In Depth: Talking Head Primetime Invades Daytime…
Ok, I’m supposed to be packing for Monterey right now but I just cannot ignore the above without commenting.
If you were presented the above clip and you were a seasoned viewer of cable news you would have naturally assumed that this sort of in your face back and forth ideological shoutfest was taken from one of the many cable news primetime programs. And you would be wrong. Dead wrong.
And that is what is so troubling about David Shuster’s ridiculous over the top “interview” of John Ziegler. I put “interview” in quotes because it was less an interview than it was an embarrassment for NBC News in general and MSNBC Dayside in particular. It was so wrong on so many levels it defies categorization.
NBC News from Jeff Zucker, to Steve Capus to Phil Griffin have said over and over and over again in defense of Keith Olbermann’s and Chris Matthews’ primetime shows that they’re supposed to be opinion; that the viewer understands there’s a difference between what transpires on NBC News and MSNBC News Dayside and what happens on MSNBC Primetime. Well today’s interview didn’t occur during primetime. It occurred during daytime, during MSNBC Dayside…you know the time of the day when it’s supposed to be about news and not opinion. The supposed line that Zucker, Capus, and Griffin have maintained exists between dayside and primetime was most certainly blurred today, if not outright trampled over. This was a massive mistake.
I wanted to give Shuster the benefit of the doubt. When I read about what happened before I saw the clip, I thought “Ok, maybe the interview started out okay and then spun wildly out of control…it was an accident…those things can happen”. But then I saw the interview and had to abandon that theory in short order. Shuster wasn’t interested in conducting a straight interview. It started when Shuster erected a straw man argument regarding the term “assassinated” and went downhill fast from there. And this sentence says a lot about Shuster’s agenda.
Right, as opposed to the agenda of people like you, to boost Sarah Palin, who is clearly unqualified. Most Americans, 65%, say she’s unqualified. You and your colleagues are trying to circle back and get her ready for 2012.
Put anyone else from MSNBC Dayside on instead of Shuster and this interview doesn’t explode like a keg of nitro. Shuster has a documented history of going over the line. Hell, he got suspended for it last year.
This isn’t about Ziegler. It isn’t even about Palin. Anyone who reads ICN knows I thought she was a cynical choice for VP and not qualified. No, this is about shoot from this hip opinion masquerading as journalism. And it’s not just Shuster who has done this recently. Everyone from Megyn Kelly to Julie Banderas to Campbell Brown has allowed themselves to turn what was supposed to be a journalistic interview into nothing more than the same old talking head shoutfest that we get in primetime.
Dayside news is supposed to be for people who want news. If we want opinion we watch primetime. That’s the way it’s been. Increasingly that’s not the way it’s going. And it should stop.