Archive for the MSNBC Category

Stephanie Ruhle to MSNBC…

Posted in MSNBC on April 12, 2016 by icn2

The New York Post’s Kevin Dugan scoops that Bloomberg TV’s Stephanie Ruhle is jumping to MSNBC…

MSNBC has brought in a new face as part of its hard news overhaul.

The cable news outfit scooped up Bloomberg TV morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle, who will appear for an hour during its MSNBC Live daytime coverage, The Post has learned.

NBC News chief Andy Lack is moving MSNBC, which ranks last among the major news networks in the ratings, away from left-leaning political shows. Ruhle is the first anchor Lack has hired from outside under this hard news strategy.

Starting in May, she will anchor for about an hour during MSNBC’s 9 a.m.-to-5 p.m. market news show, a source said. A network spokeswoman declined to comment.

This is surprising news, mostly because I’m having trouble figuring out where in MSNBC’s lineup Ruhle would land. On the surface it would appear MSNBC didn’t have a slot it needed filling…at least not based on what the schedule looked like prior to the network going to “The Place For Politics 2016” schedule which saw a whole bunch of anchors appear on MSNBC’s air who weren’t there before. It seems that the old schedule before the politics programming shift is not going to be used going forward…at least not without modifications.

Chris Jansing gets “Trumped”…

Posted in MSNBC on April 5, 2016 by icn2

Today, Chris Jansing caught Donald Trump live at an event for a few questions which the Trumpster didn’t care for too much apparently…though apparently not enough to head to Twitter to complain about. Talking Points Memo’s Caitlin Cruz writes about the exchange

Jansing then asked if Trump was concerned about the fact his staff was unaware that popular Wisconsin conservative radio host Charlie Sykes was against Trump’s candidacy, setting the candidate up for a brutal interview last week.

“You go into the enemy camp sometimes. He is not a very smart guy, not a very bright guy,” Trump said, adding that his supporters told him he won “the debate” with Sykes.

“Sometimes you go into unfriendly territory. That’s part of the game,” he added.

Is Wisconsin unfriendly territory, Jansing asked?

“No, you said about a radio talk show host,” Trump said.

Jansing pressed him as to whether only Sykes was unfriendly territory.

“That’s what I mean about the dishonest media,” Trump said.

Jansing replied, “I’m asking you a question, allowing you to answer it.”

“Excuse me, Excuse me, excuse me!” Trump said. “You’re asking me about a show host and I said he was unfriendly territory. Then you say is that Wisconsin.”

Jansing reminded Trump that he’d criticized Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) in an earlier part of their interview, but Trump wasn’t having it.

“It’s so dishonest,” he said. “No, no, that’s called—you know what’s that’s called, dishonest media, dishonest reporting. I think I’m going to do great.”

Out Of Range…

Posted in MSNBC on March 21, 2016 by icn2

Mediaite’s Joe Concha pens an article about picking three talents from the big three cable news networks who are underrated based on their range…

Compliments are a dying sentiment in the online writing business… a craft increasingly built on snark and cynicism. It just ain’t cool to offer praise when a biting remark or well-crafted kidney punch generally gets more applause and attention. But let’s buck conformity and offer up some kudos to those who don’t get nearly enough credit for possessing an attribute you cannot teach:


Right off the bat, the inclusion of Anderson Cooper is a head scratcher for me on two counts: 1) Because he’s CNN’s flagship anchor and therefore not underrated by any reasonable definition of the term. 2) His range is well known and has been well known for nearly a decade now. I was writing about it nine years ago. Add 1 and 2 and you get “What is this doing here?”

The problem with using the range barometer when applied to CNN is that CNN spreads most of its non-specialist people (e.g. people who aren’t Bureau Chiefs, Military reporters, etc) everywhere. Therefore they are constantly being thrust into new territory so by default the average range of a CNN talent is going to be wide. Cooper, Lemon, Tapper, Burnett, Cuomo, Baldwin, Camerota, Berman…when everyone is allowed to have wide range, it’s harder to find people who are flying under the radar.

BTW, this is not necessarily a plus. When most people are capable of doing anything, nobody stands out. Worse, it creates for some bizarre branding issues. Not that I’m deliberately singling anyone out here, but, using a media reporter to cover a snow storm, for example. Or a weatherman to talk about astronomy stuff.

Concha senses his pick might be a reach to some (uh, yeah…)

An argument can be made that the 48-year-old Cooper doesn’t belong on this list since his lucrative contract (reportedly $11 million/year) shows he’s not undervalued by his own network. But money is one thing, recognition is quite another, and Cooper doesn’t seem to get enough of it.

