is to educate other media organizations facing pressure from Cernovich.

On Thursday, Seder shut the GoFundMe campaign down -- but the film will still be made.

"If he does this again," Seder said of Cernovich, "people can just flood the zone with it."

-- CNNMoney's Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy contributed reporting.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 256827

Reported Deaths: 5638
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17331186
Hinds16373328
Harrison13731199
Rankin10854217
Jackson10557187
Lee8922141
Madison8335166
Jones6483112
Forrest6038120
Lauderdale5965187
Lowndes5425118
Lafayette503193
Lamar490865
Washington4826124
Bolivar4024109
Oktibbeha397681
Panola374680
Pontotoc369855
Monroe3591105
Warren3569100
Union348063
Marshall347769
Neshoba3413152
Pearl River3329103
Leflore3059107
Lincoln299386
Sunflower288271
Hancock282559
Tate274362
Alcorn267454
Itawamba265260
Pike264679
Scott250847
Prentiss248252
Yazoo247356
Tippah244450
Copiah243949
Coahoma242254
Simpson238368
Leake232966
Grenada220671
Covington215072
Marion215073
Adams207870
Wayne203232
Winston202667
George201939
Newton195044
Attala194659
Tishomingo191661
Chickasaw185744
Jasper174438
Holmes169168
Clay161335
Tallahatchie148235
Stone145921
Clarke141762
Calhoun137621
Smith122725
Yalobusha119134
Walthall112836
Noxubee111423
Greene111029
Montgomery110136
Carroll105321
Lawrence103217
Perry102831
Amite98826
Webster93924
Tunica87421
Claiborne86625
Jefferson Davis85827
Benton83323
Humphreys83324
Kemper78420
Quitman6969
Franklin67115
Choctaw61213
Wilkinson58825
Jefferson55419
Sharkey44017
Issaquena1596
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 429655

Reported Deaths: 6283
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63040956
Mobile30794557
Madison27486201
Tuscaloosa20996268
Montgomery19352315
Shelby18833120
Baldwin16653184
Lee12749102
Morgan12389119
Etowah11861176
Calhoun11292201
Marshall10290113
Houston8746156
Limestone813276
Cullman8125106
Elmore7999104
DeKalb776599
Lauderdale768698
St. Clair7651121
Talladega6309108
Walker5954174
Jackson586341
Colbert539873
Blount537683
Autauga525755
Coffee450456
Dale402981
Franklin369948
Russell340711
Chilton338966
Covington332668
Escambia326043
Dallas308896
Chambers293170
Clarke287833
Tallapoosa2641107
Pike255230
Marion248953
Lawrence246649
Winston229535
Bibb218847
Geneva205446
Marengo202829
Pickens197531
Hale179542
Barbour176036
Fayette172928
Butler170858
Cherokee161930
Henry156523
Monroe149818
Randolph142135
Washington139126
Clay127645
Crenshaw121544
Cleburne119023
Lamar119021
Macon118637
Lowndes112036
Wilcox105121
Bullock101128
Perry99019
Conecuh95720
Sumter89626
Greene76623
Coosa61015
Choctaw51624
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