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The Award for Most Patience With A Crazy Person: MSNBC’s Tamron Hall!

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Congratulations, Tamron Hill of MSNBC! You survived 10 tons of crazy the other day (without even messing up your magical perm), dealing with Conservative flack Kate Obenshain attempts to argue that the “Barack the Magic Negro” song was really about dissing Al Sharpton.

Democratic strategist hottie (oh, those eyebrows!) Jamal Simmons, also gets an honorable mention for riding shotgun on that one, but he should be used to crazy by now as a regular on these sort of “pundit versus pundit” deals.

You can watch the video here on Jezebel, who misspelled Tamron’s name while in the midst of giving her that badge of “Courage Under Extreme Ignorance Fire.”

I think I’d have more respect for the defenders of “Barack the Magic Negro” if they just admitted it was in bad taste, but shouted “FIRST AMENDMENT!” then ducked and hid somewhere after folks started throwing things. But they won’t do that, so … sigh. I guess it’s kind of a story now even though Rush Limbaugh already salted this earth months ago.

BTW, for coming up with a ridiculous argument that did not involve screaming “Yeah, it was tacky but FIRST AMENDMENT!” Kate Obenshain takes home the “Not Helping!” award for the day. You’re not helping the conservative cause, Obenshain! Maybe Ohio Republican Ken Blackwell can offer you some, “C’mon! It’s not that serious! I’m black and I’m not mad. We can mock the president without looking like assholes! The press is TOO sensetive! Liberals get to do it all the time!” defense tactics. Go back to the drawing board. Try something involving “word police” or “censorship,” because you really don’t have any legs to stand on here.

Written by blacksnob

December 29, 2008 at 10:11 pm

And the Real Winner of the Election Season Is …

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Photo of Rachel Maddow from The New York Times

MSNBC/Air America’s Rachel Maddow. She struck while the iron was mighty hot and has benefited tenfold.

From The New York Times:

Rachel Maddow, a woman who does not own a television set, has done something that is virtually unheard of: she has doubled the audience for a cable news channel’s 9 p.m. hour in a matter of days.

More important for her bosses at MSNBC is that “The Rachel Maddow Show,” her left-leaning news and commentary program, has averaged a higher rating among 25- to 54-year-olds than “Larry King Live” on CNN for 13 of the 25 nights she has been host. While the average total audience of her program remains slightly smaller than that of Mr. King’s, Ms. Maddow, 35, has made MSNBC competitive in that time slot for the first time in a decade. The channel at that hour has an average viewership of 1.7 million since she started on Sept. 8, compared with 800,000 before.

Couldn’t have happened to a better woman. Or Power Lesbian. Can’t have too many of those. Maddow’s secret power is “likability” and “smarts.”

Written by blacksnob

October 22, 2008 at 3:35 pm

Posted in MSNBC, rachel maddow

So Who Won?

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There was nothing definitive as far as I could tell.

John McCain was grumpy but effective. Barack Obama proved detractors that he did know his stuff on foreign policy and despite McCain’s attempts to say he didn’t understand every word out of Obama’s mouth on tactics, strategy, history and diplomacy in the foreign policy arena was polished. There were no major gaffes. No major missteps. Obama was laid back and relaxed, but firm. McCain, as opined by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews over and over again in his post-debate coverage — McCain wouldn’t look his opponent in the eye.

It was interesting to watch. Because of the relative draw in the debate, every pundit and pontificator saw it a different way. On CNN the roundtable thought it was Obama who was on edge and looked annoyed, saying he spent most of the debate on the defensive. But then they were bewildered by their own early poll of viewers which showed that 51 percent thought Obama “did better” than McCain who was at 38 percent.

Obama winning was a trend in a lot of early polling.

CBS had Obama as the winner 39 percent to McCain’s 25. (Thirty-six percent saw a draw). And the Insider Advantage poll had Obama winning with 42 percent to McCain’s 41, with 17 percent undecided.

CNN’s pundits reviews were mixed. Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez tried to argue that Obama disrespected McCain by calling him by his first name during the debate, although others defending Obama saying he only did that when trying to get McCain’s attention to point out some perceived misrepresentation of his record.

Some concluded that the stalemate counted as a win on style for Obama because foreign policy was supposed to be McCain’s strongest subject, yet he could not knock out his opponent. The biased, but blunt Paul Begala declared that McCain needed a knock out after the horrific week he had.

A draw was simply not good enough.

