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Monday, September 8, 2008

A Total Meltdown at MSNBC

According to the New York Times, there will be a "restructuring" at MSNBC's election coverage.

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.

Now, what the Times euphemistically refers to as a "bold experiment" was the idea of putting two patently biased political commentators, Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews, as the two leads of their election coverage. This is the same Chris Matthews, a former staffer for Tip O'Neill, that once said this about an Obama speech.

I have to tell you, you know, it's part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama's speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often. No, seriously. It's a dramatic event. He speaks about America in a way that has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with the feeling we have about our country. And that is an objective assessment.

Olbermann has created the infamous "Worst Person in the World" segment of which the favorite targets include President George Bush, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and Michelle Malkin and it conspicuously rarely if ever includes any liberals.

The network's blatant liberal bias was essentially an open secret not only in the industry but among the public at large. That secret exploded onto the screens with three serious blow ups among its commentators.

In this first clip, mainstay Chris Matthews takes objection to the sarcastic attitude of Olbermann as they attempt to throw a segment to an interview with Congressman Steny Hoyer.

In the second clip, Olbermann clearly didn't think that his microphone is on. Here, he clearly disagrees with Scarborough's analysis of the race. His crude "why don't you get a shovel" remark leads to quite an uncomfortable back and forth.

In the last clip, Joe Scarborough let's David Shuster know just how objective he thinks Shuster is.

These three embarrassing blow ups on live television were followed with this blatantly biased headline in announcing Sarah Palin as Vice President.

Since its inception in 1996, the network has been a ratings failure. It's currently mired in third in cable news ratings (out of three), and it has been there for years. Since Olbermann's show had a relative explosion in ratings (by relative of course this means compared to the rest of the network), the brass at MSNBC appears to have made their strategy to go far left quickly. It hasn't worked. their ratings have shown negligible improvement and the only thing that this strategy has accomplished is stain the NBC brand with the blatant bias of MSNBC. Often times, NBC mainstays like Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams find themselves in uncomfortable moments as they attempt to maintain objectivity while interacting with blatantly biased analysts like Olbermann and Matthews.

It still remains to be seen if this latest shake up is an admission of a total failure of strategy by MSNBC. One thing is clear, their far left strategy has worked about as well, ratings wise, as each and every strategy on the network since its inception.

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