Qualifications? What Qualifications?

Alexa Kravitz writes in The American Journalism Review about non-journalists vs. journalists with a decidedly MSNBC centric focus. Kravitz throws Phil Griffin’s own words back at him and interviews Eric Deggans, Gail Shister, Marvin Kalb, David Zurawik, and David Folkenflik. The mere fact that someone actually bothered to make the rounds of media writers/pundits, so to speak, to get a wide take on the subject qualifies this for must read status. Here’s my favorite part…

Some say since the cable shoutfests are so different from actual journalism, there’s no problem if non-journalists preside over them. Veteran broadcast journalist Ed Fouhy isn’t buying it.

“I don’t agree with the premise that viewers know that these are entertainment shows,” he says.

Zurawik agrees. “No, people don’t know that these are opinion shows during prime time,” he says. “And one of the reasons they don’t is because cable executives are lying their butts off and putting out ads trying to present these people as journalists. There isn’t a clear line between the two.”

Folkenflik says that the lack of clarity is unintentional. “They’re not trying to fool you into who’s doing what. I think they are being up front about it. But it’s not always clear to the public that there’s a difference.”

The problem for MSNBC is the blurred distinction between opinion shows and news programming. You see opinion hosts anchoring some political coverage on major campaign nights. In the 2008 election, for example, the definitively liberal Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews were put on to co-anchor the network’s news coverage.

Kravitz is on the right path but misses the elephant in the room…the subjugation of dayside straight news on MSNBC to political back and forth and POV programming, something no other cable news network has dared contemplate undertaking to this degree.

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7 Responses to “Qualifications? What Qualifications?”

  1. “No, people don’t know that these are opinion shows during prime time.”

    What an idiot. Most people are quite capable of discerning the difference between headlines and opinions.

  2. I don’t like that he called Greta a non-journalist in the same way as Sean Hannity. She is more of a Piers Morgan than a partisan/ideological host like Hannity.

  3. lonestar77 Says:

    At least we finally know what “Faux News” means.

  4. At least keep in mind MSNBC at any given time has no more than a million viewers. Most are Progessives, Liberals, Lefties, Socialists, and a handfull of Progressive-Libertarians from the Planet Twiloe looking for a back rub and self-affirmation. Doesn’t really matter what they have on as long as it sells enough dogfood to pay the bills and keep Obama happy.

  5. Mmm, back rubs.

  6. I agree that Greta isn’t the same sort of non-journo as is Hannity but she still hosts a non-hard news programme and the line blurs every time she utters the phrase, “This is a Fox News Alert.” While it doesn’t mean “special ‘breaking news’ bulletin”, they clearly want viewers to think it does and I bet most do.

    They all blur the line and not just MSNBC.

  7. msnbc blurs the line so much the line is pretty much a thin pencil line

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