"It’s good to be 'queen' — to be a liberal paid millions by a publicly traded company to spread the progressive gospel. Rachel Maddow, striding about Rockefeller Plaza in her colored sneakers, may be the luckiest woman in television. For now," Eliana Johnson writes in a fascinating article at National Review Online, which also explores the backstage machinations at the perpetually low-rated network and its myriad recent on-air train wrecks, on-air apologies, and off-air talent departures.
The cautionary last sentence in the above quote may be based on this quote:
Sources say it is Maddow rather than [MSNBC president] Phil Griffin who provides MSNBC’s editorial direction, and that she also holds considerable sway over personnel decisions. “I know I’m never going to get freakin’ talking points from Phil,” Maddow told The New Yorker last year. “Can you imagine? Like, what would they be?”
Which sounds eerily reminiscent of the fascinating "tell" from the man who introduced Maddow (along with conservative Tucker Carlson, since banished to MSNBC's Siberian branch) to the world of NBC, after her failed Air America program crashed and burned. (It was a very small fire, to borrow from an old Woody Allen joke):
“Phil thinks he’s my boss,” Keith Olbermann told the New Yorker in an aside in 2008. Phil's still there; Olbermann of course, isn't.
Also, I wonder if "Maddow, striding about Rockefeller Plaza in her colored sneakers," is as difficult for the rank and file employees of NBC to work with as the "peremptory voice and clickety stiletto heels" of another on-air "Progressive" diva, since departed from Rockefeller Plaza, Katie Couric:
Andrew Lack, former president of NBC, described Katie, during the good times, as a "fist in the velvet glove," while for years her staff has called her "Katie Dearest." Bryant Gumbel, who was considered the heavy when they were Today Show co-anchors once complained, "I've had one assistant for 18 years. Somebody who shall remain nameless went through five in five years. I had one makeup and hair person the whole time I was at NBC. Somebody who shall remain nameless went through three or four." Katie has also pushed out several of Today's executive producers, sending one packing just last week. The show has had four top producers since 2001. Here-Today-gone-tomorrow has now become a career path at NBC.
When I was a magazine editor, in my personal dealings with Katie I found her both demanding and petulant. But the stress of crashing ratings has obviously made her inner Cruella de Vil — always there under the surface — emerge full-time. Alessandra Stanley writes, "Lately her image has grown downright scary: America's girl next door has morphed into the mercurial diva down the hall. At the first sound of her peremptory voice and clickety stiletto heels, people dart behind doors and douse the lights."
Exit quote, via Ed Morrissey, who has his own thoughts on Johnson's profile of Maddow:
Ever notice that people at MSNBC are forever giving interviews suggesting their boss, Phil Griffin, is an idiot?
— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) January 6, 2014
As Ed notes, "I’ve met Griffin and I think Eliana is on target in her piece — as long as he makes money and builds a devoted following, I think Griffin couldn’t care less about what people say about him."
On the other hand, one way or another, it sounds like the clock is ticking for whoever is working for him -- however his employees view their professional relationship.
Related: "MSNBC's Harris-Perry Follows Media Tradition of Targeting Civilians," John Nolte writes at Big Journalism:
There was nothing unique about what MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry and her panel did last Sunday when they held Mitt Romney's infant grandson up for ridicule and mockery. Over the past five years or so, targeting innocent civilians as a way to further the left-wing agenda is something the media have engaged in numerous times.
This is what the wicked media does; this is who these terrible people are.
Here are just a few examples….
Read the whole thing.