Archive for the MSNBC Category

Strawman 101…

Posted in MSNBC on November 16, 2016 by icn2

Mediaite’s Lindsey Ellefson pens a nonsensical article about MSNBC and what it needs to do…

MSNBC seems to constantly be in the midst of an overhaul. Earlier this summer, the network was proclaiming that their days as a bastion of liberal commentary were o-v-e-r, just like they were last winter, for instance, although it didn’t really seem like they ended up reining in Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, Joy Reid, and the rest of the gang either time. In the wake of the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, though, it’s time to start asking whether MSNBC should be trying to rein them in.

This is either a complete lack of understanding by Ellefson about what MSNBC has been up to or a complete Strawman argument. Or both.

First, MSNBC never ever proclaimed that their days as a bastion of liberal commentary are “o-v-e-r”. What it did do, once Andrew Lack came back, was say it was going to fix dayside and bring it back more under the news and analysis format and away from the unabashed liberal opinion format. But that’s only part of MSNBC’s schedule and that leads me to my second point which Ellefson gets wrong; there was never ever any intent of reining in Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, Chris Matthews, and Lawrence O’Donnell. Including Joy Reid in the list of the “spared” is wrong on two counts. First, she wasn’t part of prime and not central to MSNBC’s plans. Second her dayside show didn’t get spared, it got cancelled. Furthermore, if not for the Melissa Harris-Perry fiasco, Reid probably still would not have a show.

The one point Ellefson gets right is her first one. MSNBC always seems to be in the midst of an overhaul. It’s seems to have been like that since Phil Griffin took over 9 years ago.

Ellefson spends the rest of her article making a plaintive appeal for more liberal programming on MSNBC…

Where else can people look for liberal viewpoints on traditional television? Since Jon Stewart abdicated the throne at The Daily Show, the nightly broadcast that he made famous has failed to live up to the expectations his fiery legacy left behind. Sure, Bill Maher and John Oliver help out when they can on Real Time and Last Week Tonight respectively, but not everyone has HBO and to be clear, once-weekly shows are not enough to even out the selection of political opinions.

Look at the two main competitors of MSNBC, Fox News and CNN. Whether some people want to admit it or not, CNN is remarkably centered, and at the least, tries very hard to be. For every liberal commentator, there is a conservative. The shows tend to be hosted by actual journalists and anchors, not partisan pundits. Jake Tapper values journalistic neutrality so much that he does not vote and Anderson Cooper is seen as the industry standard for what “unbiased” is supposed to look like. On the other side of the spectrum sits Fox News, which is undeniably a hotbed for right leaning thought leaders. Fox News has a right to be that hotbed. In fact, it has as much of an obligation to its viewers to hold down the right side of the airwaves as MSNBC has to hold down the left. Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity make it clear that they are not journalists and we cannot begrudge them their right to share their thoughts.

There are a few inconvenient facts here which Ellefson pretty much ignores.

First, MSNBC is under no obligation to hold down any end of the political spectrum. What it is obligated to do is produce compelling programming that viewers tune in to and which generates a profit. That’s its only obligation and its not an obligation to its viewers but to the shareholders of Comcast. Whatever works.

Second, MSNBC has already tried to expand liberal P.O.V analysis dayside programming under Phil Griffin. Not once, but twice. Both times MSNBC’s ratings crashed outside of prime time and both times the network retreated to a more news format.

Third, other than Maddow, MSNBC’s prime time has been a weak sister in the ratings since Olbermann left (if you factor out the 2016 election juiced numbers). Chris Hayes still has not established himself as deserving of holding down the 8pm timeslot. O’Donnell has done okay for his timeslot but hasn’t moved the needle enough. Even Maddow’s numbers are off now that Olbermann isn’t there to lead in to her.

What this says is that liberal POV programming in primetime may still be the way to go for the network but some of the faces of that prime time may need to change if the network wants to make a long term push to draw in more viewers.

CNN vs. Morning Joe…

Posted in CNN, MSNBC on October 20, 2016 by icn2

In the latest in a long running battle, CNN’s Dylan Byers takes aim at Morning Joe yet again for the “favorable” coverage it gave Donald Trump…

Scarborough provided several pieces of evidence to back up the claim that they had been tough on Trump, including that, “I said from the beginning I would never vote for him, I said I was voting for Jeb Bush then I said I was voting for John Kasich” and that in early December 2015 he and Brzezinski had compared Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims to Germany in 1933.

Those limited examples are a fig leaf for the months of positive coverage and support that Scarborough and Brzezinski gave to Trump in the period of time Kristol was referring to: late 2015 and early 2016.

As CNNMoney and others have documented, Scarborough and Brzezinski — who visited privately with Trump on multiple occasions during the primaries — were overwhelmingly supportive of the Republican candidate during that time, consistently praising his unconventional campaign and defending him from his critics.

Scarborough, especially, spoke about Trump in glowing terms, praising him as “a masterful politician.” The Washington Post wrote that Trump had received “a tremendous degree of warmth from the show,” and that his appearances on the show, in person and over the phone, often feel like “a cozy social club.”

