September 08, 2008

Reality Checked at MSNBC

Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews have been relieved of their anchor duties at MSNBC:

MSNBC tried a bold experiment this year by putting two politically incendiary hosts, Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews, in the anchor chair to lead the cable news channel's coverage of the election.

That experiment appears to be over.

After months of accusations of political bias and simmering animosity between MSNBC and its parent network NBC, the channel decided over the weekend that the NBC News correspondent and MSNBC host David Gregory would anchor news coverage of the coming debates and election night. Mr. Olbermann and Mr. Matthews will remain as analysts during the coverage.

The change which comes in the home stretch of the long election cycle is a direct result of tensions associated with the channel's perceived shift to the political left.

Frankly, I haven't watched Matthews or Olbermann during their stints as anchors, so I can't pretend to tell you with any certainty why they were pulled, but based upon why I know of them prior to their anchor duties, I would not be surprised if their was a perception of open Obama partisanship in their coverage that damaged MSNBC's credibility as a news organization.

I can tell you that news of the end of their run is helping create something of a Rorschach test exposing the biases of the political blogosphere. Simply scan the responses to the news of their dismissal and you'll see what I mean.

Of particular interest — from my perspective, anyway — was how some of the most radical leftist sites seemed to take their removal as a personal affront.

MSNBC may have tilted left as a business decision, but I wonder how carefully they calculated the downside of courting a politically-motivated audience that takes policy and programming so personally. Such a relationship may be advantageous if the network and audience remain on the same page, but such devotion is fickle as well as intense, and it appears that if a network deviates from the exact kind of coverage the audience prefers, then the backlash will be both intense and immediate.

By responding to the replacement of Matthews and Olbermann with such ferocity and anger towards MSNBC, the liberal audience may very well have dissuaded future forays into more liberal programming by MSNBC or other broadcasters.

Why should broadcasters take a programming risk, if the upside is minimal, and the downside can be so adverse?

By responding with such venom, the far left netroots have let their anger get the better of them once again.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at September 8, 2008 09:58 AM

Well, it may be that they were horribly biased - and I did watch them for the spectacle of it all - I would guess that the main reason they've been replaced is that the ratings suck.

They could have held up signs saying "Republicans Suck" during the convention and they would have stayed if they had beat out Fox in the ratings.

Posted by: DS at September 8, 2008 01:44 PM

I wonder if Chris Matthews got a thrill up his leg at the news of his and Olby's firings?

Posted by: Conservative CBU at September 8, 2008 02:20 PM

Well, I watched them a very little bit...until I simply couldn't stand it anymore. From the little I watched, the two weren't overtly *against* whoever/whatever was just shown but were so sarcastic/disdainful of everything GOP. I did have the opportunity to see Uberdoush's 'reaction' to the "9/11" video shown...sad, pitiful, and/or ridiculous doesn't even begin to describe it.

Posted by: Mark at September 8, 2008 03:49 PM

I think NBC is starting to realize how badly folks like Matthews, and especially Olby, are destroying their brand, and turning them from democrat supporting stations into far, far, far left progressive stations, which, like with radio, just do not do well. Heck, even most liberals do not want to watch MSNBC, because they would rather watch Fox and yell and spit at the TV.

Heck, if half the lefties who are complaining about the demotions actually watched MSNBC, the station would be doing well, instead of having to hire a person from a completely failed radio station to do a show.

Posted by: William Teach at September 8, 2008 04:02 PM


Posted by: emdfl at September 8, 2008 06:00 PM

Keith Olberfuehrer is the king of the spittle flecked diatribe. His "Mr Bush" video on You Tube is a moonbat classic.

Chris's Leg Tingly moments were the stuff of legend. His comments after Barry's "Race" speech where he said this should be shown in schools and is on the level of the Gettysburg Address were priceless!

I've tried numerous times to watch these losers but after about 2 minutes of their verbal diarrhea followed by the numerous Soros minions spouting their BDS rants it's just more than a fella can take.

I feel a pressing need to hurl!

Posted by: SacTownMan at September 8, 2008 06:17 PM