Anonymous Specious Ranting…

FishbowlDC has a new feature called Anonymous Ranting. The debut installment features an “Administration Official” carping on MSNBC

I have a job that requires me to have cable news on throughout the course of the day. Sadly, this has made me, and the rest of the country, dumber. Much, much dumber. My specific beef is with MSNBC. Right now, the network is trying to rebrand itself with the catch phrase “lean forward.” But the drivel they offer up is ramming the country backward. This morning, I have been fed a steady stream of “news” about Bristol Palin’s performance on “Dancing with the Stars,” a car chase in Miami, and the fact that People Magazine thinks actor Ryan Reynolds is the sexiest man alive.

The kicker? Prince William, of England, is engaged to his girlfriend. MSNBC even dedicated a segment to the ring he gave to his wife-to-be. My question: Who cares? Who really fricking cares?! What happened to the world of real news? About things that matter? Where’s the coverage of Iraq, Afghanistan, unemployment, the economy? Where are the stories about revolutionizing health care, innovating our energy sector, or improving our foreign policy?

To be somewhat fair, in between breaking coverage about what Britney is wearing and when Lindsay going back to prison, MSNBC gives its viewers snippets of actual relevant information about things that affect their lives, like taxes, the deficit, and Congress.

But the network – all cable networks – are woefully lacking in this department. Contessa, Chris, Tamron, I have a simple request. You work for a news outlet. Please, from someone that cares about the news, give us more of it.

Whoever this was, they are painting MSNBC with a very broad brush, almost to the point of being disingenuous. The amount of pure tabloidism the network has been covering is nowhere near as bad as it was last year or years past. To toss in such BS points as what Brittney’s wearing, something MSNBC is not covering and has never really covered, and to use that as part of their argument instead undermines said argument by revealing that the complainant has a very jaundiced view of MSNBC and doesn’t care about accuracy in their points.

This anonymous hack, and I chose that word deliberately because a lot of what they’re spouting comes straight out of Hack 101, makes a point of noting the engagement of Prince William as a textbook example. That is a revealing piece of information on two counts. 1) It shows this got penned either yesterday or today. 2) It shows that the author decided to completely ignore the fact that Chris Jansing took her show to Washington D.C. yesterday and today precisely to cover what’s going on in politics and Congress this week, something the author would consider as real news that matters (and has said they want more of). Again, the author betrays his own argument, this time by cherry picking what to highlight while ignoring very relevant information which totally undermines their case. Another not at all insignificant point to be pondered here is that author makes a plea for more stories for “innovating our energy sector” while totally ignoring what’s going on with Morning Joe this week.

Anyone who’s followed this blog over the years knows how I feel about news networks pandering to tabloidism. My record on this subject has been consistent. So this is my “Nixon goes to China” moment. The issue isn’t covering or not covering tabloid type stories but doing so proportionally. And as one who follows cable news, apparently more closely than the author of this bogus rant, I can state categorically that there’s nothing currently out of whack with MSNBC’s coverage of tabloid stories. It’s not any worse or any better than what CNN or FNC does on a daily basis. Singling out MSNBC on this score is totally off the mark.

Lastly, the author lays this all at the feet of the anchors, as if they alone decide what stories are selected. Such thinking couldn’t be any further from the truth. This isn’t Countdown, or Maddow, or The Last Word where the host has a significant input into what stories get covered. This is dayside news where events dictate what gets covered.

It would be another matter if some hot tabloid story started pushing everything else to the sidelines over a protracted period of time; such as what happened last year to CNN when Michael Jackson died and the network badly pandered to the subject. Then the author’s rant would hold more credibility. But that’s not what’s happening right now and the author of this undeserved attack, someone who says they have to watch the networks on a daily basis but clearly is doing so with blinders on, has no real basis to complain.

Unfortunately at some point next year when Prince William does get married, that story will push everything else to the sidelines. At that point the author of this post really will have a basis to complain and I’ll be there alongside complaining with him.


16 Responses to “Anonymous Specious Ranting…”

  1. Why is this “Obama administration official” basing his opinion on MSNBC because of what’s shown in the morning/afternoon? How about all the shows in the evening/prime time?

  2. This moron also managed to single out a single morning that happened to be a little top-heavy with this stuff. And he/she can pretend that they don’t care about tabloid news, but they have successfully remembered only those parts of this morning’s content for the purposes of this rant.

    I got sick of Prince William and “don’t touch my junk” a minute after they started, and because it gets on my nerves, it seems like it’s on constantly. Yeah, they’re playing that stuff into the ground, but it’s not the only thing on.

  3. The writer did over do a valid point. I don’t mind some cheeply acquired video about non-subjects, but, when it dominates, it is a slow news day because they didn’t want to spend the money to have someone go out and check on a relivant subject, ie. war, economy, jobs, climate changs, etc.
    One car chase every six months is more than plenty. Leave the sex issues on line – not on the tube. Weddings are fine, once or twice in a day, not every hour.
    Most junk “news” should be left to the lower scroll and not in the conversation. I would allow some subjects to come up front, if and when they know something! That LA “rocket” bit just never became more than a “so what”.
    In defense of MSNBC, and all others, when you don’t have anything to say, junk is better than silence.
    I should also qualify all of this with the belief that if a spokesperson really likes a topic, regardless of my viewpoint, they should be free to “go for it”, just don’t expect me to follow (unless, of course, if Chris Jansing wants to dabble in some silliness).

  4. Anyone who’s worked in an office that has on cable news all day is THRILLED when there’s a car chase..

    I don’t know, this is kind of silly. It’s not dumbing America down. It’s just daytime cable news. Not that many people are watching.

  5. Whoever came up with this new feature for FBDC should probably apologize for such a horrible idea. It kinda sounds like a cool idea until the anonymous ranting begins. Then it’s just stupid and pointless.

  6. “In defense of MSNBC, and all others, when you don’t have anything to say, junk is better than silence.”

    Why not do something really original – news. The death toll from cholera in Haiti reached 1000 this week and is likely to go much higher. How about a story on that.

  7. fritz, You are so spot on! Makes one wonder it the people just get tired of the news and want to “play”.
    It is really telling that some business offices can get “thrilled” about a car chase. Around here, about the only thing that can break consentration, at an office, is our occasional visit by a tornado.

  8. Sounds like someone’s been OD’ing on The Newshour with Jim Lehrer and forgot what cable-news is really like.

  9. -Stupid & pointless-

    That was my take on it, too.

    -Cholera in Haiti-

    CNN & FNC had reports on that. I’m sure MSNBC did, too.

  10. Actually, I get my wisdom from fritz, joe and jwe. Am I in trouble or what!

  11. Sounds like someone’s been OD’ing on The Newshour with Jim Lehrer

    Oh my Lord, I watched that for about 20 minutes last week. You want “real news”? Be careful what you ask for..

  12. joe, Yes, you have a point. No warmth if all we get is ice cold news. Maybe they just need to be more selective in the junk that the pull out of the trashcan. Go for durable goods and leave the stinking fish alone.

  13. Or, they could do what Sen. Rockefeller said today in hearings. He wants the FCC to shut down Fox and MSNBC and bring back civility so he can get stuff done.

    An amazing recording:

  14. Rockefeller needs to learn what the FCC controls. Pay cable aint it.

  15. ^ I don’t know which is more disturbing. The fact that he apparently doesn’t understand basic media laws, or the fact that he’s trying to stifle free speech.

    Dumb dumb dumb!

  16. Let’s not deceive ourselves…Rockerfeller is not one of the smartest politicians in the Senate. Too often he speaks before he thinks.

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