In February, several NBC News and MSNBC journalists, reporters and staffers told CNNMoney there was widespread discomfort at the network over Scarborough’s friendship with Trump and his increasingly favorable coverage of the candidate.

There’s a reason why this charge can still be hurled at Morning Joe…just as it could be hurled at Fox and Friends…just as it could be repeatedly hurled at CNN itself…

There’s more than enough available evidence to back up the idea that the media became obsessed with Trump that it lost its perspective for much of the primary season and into the summer. While I rarely agree with the usually wrong Bill Kristol, he’s right here; any attempt to say that Morning Joe was tough on Trump in late 2015 and early 2016 is essentially an inaccurate characterization of history.

Not that Byers should be the one squawking here. CNN’s hands are much more dirty than Morning Joe’s when it comes to their coverage of Trump. Byers knows this, of course…yet he throws darts at Morning Joe anyways. Lame…

No, It’s Not Settled Andy…

Posted in MSNBC on September 28, 2016 by icn2

The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple gets NBC News Topper Andrew Lack to comment, tangentially, on the Brian Williams fiasco…

The shyness has shielded Williams from having to confront again his scandal of 2015. NBC News suspended him for six months after learning about a series of exaggerations/embellishments/lies concerning his past as a reporter — a tour of shame with stopovers in Iraq, the Berlin Wall, Israel and elsewhere. As he prepared to return to work as a breaking news anchor on MSNBC, Williams sat for an interview with NBC News’s Matt Lauer, but he did not individually address all the episodes on his besmirched record. “I would like to take this opportunity to say that what has happened in the past has been identified and torn apart by me and has been fixed, has been dealt with,” said Williams, who lost his job as anchor of “NBC Nightly News.”

Monday, Lack sounded a note of accord. When asked whether Williams had left behind some unfinished business in that Lauer interview, Lack responded, “Ancient history to me.”

Not to me and not to a lot of other people and NBC can blame itself for our prolonged interest. It chose to bury the story rather than do what CBS did with the Thornburgh report which did a complete and very public number on Rathergate. The Lauer interview only compounded things.

We have not had closure. NBC ensured we did not get closure. So Andrew Lack can try and gloss it over…just as Rachel Maddow tried to gloss it over but for us it’s always going to be an issue until we understand what exactly happened and why.

Expanded Role For MSNBC’s Williams?

Posted in MSNBC on August 15, 2016 by icn2

CNN’s Brian Stelter writes that MSNBC is looking to give Brian Williams the 11pm hour through the election so that the network can talk about this year’s most under reported subject… (via J$)

According to the plan, Williams will anchor a special 11 p.m. program wrapping up the day’s campaign news, the sources said.

The plan is subject to change until the scheduling move is officially announced. But the Williams program has been under consideration for weeks inside MSNBC.

MSNBC GOP Convention Coverage Plans…

Posted in MSNBC on July 13, 2016 by icn2

The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Julie Washington, who appears to need to brush up on the currency of her Chris Jansing bio knowledge, has details of MSNBC’s convention coverage plans…

The Republican National Convention will be a homecoming for former WJW Channel 8 reporter Kelly O’Donnell, who will be part of the NBC news team reporting live from Quicken Loans Arena.

O’Donnell, a graduate of Villa Angela Academy, began her broadcast career at Channel 8 during the 1990s. During her years at NBC, O’Donnell has covered national stories from presidential campaigns to the Oklahoma City bombing, according to her NBC bio. She has been NBC’s Capitol Hill correspondent since 2007.

MSNBC anchor Chris Jansing, who is from Fairport Harbor, also will cover the convention for NBC News and MSNBC. Jansing, who joined NBC News in 1998, hosts the MSNBC weekday show “Jansing and Co.,” and has extensively covered past presidential campaigns, according to her MSNBC bio.

O’Donnell and Jansing will be among nearly 50 NBC News and MSNBC anchors and correspondents in the networks’ newsgathering operation during the convention, July 18-21 at The Q. NBC programming is seen locally on the affiliate station WKYC Channel 3.
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Jose Diaz-Balart Exiting MSNBC…

Posted in MSNBC on July 13, 2016 by icn2

What is this…MSNBC talent departure day? First it was Luke Russert. Now it’s Jose Diaz-Balart

In November, José Diaz-Balart was named to a rotating cast of anchors of the NBC Nightly News Saturday edition. Today, he was given the job permanently.

In a trade-off, Díaz-Balart will give up his 10 a.m. MSNBC show, though MSNBC president Phil Griffin says he “will contribute regularly to special reports and major events for both NBC News and MSNBC,” including at the political conventions over the next two weeks.

Anyone want to hazard a guess as to what happens with his slot?

Luke Russert Is Leaving (MS)NBC

Posted in MSNBC on July 13, 2016 by icn2

Luke Russert tweeted that he was leaving NBC this morning…