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More than 20,000 Decry Lopsided MSNBC News Coverage; Huge Airtime for Denouncing Russia, Virtually None for Yemen

WASHINGTON - Sponsors of a petition with 22,784 signers and 4,474 individual comments -- asking MSNBC to remedy an extreme imbalance of news coverage -- announced Wednesday that the network and its primetime stars Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes have refused to respond despite repeated requests for a reply.

The petition was submitted more than 10 days ago to Maddow and Hayes via their producers as well as to MSNBC senior vice president Errol Cockfield. The petition also went to Kristen Osborne, the network’s senior manager in charge of media relations for “The Rachel Maddow Show” and “All In with Chris Hayes.”

Signers responded to outreach from three organizations -- Just Foreign Policy, RootsAction.org and World Beyond War -- calling for concerned individuals to “urge Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, and MSNBC to correct their failure to report on the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen and the direct U.S. military role in causing the catastrophe by signing our petition.”

The petition is still gathering signers. Submitted to MSNBC on January 25 were the names and comments in this PDF.

The petition -- which tells MSNBC to “stop censoring the U.S.-assisted carnage in Yemen” -- came after a January 8 report by the media watchdog group Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) that documented the near-total absence of Yemen coverage by the network.

Meanwhile, the study -- titled “MSNBC Ignores Catastrophic U.S.-Backed War in Yemen” -- documented that “in these latter roughly six months of the year [2017], MSNBC ran nearly 5,000 percent more segments that mentioned Russia than segments that mentioned Yemen.”

Sponsors of the petition noted that MSNBC “did not run a single segment devoted specifically to the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen in the second half of 2017, even though -- or perhaps because -- the U.S. government has played a key role in creating the catastrophe.”

Citing the FAIR data, the organizations pointed out: “In all of 2017, MSNBC only aired one broadcast on the U.S.-assisted Saudi airstrikes that have killed thousands of Yemeni civilians. And it never mentioned Yemen’s cholera epidemic, which infected more than 1 million Yemenis in the largest outbreak in recorded history, a direct result of the U.S.-assisted Saudi/UAE war and blockade.”

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Action for a Progressive Future (the organization that runs RootsAction) is a nonprofit, progressive, public policy advocacy group that will engage citizens in the democratic process and help make sure legislators hear their voices.

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