Samuel Lincoln Seder (born November 28, 1966) is an American actor, progressive political commentator, and media host. His works include the film Who's the Caboose? (1997) as well as the television shows Beat Cops (2001) and Pilot Season (2004). He also appeared in Next Stop Wonderland (1998) and made guest appearances on Spin City (1997), Sex and the City (2000), America Undercover (2005), and Maron (2015). Since 2010, he has hosted a daily political talk show, The Majority Report with Sam Seder. He also voices Hugo, a recurring character on the animated comedy series Bob's Burgers. He has written for such television shows as Entourage, Two and a Half Men, and Friends.
Samuel Lincoln Seder
November 28, 1966
|Education||Connecticut College (BA)|
Seder was born to a Jewish family in New York City, and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts. One of three children, his father, J. Robert Seder, was a well-known lawyer in Worcester. Seder earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies from Connecticut College and enrolled at Boston University School of Law. He later dropped out to pursue a career in comedy.
Air America later renewed Seder's contract, giving him top billing and retooling the program as The Sam Seder Show. The show was also moved to a time slot with higher viewership traffic.
During Mark J. Green's restructuring plan to transform Air America into a profitable leader in progressive talk radio, called "Air America 2.0", The Sam Seder Show was cancelled on April 13, 2007, and replaced by WOR Radio Network late night radio show host Lionel. Seder was relegated to a Sunday show entitled Seder on Sunday. Lionel soon lost two-thirds of Seder's live affiliates and listenership. The final Seder on Sunday was broadcast on June 1, 2008.
Seder also occasionally substituted for Randi Rhodes when Rhodes was on Air America, as well as Mike Malloy on The Mike Malloy Show on the Nova M Radio network. In 2008 he also began a collaboration with Marc Maron on Maron v. Seder, an hour-long video webcast. In January 2009, Maron v. Seder was renamed Breakroom Live with Maron & Seder and aired live from the kitchen in the Air America offices weekdays. Seder and Maron also hosted a post-show chat with viewers after each episode. Air America Media cancelled Breakroom Live with Maron & Seder in July 2009. In 2010, Air America was shut down.
In November 2009, Seder hosted a pilot for NBC of an American version of Have I Got News for You. Three years later, in November 2012, it was announced Seder would again be the host of an American version of the show, this time on TBS.
In November 2010, Seder began an independent online podcast, also called The Seder Channel. The live talk-show format closely matches the previous Air America program, with politically oriented commentary by Seder and co-hosts and interviews with various guests. Seder offers listeners different tiered levels of access to content around the show via crowdfunding platform Patreon.
In late 2010, Seder began occasionally serving as substitute host of Countdown with Keith Olbermann when Olbermann was on vacation. In December 2010, Seder also became co-host of the nationally syndicated progressive radio interview program Ring of Fire, co-hosted by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Florida-based attorney Mike Papantonio.
2004 Republican National ConventionEdit
On September 1, 2004, Seder was briefly detained by the United States Secret Service during his live, on-site coverage of that year's Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden. Shortly after Zell Miller gave his speech, Seder began searching (with a sign in hand) on the convention floor for a willing homosexual Republican to interview live on radio. Shortly thereafter, he was physically removed from the floor and – after brief questioning – asked to leave the convention. Seder later commented that his wearing of a lapel pin that he had been given by a Secret Service agent at the Democratic National Convention earlier that year had kept him from being ejected from the convention completely.
2017 MSNBC controversyEdit
This section may contain an excessive amount of intricate detail that may interest only a particular audience.(April 2021)
I believe this tweet was posted when Polanski was seeking to return to the US. I wrote that tweet out of disgust with those who were excusing or were seeking to advocate forgiveness for Polanski's actions which caused him to flee the US. I was appalled that anyone would diminish the seriousness of rape, particularly of a child by citing the perpetrator's artistic contributions. Obviously, I would not wish any harm of my daughter or any other person.
I am confident that other tweets from that time will reflect my disgust in a less satirical tone.
—Sam Seder in an email to MSNBC Senior VP of Communications Errol Cockfield Jr., defending the tweet.
On November 28, 2017, American social media personality Mike Cernovich published a post on Medium that resurfaced a deleted tweet Seder wrote in 2009 joking about convicted statutory rapist and fugitive film director Roman Polanski. The tweet read, "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." Cernovich insisted the tweet proved Seder tacitly endorsed Polanski's sex crime. He then approached multiple journalists and news outlets, including MSNBC, to break the story.
