I started to write this in February, saving the most recent draft on February 21, 2015. New announcements have confirmed some of my predictions-- Ed Shultz is going, so is Now With Alex Wagner, and the panel headed by Toure... so far. I'll be very surprised if Sharpton and Hayes are still on the air this time next year. Here's what I wrote
It seemed inevitable; once Comcast bought MSNBC, it would not last as the liberal news forum it had been. Comcast, an opponent to net neutrality, would not tolerate a liberal voice for long. That inevitability is becoming a reality.Now MSNBC is getting rid of two of its newest hosts-- Ronan Farrow and Joy Reid-- and the word is that they could almost clean house, leaving just Rachel Maddow as the token liberal, also keeping centrist Chris Matthews' Hardball show and right wing Morning Joe.Perhaps the problem is that MSNBC has been running a neutered, somewhat impotent conversation, using liberals who are staunch supporters of the Democrats and Obama. Maybe, instead of moving right, MSNBC should bring in people who are further left, who are more willing to speak truth to power instead of defending it, willing to criticize anyone or any org or company that deserves it. The success of the John Oliver show is proof that this model works.Jason Easley's PoliticsUSA.com article, titled, Report: MSNBC To Ditch Liberal Hosts And Move Away From "Left-Wing" TV, says"The cancellations of Ronan Farrow and Joy Reid were just the beginning of the changes at MSNBC. It is being reported that the network is going to get rid of their liberal hosts and move away from "left-wing TV."
And he adds that Lloyd Grove at The Daily Beast reported:
In the longer term, these sources said, the Rev. Al Sharpton--a larger-than-life personality who attracts a 35 percent African-American audience but continues, after 3 years of nightly practice, to wrestle with his Teleprompter--could eventually be moved from his weeknight 6 p.m. slot to a weekend time period, as MNSBC President Phil Griffin attempts to reverse significant viewership slides by accentuating straight news over left-leaning opinion.
"Everybody in the food chain from top to bottom understands that the Olbermann era is over," said an MSNBC source, referring to the glory days during George W. Bush's administration when incendiary liberal Keith Olbermann regularly attracted a million viewers--many of them seeking refuge from White House and Republican talking points.
The MSNBC source said, "Going left was a brilliant strategy while it lasted and made hundreds of millions of dollars for Comcast, but now it doesn't work anymore"The goal is to move away from left-wing TV."MSNBC could end up dumping not only Farrow and Reid, but also Chris Hayes, Ed Schultz and Reverend Al Sharpton.
Jason Easley writes,
"The fear is that MSNBC will overreact to their recent rating slide by making a knee jerk move to the right. There is a huge liberal audience that will watch left-leaning programming. The mistake that Phil Griffin made was offering viewers boring liberal programming. Griffin's cookie cutter strategy of trying make more shows look and sound like Maddow created a redundancy of tone that caused viewers to flee.
The problem with MSNBC wasn't that they were liberal, but that they treated their audience so badly for so long that viewers didn't trust the network to keep their favorite hosts, outside of Maddow, on... The MSNBC viewers used to know could be leaving soon..."In 2010, the DailyBeast listed what it considered the left's top 25 journalists. I'd only take one of them as a really left of liberal, progressive journalist-- Thom Hartmann, for a few reasons, because he's written the definitive book on corporate personhood and he's a free thinker, even though he tends to advocate supporting Democrats as a strategy for change. The rest are too chummy with the Democrats and the corporate congress.There are plenty of great voices and journalists who could do the job, as real progressives, left of liberal, independent of the Democrats though many of the people who come to mind are working for the Intercept-- Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, Will Potter, Lee Fang, Laura Poitras, but also, Chris Hedges, Robert Scheer, Cenk Uygur, Thom Hartmann, Kevin Gosztola, David Sirota, Mike Malloy, Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez, Abby Martin, Glen Martin... and there are plenty more.But that won't happen. MSNBC is owned by Comcast. Once Comcast dumps the liberals, there will be even less reason to subscribe to Comcast or any of the other cable TV providers. There is a growing movement to approach TV consumption from the bottom up-- discarding big cable and replacing it with a plethora of other options. As I write this, using WIFI from a smaller service-- not Comcast (which I know has a monopoly in many locales-- something that should be illegal) and Apple TV box, to watch a show, Riseup, about youth activism, offered by Fusion. You don't need to support Comcast any more.
The replacements for the newly let go left leaning hosts-- shamed anchor Brian Williams and Meet the Press host Chuck Todd-- both far to the right of those being replaced. It was only a matter of time for Comcast. Some are saying that they may bring back Keith Olbermann. His grandiose narcissism was one of the reasons I quit watching the network a few years ago.
The Daily Beast reports,
"The only programs that appeared safe from disruption were Morning Joe, the 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. chatfest hosted by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski; Hardball at 7 p.m. with Chris Matthews; and The Rachel Maddow Show at 9 p.m."
NBC's stated goal is to do more news and less talk shows. The reality is that when people like Chuck Todd do news, they editorialize in many ways, like when Todd decided to cut out people like Mike Gravel from the presidential debates, or when David Gregory suggested Glenn Greenwald engaged in criminal actions working with Ed Snowden. Gregory, really stepped in it. Here's a recounting of the exchange from the Washington Post:
GREGORY: Final question for you". To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn't you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?
Greenwald blasted away:
GREENWALD: I think it's pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies. The assumption in your question, David, is completely without evidence, the idea that I've aided and abetted him in any way. The scandal that arose in Washington before our stories began was about the fact that the Obama administration is trying to criminalize investigative journalism by going through the e-mails and phone records of AP reporters, accusing a Fox News journalist of the theory that you just embraced, being a co-conspirator in felonies, for working with sources.