Shooting Fish In a Barrel…
Ring of Fire is trying to organize a response to MSNBC’s pulling the plug on its 3-5 block (and other past “anti-progressive” transgressions)
The following loyal (or should we say former loyal) viewer of MSNBC sent the below email to Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC, expressing her disappointment with the demise of a once powerful Progressive voice in the media.
(snipping off emailer’s name)
VERY IMPORTANT: We hope our ROF audience will send their thoughts to Mr. Griffin at Phil.firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send us a copy of your email to email@example.com and we will post on our web site.
I’m going to now quote from this email because it’s just too good to pass up.
Note to Progressives who will no doubt take offense: I do this not because I care whether MSNBC tilts Progressive, Conservative, Libertarian, or Bull Moose (Google it). I do this because if you want to succeed at this you need to make a convincing argument. This qualifies as a swing and a miss at worst, a foul tip at best.
Dear Mr. Griffin,
When MSNBC was created, I had such high hopes for a new type of media, one that would be progressive and allow talk show hosts to express their opinions without having boundaries. The progressive audience had some of the best of progressive media: Keith Olbermann, Martin Bashir, Karen Finley, Joy Reid, Ronan Farrow, Alex Wagner and Ed Schultz.
When MSNBC was created it was a straight news channel. When MSNBC was created none of the people mentioned were considered part of progressive media. When MSNBC was created there wasn’t any kind of “progressive audience” as far as cable news was concerned. IF you’re going to make an argument make sure you’ve got your facts straight. And if you like your progressive voices so much you should know how to spell their names. It’s F-I-N-N-E-Y.
The letter writer then goes on to detail their feeling about the loss of Ed Schultz. I won’t argue this point much. I’ve already said Schultz carved out a niche no one else touched in cable news. Had the writer just stuck to this instead of venturing into territory they didn’t fully comprehend the specifics of, this letter would have resonated much stronger than it now will. However the first paragraph and what follows below undermine all that.
Mr. Griffin, you started a new kind of television. I kept hearing that MSNBC had low ratings but how could this be and who was being polled?
Uh…a random sampling of people. Progressives, Non-progressives, independents, conservatives, anyone. That’s the point of ratings. They measure everyone. If they only measured one subset, they aren’t very useful to advertisers who want to reach the broadest audience possible.
After all, you covered the Presidential Correspondents Dinner. You were the only channel that got this honor.
Wrong. All the cable channels did. Never put arguments into your appeal which are demonstrably false.
MSNBC covered the debates.
So did the other channels (when allowed to. Some debates are exclusive to certain channels, especially in the primaries).
It was the only channel I watched. In fact, since it was created, it has been my go to channel. When people ask what I watch, I tell them I’m an MSNBC addict.
Ok. But you and people like you aren’t enough. That’s why MSNBC’s ratings fell. Not enough people besides the “true believers” watched. It’s a nice appeal but it’s from a point of weakness. And MSNBC executives know it.
I love Al Sharpton, Chris Matthews, Chris Hayes, Rachel and Lawrence O’Donnell. Now what, Mr. Griffin? Will their voices be silenced too? Will MSNBC become another CNN?
No. Even if it wanted to, it couldn’t. It doesn’t have the resources. And NBC doesn’t want to give MSNBC that level of resources because it doesn’t see the money in it.
P.S. Please take “Lockup” off!!! It is a insult to a very intelligent audience. What is the point of this show? You could use this time to educate your viewers similar to what “Vice” does. Show documentaries. Put on something that makes us think.
On this point, the writer and I are in lockstep agreement. But that’s not going to change.