Seder found out about the brewing controversy the same evening en route to a supermarket after being contacted by MSNBC Senior Vice President of Communications Errol Cockfield Jr. asking him to explain the tweet. Seder replied to Cockfield in an email explaining the point being made in the tweet and the context in which he wrote it. Seder also provided other tweets supporting his claim.
The next day, on November 29, 2017, Seder received a voicemail from Cockfield indicating MSNBC's upper management was seriously considering cutting ties with him. Seder responded that MSNBC was making a mistake and that, "there's no story here." Seder further warned Cockfield that if they moved forward with the termination, "You guys are going to be the story." Seder also requested a formal termination email. Seder never received the email, leading him to believe that this employment status was still undecided.
On Sunday, December 3, 2017, Seder was notified by Jon Levine of TheWrap that they had been contacted by MSNBC who had decided to terminate Seder's contract and were about to break the story through their own publication. Seder immediately sent Cockfield an inquiry regarding his status. Cockfield, at first, did not have a status update but later confirmed MSNBC was, in fact, dropping Seder.
The next day, TheWrap announced that MSNBC had severed ties with Seder by not renewing his contract due to the controversial tweet. Seder defended the tweet by pointing out that, taken in context of the current events around the time he posted it, it was a satiric response to a petition urging Polanski's release from detention in Switzerland. An anonymous MSNBC source defended the termination, "It gives us pause when we see alt-right figures whipping up attention about our action but the reality is Seder made a rape joke." After news of the termination broke, Cernovich released a Twitter video celebrating his triumph.[N 1]
Seder noted that advertisers on The Majority Report with Sam Seder podcast were also being contacted and pressured by Cernovich and his team to cut ties with the show over the tweet. In response, Seder launched a GoFundMe campaign to help maintain funding for the show in the face of potential loss of advertising revenue. In an episode of the podcast titled, "I'm Under Attack By the Nazi Alt-Right", Seder said, "this smear involves the willful misinterpretation of a tweet that I posted in 2009" and that he will "never be ashamed of criticizing those who would excuse the predation of women or girls."
Seder revealed plans to use a portion of the GoFundMe proceeds to produce a three-minute video educating people on Cernovich's tactics. He surmised Cernovich's ploy had been retribution for his frequent criticism of Donald Trump as well as Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore who was accused of sexual assault.[N 2] Further, Seder chided MSNBC's decision to terminate his employment concluding, "I think they're afraid of those people."[N 3]
This was mind-bogglingly stupid, a real textbook case of how not to handle 'controversy' ... Seder was taking the side of abuse victims.
The news of Seder's dismissal sparked a backlash. Over 12,000 people signed a petition protesting Seder's termination, arguing that Cernovich had acted in malice and was deliberately mischaracterizing the tweet. AV Club wrote that "MSNBC has now fully bought into that smear campaign ... whose openly stated goal is the destruction of news outlets just like it through the use of blatantly manipulative trolling techniques. Mother Jones rebuked MSNBC for capitulating "to the demands of a lunatic conservative."[N 4] HuffPost chided that Cernovich was now MSNBC's new "De Facto Ombudsman." MSNBC primetime anchor Chris Hayes tweeted, "The entire culture and our politics are now dominated by people who have weaponized bad faith and shamelessness." Hayes tweeted several times against the decision by his own network, including: "Also, I reiterate my longstanding position that people shouldn't be fired for a tweet, *particularly* one that is obviously being read in manifestly bad faith." Actress and comedian Sarah Silverman also tweeted in support of Seder.[N 5]
There was considerable dissent within MSNBC over Seder's termination. Some employees expressed concerns that his firing would encourage other far-right personalities to launch similar smear campaigns. A senior MSNBC employee characterized the capitulation as "really weak" and "pathetic". MSNBC's management itself was unsettled by the celebratory reaction from the far-right. On December 7, 2017, MSNBC decided to reverse their decision to terminate Seder's employment. MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in a statement, "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. 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." In response, Seder issued a statement while accepting his job back:
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 ... 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.[N 6]
If you decide to let this guy be the arbiter of what is and is not appropriate, understand who he is.
—Sam Seder on Cernovich.