MSNBC was another planet. Whereas CNN was more critical of Obama, Hardball’s Chris Matthews couldn’t get over the perceived slight of McCain not looking at Obama, something I didn’t even notice. But he pestered every guest and pundit about it. He also couldn’t understand why Obama didn’t go on the attack over the economy. But both were tepid on the issues because no one knew what the final product would look like when it came to the Wall Street bailout bill that both would have to vote on.

Matthews did point out that some news was made that evening when moderator Jim Lehrer got McCain to admit that he would vote for the bailout. Although, he said it so low and curtly a viewer could have easily missed it.

At MSNBC, many made the same points as CNN, saying that Obama was sidetracked by McCain and was stuck playing defense. Despite said Obama still held his own. But things were still vague.

Matthews admitted even he didn’t know who won and was surprised by their early polling which showed Obama as the clear winner by more than 20 points.

Obama was willing to admit when he agreed with John McCain. (MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said he agreed 13 times.) Some argued it showed how diplomatic and gracious he was. Others thought he just created an attack ad for his opponent. Good strategy? Bad strategy?

McCain wouldn’t segue ground on anything, making him look either tough or like a “troll,” as Matthews repeated. He was belligerent and even dismissive at times, not wanting to acknowledge Obama in the same way he wanted to not acknowledge the president of Iran. He seemed annoyed by Obama’s very existence. Good strategy? Bad strategy?

McCain’s theme: He’s not ready. Obama’s theme: He’s Bush II. Good strategy? Bad strategy? What worked? What didn’t?

But the ultimate question is, who won?

Some say because we can’t answer that question, Obama won by default. He passed the foreign policy test and proved he wasn’t a lightweight. Other say McCain showed real assertiveness and command of his statements after a rought week. He was solid even if a few details were fudged, like his declaration that he killed the Boeing refueling tanker deal.*

Here’s a round up of others’ take on the first great debate:

“My scorecard says that McCain won the night 7-1, which frankly surprises me. On paper that looks like a rout, but McCain didn’t seem that dominant as it was happening. Certainly there was nothing in the debate that Obama will worry about as having been a big blow. I saw McCain winning the debate pretty handily, but I doubt he scored any larger strategic victory,” Jonathan V. Last, The Weekly Standard

“I thought it was largely a tie. But McCain’s whole campaign is based on his supposed superior knowledge and judgment on foreign policy. So I think that’s a problem for McCain … McCain didn’t have any freak-out moments. But he did have that sneer and there did seem to be this thing where he was so contemptuous and angry at Obama that he couldn’t get himself to make eye contact. I think we’ll hear more about that. Angry, angry, angry. Part of the key here is that McCain is clearly miffed that he even has to debate or run against Obama. He thinks it’s an insult,” Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo

“Deep down, I know what appeals to me in a debate isn’t necessarily what appeals to the country as a whole. But it’s really hard to say McCain had a bad night, and I think Obama seemed a little shaky at times tonight – his performance didn’t boldly and clearly say, ‘I know I’m new on the scene, but you can trust me; I am ready to succeed in the hardest job in the world,'” Jim Geraghty, The National Review Online

“(C)ount me impressed by both candidates. I know it may sound a bit pollyannish, but I thought one would not bring their “A” game or that one would get complacent and that didn’t happen. There are some who believe a “draw” is better for the candidate perceived to be ahead. If that’s the case, then the polls will continue their Obama drift. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the polls don’t move much in either direction because neither candidate gave a reason why voters ought to stop listening and make their decision now. There are two more debates and this one was good enough that they may see audiences build on this one,” Chuck Todd, MSNBC.com

“I’d guess the CW will be that McCain won on points, with nothing close to a knockout, and I’d echo that judgment. McCain had Obama on the defensive over earmark requests and his $800 billion in new spending, then later on the surge and those rogue-leader meetings. Obama did do a decent job shifting the focus back to the original invasion of Iraq and was effective at highlighting Bush’s serial foreign-policy failures (North Korean nukes, Iranian centrifuges, growing Chinese influence), but was generally less punchy and more reactive,” Noam Scheiber, The New Republic

“McCain won tonight’s first debate. He appeared strong, seasoned, and resolute. But he was supposed to win. This was his strong suit. Obama didn’t press McCain as hard as he could have. Let me make one thing clear: Obama did not bomb it. Some might say by holding his own it’s a win for Obama, McCain simply seemed much more solid. This solidity comes from years of experience because when you have been through as much as Senator McCain has, adversity never leaves one where it finds them,” