Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Debunking the “liberal media” myth: MSNBC’s Identity Crisis

“Newt Gingrich, despite not having held any position in government for over a decade, was the single most frequent guest on "Meet the Press" in 2009 of any political figure in the United States. Literally.

From March to December, Gingrich appeared on “MTP,” on average, every other month. No one else in American politics was on the show this often.

MTP didn't have the actual Speaker of the House on at all this year. It also featured zero appearances from all of the other living former House Speakers (Hastert, Wright, Foley) combined.”

- Steve Benen, Political Animal
Why should this be? For one thing, David Gregory, the host of MTP, was anointed by legend-in-his-own-mind Tom Brokaw, the guy from the Charlie Rose school of corporate media, the stiff who presumed to write a book about the 60s and made snarky comments about the advocacy journalism of Keith Olbermann, who not only happens to be speaking truth to power, but is carrying NBC’s cable outlet MSNBC in the ratings with his fellow advocates.

David Gregory who is adept at corporate ass-kissing -- which KO is not (one of his finer qualities) -- seems to have the same fascination with Newt Gingrich’s bullshit as Tom Brokaw had with Henry Kissinger’s.

CNN, which despite its Orwellian claims to the contrary, truly has the worst political team in television, is an utter irrelevancy in political reporting. John King and David Gergen can’t save a network fronted by a pallid corpse in suspenders, a narcissistic pseudo-journalist who cackles like Larry, and stupid touch-screen tricks. Pathetic.

Ratings-wise, MSNBC is a tale of two networks: Its middle-of-the-roadkill shows and news programs are faring poorly, while the liberal advocacy opinion journalism of Olbermann-Schultz-Maddow-Matthews is ultra-competitive, posting first and second in the ratings depending on how the demographics break down. Ed Schultz, MSNBC's ballsy populist liberal is riding high because he brings the issues into sharp relief and isn't afraid to take a stand. On the other side, the nebulous Dr. Nancy show, that failed to take a firm position on healthcare reform, let alone educate the viewers on these issues and hold politicians’ feet to the fire, got axed.

MSNBC, cable’s allegedly “liberal” network, is nothing if not schizophrenic. (Where’s Carlos Watson been hiding? They could use him.) Once MSNBC stops the pretense, sends Tom Brokaw back out to pasture, tells Charlie Rose to STFU, and truly becomes the anti-FOX, then we can talk about one cable media outlet that is progressive.

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