Columbia Journalism Review cited the incident as an example of a broader pattern of far-right media personalities using online smear campaigns to get mainstream journalists fired. Cernovich acknowledged that "some are saying Seder was making a joke or being sarcastic." However, he said he did not misrepresent the tweet, but merely "reported on what [Seder] said." Cernovich added that "[t]he left isn't going to stop going through our tweets so we aren't going to stop going through theirs. I wish we would get over people trying to find someone saying a naughty thing. I've been saying that for years. And nobody wants to listen. So fine, we will play by the same rules." Cernovich indicated this was meant to bring attention the double standard in the media and obvious lack of "diversity of viewpoint", stating: "EVERY media article has defended Sam Seder's right to make child rape 'jokes' that would get anyone else fired, but yeah there is no media narrative at all, and there's totally a diversity of viewpoint in the media. Yes, sure thing guys, we totally buy that." Cernovich also tweeted that he was thrilled MSNBC offered Seder his job back while promising to "bring Sam Seder's Tweet out every time the media goes after someone else for a Tweet. I'm thrilled MSNBC has made the decision that people shouldn't be fired over satirical tweets." Cernovich wrote on Twitter: "This rule will surely be applied equally to all sides, and if it's not, we will bring Sam Seder's Tweet out every time the media goes after someone else for a Tweet." Cernovich also claimed on Periscope that "[m]y wife is being stalked, and the media is encouraging this campaign of terror."
On April 27, 2018, Seder announced that the couple were separated.
|1997||Who's the Caboose?||Max|
|1998||Next Stop Wonderland||Kevin Monteiro|
|2004||Beacon Hill||Rafe Coulter|
|2017||Fits and Starts||Dressler|
|2022||The Bob's Burgers Movie||Hugo|
|1995||All-American Girl||Phil||Episode: "Young Americans"|
|1995||Party of Five||Greg||Episode: "Best Laid Plans"|
|1996||The Show||Tom Delaney||8 episodes|
|1996||Boys & Girls||David Waits||Television film|
|1997||The Big Fall||Gary Snider||Television film|
|1997||Spin City||George / Bogus Temp||2 episodes|
|1997||The Magic School Bus||Voice||Episode: "In the City"|
|1999||The Dick & Paula Celebrity Special||William Clark||Episode: "Merriweather Lewis and Curly Howard"|
|1999||Pulp Comics: Louis C.K.'s Filthy Stupid Talent Show||Seth the Jew||Television short|
|2000||Sex and the City||Lew||Episode: "Sex and Another City"|
|2002–2004||Home Movies||Fenton Mulley / Cho / Paula's Father||12 episodes|
|2004||Pilot Season||Max Rabin||2 episodes|
|2005||Wonder Showzen||Bug||Episode: "Patience"|
|2005–2007||Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil||Special Father #2 / The Senator||11 episodes|
|2006||O'Grady||Mr. Chip Hurley||Episode: "A Stronger O'Grady"|
|2006||Cheap Seats: Without Ron Parker||Sir Aglovale||Episode: "Unbelievable Sports 1"|
|2008||Assy McGee||Principal Jenkins / Douche||2 episodes; voice role|
|2011–2020||Bob's Burgers||Hugo / Harold / Al||32 episodes|
|2015||Maron||Sam Seder||Episode: "Patent Troll"|
|2017||The Good Fight||Vaughn Yenko||Episode: "Stoppable: Requiem for an Airdate"|
- "Thank you to everybody who emailed MSNBC," Cernovich said in a video he posted on Twitter. "Thank you to all of you. You're heroes. You're heroes because you emailed MSNBC and you let them know about the tweet. You let them know the people will be heard."
- Seder explained Cernovich's ploy thusly: "If they succeed in getting me fired or scaring my advertisers away, they will continue until they have silenced anyone who'd criticize Roy Moore, criticize President [Donald] Trump or criticize the conservative movement."
- "According to Seder, he and MSNBC management never had a serious discussion about the tweet, what it meant and whether it posed a problem for MSNBC social-media standards. "If there was any conversation about the tweet," says Seder, "it had nothing to do with substance. It was, 'This is blowing up.'" And from what Seder can tell, his position with the network didn't much concern the company's top managers. "I only spoke to the PR guy and they only fired me after there was an imminent story," says Seder. An MSNBC spokesman responds that the company requested Seder's written defense of his tweet, and then considered that defense in reaching its decision on the contract renewal. Seder's conclusion: "I think they're afraid of those people."
- Mother Jones wrote: "thanks to the demands of a lunatic conservative, they cut off Sam Seder for a single lame joke made on Twitter in 2009."
- Sarah Silverman's tweet: "Yo @msnbc ur gonna let Mr Pizzagate be ur moral compass?"
- Seder further elaborated on this statement in a phone interview with The New York Times: "I think [MSNBC] messed up, and I think they hopefully learned a lesson that you have to make an assessment on the substance. Media outlets in general have been very reluctant to do that, and I think it's become so much more important in this era, both because of technology and because of, frankly, the depravity of some elements of our society."
- Shanahan, Mark (August 23, 2006). "Failure is an option - Despite his best efforts to sabotage himself, Sam Seder is finding success on Air America". Boston.com.
