News Emmy Award nominations roasted by critics as ‘laughable’ liberal love fest celebrating media elite

'Award contests exist to fluff the egos of attention-seeking journalists. They seldom reward the best of the news media,' Dan Gainor said

The 42nd annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards nominations were unveiled on Tuesday and critics feel the "laughable" choices prove the event is nothing more than a liberal love fest celebrating corporate media. 

PBS led the way with 52 nominations, while ratings-challenged CNN racked up 41 and far-left Vice picked up 16 nominations. MSNBC’s liberal "The Rachel Maddow Show" was categorized as a straight-news program and a plethora of agenda-driven interviews and features were recognized while non-liberal media was largely shut out. 

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Fox News contributor Joe Concha blasted the Emmys for including Maddow in a category that is supposed to feature nonpartisan newscasters. 

"The problem that many people have with the news they get, in terms of trusting it, is that a highly partisan opinion show is somehow included as a newscast," Concha said. 

MSNBC’s liberal "The Rachel Maddow Show" was categorized as a straight-news program. (Photo by Virginia Sherwood/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

MSNBC’s liberal "The Rachel Maddow Show" was categorized as a straight-news program. (Photo by Virginia Sherwood/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Concha said Maddow’s show is "obviously it’s not a newscast" and its inclusion in the category is an insult to anyone’s intelligence to anyone who has watched the show for five minutes. 

"This is an opinion host who pushed Russian collusion with Trump, Trump allies, for the better part of three years was proven wrong by the Mueller report and never offered one apology or contrition," Concha said. "Now we’re rewarding that behavior and that’s a whole a bowl of wrong."

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Journalist Drew Holden, who has made a name for himself in the media industry with viral Twitter threads showcasing bias, said the "particulars of the nominations are almost laughable" and found issues with many of the nominations in addition to Maddow. 

"These awards are a good reminder about how much of corporate news coverage is not designed to educate everyday Americans but to win the praise of other elite, progressive institutions," Holden told Fox News. 

"CNN earning an award for coverage of the coronavirus outbreak, despite getting it wrong on masks, the lab leak hypothesis, transmission of the virus and more? ‘Nightline’ winning an award for the kidnapping plot of Governor Whitmer, which we’ve since come to find out involved more FBI agents and informants than actual perpetrators? You’ve got story after story listed for awards that not only got material facts wrong but for which other outlets did a far better job of getting the truth," Holden said. 

"The political perspective of nearly every award nominee is something that half of Americans don’t agree with, and most certainly didn’t watch," Holden continued. "It’s navel-gazing from one arm of the entertainment industry being rewarded by another for masquerading as real news."

The nominations are chock-full of controversial decisions. NBC’s widely panned town hall with President Trump, moderated by Savannah Guthrie, was nominated for Outstanding Live Interview and the "60 Minutes" report that resulted in a feud between the Trump White House and veteran journalist Lesley Stahl received an Outstanding Editing nomination.

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ABC News’s "20/20" was nominated for Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story in a Newsmagazine for its "Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein" after the network famously spiked a 2015 interview its anchor Amy Robach conducted with one of his alleged victims.

The Disney-owned network came under fire in 2019 when leaked footage revealed Robach claimed on a hot mic that ABC higher-ups killed a story that would have exposed Epstein three years before he was ultimately brought down. Robach was heard saying, "There will come a day when we will realize Jeffrey Epstein was the most prolific pedophile this country has ever known. I had it all, three years ago."

ABC News buried the story, only to be nominated for a prestigious award when the network finally decided to air a primetime special looking back at the women who survived his crimes. 

Another bizarre nomination was Maddow’s softball interview with Rudy Giuliani associated Lev Parnas. The liberal MSNBC host probed Parnas about a variety of Trump-related issues, but did not ask Parnas about his own pending federal criminal case for making false statements and falsifying records.

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Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor isn’t surprised that the Emmys recognized a variety of far-left, scandal plagued programs that are beloved by the media elite. 

"Award contests exist to fluff the egos of attention-seeking journalists. They seldom reward the best of the news media. They reward what journalists want to believe is important, not what readers and viewers believe," Gainor told Fox News. 

"If the News Emmys want credibility they should have special awards for the many phony stories the media foisted on us -- from Russian collusion to Jussie Smollett," Gainor said. 

Perhaps the most peculiar nomination was Maddow's show landing a nomination in the Outstanding Newscast category alongside programs like ABC’s "World News Tonight" and "NBC Nightly News." 

"Including ‘The Rachel Maddow Show’ among news shows is like counting Beyond Meat as something you actually want in your burger," Gainor said. 

"It’s got the appearance of news, but it’s nothing like it. Heck, it hasn’t been that long since Maddow humiliated herself with the great Trump pays taxes exclusive that even late night hosts mocked," Gainor continued. "This isn’t a news award. It’s a thank you from the supposedly ‘neutral’ news industry to a far left show for attacking Trump."

DePauw University journalism professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall feels there is certainly "some good journalism represented" by the Emmy nominations but the list is ultimately designed to celebrate establishment media.

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"These nominations reflect the protection of ideological and activist pals in terms of the outlets nominated and, to some extent, the topics contained in the list of nominations," McCall told Fox News. 

"While it is true that solid and hard-hitting journalism doesn't necessarily translate to audience support, it is still worth noting that CNN received a boatload of nominations while continuing to struggle with ratings," McCall added. "Thus, these awards nominations reflect more of the interests of media elites than the broad range of American viewers."

McCall agreed that Maddow’s inclusion in the Outstanding Newscast category is a telltale sign of the Emmys' agenda. 

"The show is clearly an opinion program designed to push positions rather than present balanced reports. There are categories for analysis and opinion, of course, which is where the Maddow show should have been nominated," he said. "That the Emmy nominators listed Maddow as a newscast shows a disrupted view of the function of fact-based reporting versus opinion."

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According to the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, "a call for entries is sent to a wide cross section of the broadcast and online news & documentary community" on a yearly basis and entries are solicited from national broadcast news organizations, cable companies, syndicators and independent producers. Entries are judged by panelists who are certified as peers and ballots are anonymous. 

The awards will be handed out September 28-29. 

Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn and Gregg Re contributed to this report.