Monday, May 23, 2011

Michael Steele, MSNBC Political Analyst?!?

I don't understand what Rachel's so excited about. I think hiring this GOP political hack as an "analyst" is a really reaLLY REALLY BAD MOVE for MSNBC. Having him show up at TRMS — speaking of "dynamic"— has been a mini-train wreck, and I've not said anything about it because of Rachel's well-publicized troubles booking people from the Dark Side to speak to related issues. You've got to be a GOP ass-kissing show like MTP to bring them on. As a liberal, it's a trade-off I'm willing to accept for good progressive (rare and getting rarer) programming.

Michael Steele is a turn-off for this liberal. Nothing personal. I sort of like him, really. It's just that he's got nothing interesting to say. To this typical TRMS viewer, Mr. Steele represents DEAD AIR TIME because I can anticipate EVERYTHING he's going to say. And no matter how cheery and giggly Rachel gets, she can't get that elephant airborne. The "analysts" I listen to, because they impart real information, insight, and expertise, are regulars like Chris Hayes and Ezra Klein, as well as other interesting outside-the-Beltway guests Rachel brings on. Michael Steele represents a distressing trend at MSNBC to creep in the direction of corporatism and embrace everything that is extreme and despicable about Republican politics (you know my term for it; it's historically and definitionally accurate) which Mr. Steele must defend, quite ably and nauseatingly so, now on a regular basis at MSNBC!

Imagine how the suits who decide these things think: The vaunted shouting match between Steele and Ed Schulz on the Bill Maher show made for "good" and "compelling" television. But the fact is, Steele QUICKLY overstayed his welcome with the liberal, hip Maher audience — RACHEL'S AUDIENCE, DAMMIT! — simply by being who he is: an exceedingly annoying political hack. Big Eddie took him to task for his bullshit. But Rachel won't. Inexplicably, she giggles a lot around him. Now that Steele is part of the "team," or should we say, "the best political team on television," I predict MSNBC's ratings among liberals and progressives (us folks who love Bill Maher and have a REALLY LOW TOLERANCE FOR BULLSHIT) will decline. But you'll get a lot of wingnuts to make up the difference, I'm sure.

Michael Steele brings very little to the political conversation on the positive side, and something very unseemly on the negative side: the homogeneization and validation of extremist right wing politics. I do not care to listen to Mr. Steele's skillfull rationalizations and Rachel's giggly retorts. TRMS meet MTP; it's like oil and water, it don't mix. I don't watch MTP, and to the extent MSNBC tries to be more like CNN they will be down the road to perdition. There's always John King on CNN and that weasely Brit as counterpoints to Dana Milbank on Cenk and Michael Steele on Rachel.

As Harry Truman famously said, "Given the choice between a real Republican and a fake Democrat, the people will choose the real thing every time." The same goes for homogenized CNN-style political analysis and fake, creepy, corporatist progressive analysis. Given the choice, progressive viewers might as well tune in to CNN. Better yet, pick up a good book and get off the damned GE-COMCAST-AOL creepy crawly fake progressive news grid once and for all.

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