MSNBC on the Brink

Newsin' it old school. (AP photo)

Newsin’ it old school.
(AP photo)

Dylan Byers reports:

On Thursday, our colleague Mike Allen reported that “Meet The Press” moderator Chuck Todd would add a daily MSNBC program to his portfolio. He will be joined by Brian Williams, the former “Nightly News” anchor, who is joining the network as a breaking news and special reports anchor following his fall from grace at NBC. Meanwhile, MSNBC is expected to soon announce the cancellation of several progressive talk shows, including “The Ed Show,” the loss of which is already being mourned by Bernie Sanders.

The next iteration of MSNBC, which will kick off sometime in September, is actually a return to an original vision. Before MSNBC became the liberal stalwart it is today—before the success of Keith Olbermann’s scorched-earth admonitions of the Bush administration ushered in the current era of Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz and Al Sharpton—NBC News types envisioned the channel as a smarter, more politically focused CNN.

Had that vision panned out, there would have been far greater synergy between NBC and MSNBC. Instead, many NBC News types chafed at the channel’s unabashedly liberal political orientation. Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell carved out spaces for themselves on the network, but others—most notably Brian Williams—kept their distance.


On the NBC side, they prefer their liberalism slightly more discretely unabashed.

Snark aside, I don’t know where MSNBC fits in. Fox News has the Populist-Conservative side covered, CNN owns the shrinking audience of Everyone Else, and MSNBC had the even faster-shrinking audience of Shrieking Progressives.

So unless there’s a sizable fourth audience I’m missing, MSNBC can either take on Fox (which it really can’t) or take on CNN for a slice of CNN’s already unimpressive viewership.

Any ideas?


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