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The PJ Tatler

by
Bryan Preston

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January 6, 2014 - 12:51 pm
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NRO’s Eliana Johnson has written a fascinating piece on how Rachel Maddow, who was once Keith Olbermann’s mini-me, now pretty much controls what’s going on at religious cable net MSNBC. But one phrase Johnson deploys in the piece jumped out at me. Emphases added.

Behind her back, colleagues call her “the queen,” a not so subtle suggestion that Maddow gets what Maddow wants. And what she wants is a network filled with young wonks such as Chris Hayes, Ezra Klein, Alex Wagner, and Harris-Perry, whose highbrow intellectualism can, she hopes, push the Democratic party, and the country, to the left. On Twitter, Harris-Perry’s show proudly uses the hashtag #nerdland. Alex Wagner’s move to the 4 p.m. hour, where Bashir’s show once aired, has Maddow’s fingerprints on it.

Maddow herself is the highest-paid and highest-rated talent at MSNBC, but beyond her own program, her quest to fill the network with her protégés may be dragging down ratings. Being an intellectual and a true believer is not, it seems, a good thing if you’re in the ratings business. Though Maddow looks askance at populist showmen such as Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz, and Al Sharpton, their shows regularly outperform those of Maddow’s wonky acolytes. In fact, Hayes’s show has created a drag on Maddow’s own ratings as his anemic numbers provide her with a weak lead-in.

Throughout the piece, Johnson uses “wonk” or “wonkish” and “intellectual” to describe what Maddow and her friends are bringing to the network. If words still mean things, those words shouldn’t be used in connection with that crowd. At all.

They all pretend at wonkery and intellectualism, but they routinely show all the intellectual curiosity of slugs. They don’t address the substance of political philosophy or policy, preferring instead to fire off rants and create wedge issues out of nothing. Republicans hate minorities! Republicans hate women! All Democrats are angels, all Republicans are devils! Intellectuals seek out viewpoints other than their own, and are capable of changing their minds when presented with new information. They deal in weighty issues that transcend the day-to-day. Since when have any of Maddow’s acolytes been anything but doctrinaire leftists and hard-bitten ideologues?

MSNBC’s Maddow gang never let thinking get in the way of a good persecution. They would have fit right in in Salem circa 1692, so quick are they to inflame first, and think never.

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Top Rated Comments   
Maybe when MSNBC has dropped to the lowest bottom and they are looking to cut their loses the Koch brothers can buy it and create a conservative powerhouse
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
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All the MSNBC folks should be declared national treasures! Where else can one learn what the anti-American, commie-pinko talking points for the day will be?
Every one of them uses falsehoods, manufactured facts, and out-of-context claims to support what they've been ordered to opine for the day.
They've certainly moved on but their recent ranting about the normal folks making fun of the global warming fanatics trapped in the ice was hilarious!
It was "McCarthyism" all over again and fair warning for the rest of the year; make fun of/belittle the people/motives of critics and, they believe, they've neutralized the substance of the criticism.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hey, if I wear thick hipster glasses, repeat White House talking points, and hate Republicans with every fiber in my being will that make me an MSNBC intellectual too?
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ta-Nahisi Uncle Tom
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Central Valley girl trying to escape.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Part of MSNBC's problem is there are so many left wing news/opinion outlets so they feel this is the best way to get an audience. Instead of going highbrow they went lowbrow and are now paying the consequences. Really there need to be fewer left wing networks and more right wing networks. I like FOX but there are a lot of right wing views out there that deserve a hearing and could probably get a decent sized audience.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
“She is actually not that interested in reality. . . "

Enough said.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I consider the woman unwatchable.

Apparently, so does a large chunk of cable viewership, including the prime 25-54 demographic. There's simply a dearth of money in the pool of viewers available to them. The article explains this pretty well and is worth the read.

Eventually they will face reality. Her "wonky intellectualism" isn't going to convince eyeballs to view MSNBC. You can only lose for so long.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maddow has a doctorate in political science at Oxford. That credential makes her an intellectual. She is a self-proclaimed to the left of leftist, which makes her a smug cable partisan. The only reason she's watched is she's a bully. She's intolerance at it's worst. That's what makes her so scary - an intellectual without reason.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Since when is sitting in an echo chamber where you pick nodding heads debating for a living? I remember seeing her on Bill Maher and she was so effortlessly picked apart she had an on-air meltdown. Maddow, like all her comrades at racialandgenderobsession.com, is a bigoted demagogue who lets her identity shield her, not reason, history or logic.

As a gay female, Maddow lacks only being black to sit at the top of the liberal parade of credibility, which as nothing to do with actual thinking and everything to do with right and wrong being a photograph. That's why GOP immorality at their convention was literally parsed by Dems by how many non-whites were lacking. When life's that simple, it reminds me of Berlin, not America.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Consider what it says of someone to think MSNBC is "intellectual".
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
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