I gotta call B.S. on this too. He may not be getting the publicity today he used to get under Jonathan Klein’s regime (especially that alleged massive Marketing Campaign) but that’s beside the point because he got enough 10 years ago and his presence has been everywhere that there is no credible way that you can argue that Cooper’s versatility is being low balled. At this point it’s so self-evident it practically doesn’t need mentioning.

Concha goes on to define his version of “Range”…

How is range defined here as it pertains to cable news? Quite simply, it is someone who can wear the performance hat of an anchor (traditional news delivery, no editorial) and host (some traditional news delivery, some editorial, more personality-based)… and can seamlessly adjust to any kind of format or time of day/night. Most importantly, they can execute all of this on a high level. They’re the Swiss army knives of television…

I’d say that’s a fair definition though I do have a bone to pick with Concha stealing my shtick

Watching NBC News’ “Swiss Army Knife” @ChrisJansing anchor MSNBC’s coverage with @HarrySmith…
– 6:23 PM – 15 Nov 2015

Ok, not really. It’s not like I trademarked it or anything…

Anyway, I already discussed Cooper being not at all suited for this classification but I found myself scratching my head at Dana Bash making the honorable mentions list. Whaaaaat? Since when has Bash done anything outside of politics for any significant length of time? Range? What range?

The other two choices Concha made were Shannon Bream from FNC and Steve Kornacki of MSNBC.

I like Bream. I agree with Concha that she makes for a great “utility player”. Where I disagree is regarding range; not whether she has it or not but whether it’s been shown.

As I’ll show later with Kornacki, Concha gets a little too specific about what he keys in on for range here, compared to his original definition for the term. Sure, Bream has hosted and filled in on lots of different shows on various hours of the day…but given the network she’s on and its very narrow focus (compared to say CNN on a regular non-politics dominated day)…it by default will restrict her range in what she covers and how she covers it. Bream may indeed have the range Concha suggests she has but FNC’s format rigidity isn’t going to let her display it.

Concha’s Honorable Mentions to Bream were Martha McCallum and Dana Perino. I would argue that McCallum has a greater demonstrated range than Bream simply based on what she’s done on CNBC and FNC combined. But Perino? Whaaaaaaat? Putting a pundit on the range list? Someone who is never going to be known as a general news anchor? What kind of range is that exactly?

My candidate would be…Megyn Kelly. This sounds counterintuitive since she’s such a star. But she’s a star who is known mostly for being tough as nails…

…and also for being Donald Trump’s arch nemesis.

Unlike Anderson Cooper though, Kelly hasn’t had a big multi-million dolllar PR push over a couple of years to establish herself as that “can use anywhere” talent. For the longest time…in fact for too long…the PR push around Kelly was that she was the “rising star”. This meme went on for so long that I started openly mocking it because it was patently obvious to me by that point that she was no longer a rising star but was in fact a superstar.

But anyone can see that she is that utility player swiss army knife type. It just hasn’t shown up much on FNC as it could have (and like with Bream I fault the network’s format as holding Kelly back). This is why it’s such a big deal that Kelly gets her Barbara Wa-wa celeb interview special on Fox Broadcast (Note: I’m sure it will re-air on FNC too…and FBN…but Fox Broadcast is the real prize). This will finally show the world what most of us had suspected. But until then Kelly gets my nod as the one on FNC with the most underrated range.

Like with Bream, when it comes time talk about Kornacki, Concha gets very hung up on one part of his range definition while ignoring deficiencies in other key parts of that definition. For Kornacki, Concha is mesmerized by his ability to pop up all over MSNBC’s schedule. Well, ok…it’s fair to note that. He’s Phil Griffin’s Flavor of the Month right now, just like Thomas Roberts was Phil’s Flavor of the Month a couple years ago and was popping up all over the place. Eventually Kornacki will be eclipsed by Phil’s next Flavor of the Month…provided Phil is still around that is.

But what about the rest of that range definition? What about being known for something other than Politics?

Look, Kornacki is a politics wonk, just like Chuck Todd is a politics wonk. He’s a natural like Tim Russert. He’s not a trainee who acclimated himself to it like David Gregory. That much is clear when you watch him. Politics is in his blood.

But you aren’t going to get Swiss Army Knife consideration if people think you have nothing but corkscrews. And though Concha goes on to detail all the media names Kornacki has written for that’s a completely useless stat because it has nothing whatsoever to do with what he does on MSNBC’s air.

None of this is to say that Kornacki doesn’t have the potential to expand his reach and be a younger version of Jake Tapper. But it hasn’t been demonstrated so far with how MSNBC has used him. So I just do not agree that Kornacki’s range is anywhere near what Concha makes it out to be. There’s just no proof of it on TV. Yet.