- Williamson, Dianne. "Worcester Living: Worcester native and podcast host Sam Seder takes life with a laugh - and thanks". telegram.com.
- Steinberg, Jacques (March 31, 2004). "Liberal Voices (Some Sharp) Get New Home On Radio Dial". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 8, 2020.
- "Comment from Mark Green about Sam Seder". Airamerica.com. Archived from the original on March 27, 2009. Retrieved July 16, 2009.
- "Radio Online". News.radio-online.com. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved July 16, 2009.
- "Sam Seder on TYT Network (Why Air America Fell, Obama & Much More!)". YouTube.
- "The Majority Report with Sam Seder - Political Podcast & Radio Show". Breakroomlive.com. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
- Lowen, Cynthia (August 9, 2009). "Whatever Happened to Progressive Talk Radio? Did Air America Kiss it Good Bye?". AlterNet. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
- Stelter, Brian (January 21, 2010). "Air America, the Talk Radio Network, Will Go Off the Air". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 8, 2020.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 14, 2009. Retrieved November 17, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Will UK Panel Show 'Have I Got News for You' Work in the US?". Screenrant.com. November 14, 2012. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
- "Sam Seder joins Ring Of Fire". CBS Radio. January 5, 2011. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
- Kludt, Tom; Darcy, Oliver (December 5, 2017). "How a joke, and Mike Cernovich, got Sam Seder booted from MSNBC". CNNMoney. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
- O'Connor, Lydia (December 5, 2017). "MSNBC Gives In To Disingenuous Right-Wing Smear, Fires Sam Seder". Huffington Post. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
- "Sam Seder gets thrown out of the RNC 2004". March 8, 2007 – via YouTube.
- Wemple, Erik (December 5, 2017). "MSNBC is cutting ties with Sam Seder. 'I think they're afraid' of Mike Cernovich & Co., he says". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
- Cernovich, Mike (November 28, 2017). "MSNBC Contributor Sam Seder Endorses Polanki's Sex Crimes in Now Deleted Tweet". Medium. A Medium Corporation. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
- "MSNBC to Cut Ties With Sam Seder After Roman Polanski Rape Joke (Exclusive)". TheWrap. December 4, 2017. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
- Bromwich, Jonah Engel (December 7, 2017). "MSNBC Rehires Contributor Sam Seder: 'Sometimes You Just Get One Wrong'". The New York Times. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
- Kludt, Tom (December 7, 2017). "MSNBC decides to bring back Sam Seder after controversy". CNNMoney. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
- Grim, Ryan (December 7, 2017). "MSNBC Reverses Decision to Fire Contributor Sam Seder". The Intercept. First Look Media. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
- Salisbury, Drew (December 7, 2017). "MSNBC Rehires Sam Seder After Stupidly Firing Him for Satirical Tweet". Spin. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
- Lima, Christiano (December 7, 2017). "MSNBC reverses course on firing contributor Seder after backlash". Politico. Capitol News Company. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
- O'Neal, Sean. "MSNBC cuts ties with Sam Seder after giving in to "alt-right" smear campaign". The A.V. Club. Onion Inc. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
- "MSNBC cuts off Sam Seder over a single lame joke from eight years ago". Mother Jones. Foundation For National Progress. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
- Feinberg, Ashley (December 6, 2017). "This Is MSNBC's De Facto Ombudsman". Huffington Post. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
- Hayes, Chris (December 4, 2017). "Also, I reiterate my longstanding position that people shouldn't be fired for a tweet, *particularly* one that is obviously being read in manifestly bad faith". Retrieved December 5, 2017.
- "MSNBC Reverses Course on Contributor Sam Seder". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. December 7, 2017. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
- Vernon, Pete (December 5, 2017). "The media today: Trump's 'fake news' attacks have global impact". Columbia Journalism Review. Columbia University. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
- Cernovich, Mike [@Cernovich] (December 7, 2017). "I'm thrilled MSNBC has made the decision that people shouldn't be fired over satirical tweets. This rule will surely be applied equally to all sides, and if it's not, we will bring Sam Seder's Tweet out every time the media goes after someone else for a Tweet" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "MSNBC is Rehiring Contributor Sam Seder Days After Controversial Decision to Fire Him". December 7, 2017.
- "Mike Cernovich @Cernovich".
- Seder, Sam (March 7, 2013). "My son born at 5:36 AM today. Mommy & baby both healthy!". Twitter. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
- Seder, Sam (April 27, 2018). "I am separated from my wife". YouTube. Retrieved June 27, 2019.