News & Politics

MSNBC 'Leans Backward' for Ratings

(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

In case you were wondering what they’ve been up to…

Just a year ago today, MSNBC, recovering from a long period of “Leaning Forward,” found itself struggling to stay on its feet.

On the heels of a disastrous 2014 that saw ratings hit a seven-year low — even president Phil Griffin admitted it was a “difficult year” — the left-leaning cable news network was preparing a massive restructuring of his channel and a realigning of the talent.

Completely canceled were four shows along with their anchors: The Cycle, The Ed Show, Now with Alex Wagner, and Ronan Farrow Daily (though two hosts, Farrow and The Cycle co-host Ari Melber are still with the network in other roles). Politics Nation with Al Sharpton lost its prestigious weekday slot, demoted to just once a week on Sunday mornings at 8 am. Joy Reid also lost her weekday show, but with weekend host Melissa Harris-Perry leaving the network over complaints about how she was treated and racial insensitivity, Reid has taken over the weekend two-hour slot with her own show, “AM Joy.”

In were more down-the-middle NBC News journalists like Meet the Press host Chuck Todd and former “Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams.

While Politico isn’t mainstream, it still very much inhabits a leftist media world, which is why the writer of this article is able to suggest that Chuck Todd and Brian Williams are “down-the-middle” journalists without typing LOLOLOLOLOL at the end of the sentence.

Welcome to the 2016 news media world, where moving from the extreme left fringe to merely solid left is viewed as flirting with the center.

All MSNBC really did was jettison its weakest, least talented links, either from prominent roles or altogether. Alex Wagner and Ronan Farrow couldn’t pool 100 IQ points between them if Stephen Hawking spotted them 50. Each. Melissa Harris-Perry and Ed Schultz should have mental health professionals in attendance full time. After extorting the network to give him a show, Al Sharpton’s relentless war on the English language was too much to overlook.

Only Chris Matthews remains, largely because he is a legacy media hire since he once worked for a prominent Democrat. If you’re wondering how centrist he has become, just last week he went full dreamy fan boy when talking about Bernie Sanders.

Take a peek on the next page at an ad the network will be running in some conservative media outlets.

Of that group, only Hewitt is a real draw to anyone professing to be a conservative. The rest are mostly useful idiots from the same consultant class that’s brought the GOP just one popular vote victory in a presidential election in a quarter century. They’re all popular with left-leaning media because of their willingness to bash other Republicans, especially conservatives. In short, that’s a lot of window dressing that barely moves the ideological meter of the network at all.

Honestly, any media outlet that not only employs, but prominently features Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Mika Brzezinski and Andrea Mitchell can’t be considered anything but far left. MSNBC may have undergone a course correction in the past year, but it was necessary due to the fact that it was so far off course. The 24/7 progressive babble it featured in the “Lean Forward” days had minimal appeal in real America. The only real success it experienced was because CNN was in the midst of its own historic ratings dive for a while.

Unfortunately, the media bubble types don’t live in, or ever even visit, real America. Which is probably why the MSNBC execs have already convinced themselves that they are a legitimate alternative for people seeking center-right news coverage.

Good luck with that.