In my opinion both of Concha’s Honorable Mentions, Willie Geist and Chris Jansing, have greater demonstrative range than Kornacki. But if it’s going to be a throwdown between those two that fight is over before it starts. Geist hasn’t toiled in the shadows as long, hasn’t covered the death of a Pope, hasn’t covered a volcano erupting, hasn’t covered a Nuclear meltdown scenario on location, hasn’t covered every election since 1980, wasn’t on the air for 9/11, wasn’t a White House correspondent, didn’t interview OJ Simpson live, didn’t go on the road for 9 months in 2004 to cover the election from primaries to the general, etc, etc, etc…

Even if I didn’t have an acknowledged bias towards Chris Jansing, it’s patently obvious that she’s MSNBC’s most underrated talent with the greatest range for the simple reason that she’s done so much for so long and hardly anyone has said anything about it.

MSNBC Editorial Changes…

Posted in MSNBC on March 16, 2016 by icn2

The LA Times’ Stephen Battaglio scooped that Janelle Rodriguez will assume VP of Editorial duties at MSNBC dayside in addition to a similar role she has at NBC News…

In a staff memo obtained Tuesday night by The Times, MSNBC President Phil Griffin said, “Janelle has been partnering with the dayside team since January and has been essential to guiding the intense political coverage by both NBC News and MSNBC over the past few months.” With the new assignment, Rodriguez will report to Griffin in addition to NBC News President Deborah Turness.

Rodriguez had been vice president in charge of programming at CNN before she arrived at NBC News.

NBC vs Dish Network…

Posted in CNBC, MSNBC on March 15, 2016 by icn2

Welll…it’s been a while since we had someone threatening to black out someone. This time its NBC and Dish Network. The LA Times’ Yvonne Villareal has more

Dish Network subscribers who want to tune in to NBC’s “The Carmichael Show” or the breakout hit “Little Big Shots” might be out of luck this weekend.

A blackout of NBC-owned TV stations and some of NBC Universal’s cable channels is on the horizon for millions of Dish subscribers Sunday if the two companies fail to ink a new carriage contract.

NBC on Monday launched a broad-based messaging campaign to inform the public that Dish could drop its portfolio of networks. The campaign features a website where Dish subscribers can learn more about the dispute, as well as TV commercials, social media alerts, radio spots and text crawls at the bottom of the TV screen that will run during network programming.

Affected channels would include MSNBC and CNBC. I saw an ad on MSNBC this morning telling viewers to call in to Dish and complain. Like that ever works…

MHP vs Phil Griffin: Dirty Laundry…

Posted in MSNBC on March 3, 2016 by icn2

The New York Times’ John Koblin has reaction from both sides…and some dirty laundry…

She contrasted that with a scene from a few weeks ago shortly before the South Carolina primary. She said she was watching the network as Kate Snow, Steve Kornacki and Ari Melber had a lengthy discussion about black voters in South Carolina. She was sitting in the building, ready to go on the air if she was needed. She said that Ms. Miley emailed producers to remind them that both Joy Reid and Ms. Harris-Perry were ready to appear on the air. They never heard anything.

“It was jaw-dropping, given that someone who wrote two books about the black vote was in the building,” said Ms. Harris-Perry, who is also a professor at Wake Forest University.

“I don’t have the words,” she continued. “It didn’t make me feel proud to work there.”

Ms. Miley confirmed that she sent email to producers that day, but said the fact that Ms. Harris-Perry did not go on the air was nothing more than the “ebbs and flows” of cable news, she said.

“I don’t think it was a purposeful intention to silence or not include her in the conversation,” she said.

More MHP…

Posted in MSNBC on February 29, 2016 by icn2

The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple pays a tribute of sorts to Melissa Harris-Perry…

“Nerdland” was an appropriate descriptor for the programming that the host put forward each weekend. If the face-offs between Democratic presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton raised questions about the meaning of progressivism and capitalism, Harris-Perry and a slew of very smart guests were going to explore each one. If the water crisis in Flint, Mich., raised questions about race and U.S. infrastructure, likewise. If the San Bernardino massacre raised questions about the approriateness of prayer in public life, likewise. If the makeup of Stephen Colbert’s staff at CBS’s “Late Show” raises questions about race and comedy in the United States, likewise.

Here was a show addicted to substance. The notion, too, that “MHP” had to be preempted to cover the 2016 presidential race is a touch silly considering that the show did plenty such work, though perhaps not in the “polls-polls-polls!” spirit of the Fox News-CNN-MSNBC axis.

And there’s this…

To finish with an apology: This blog has covered Harris-Perry primarily by highlighting her show’s less glorious moments, which is an unfortunate tendency in this media-criticism racket. Herewith a resolution to highlight the good stuff now and then.


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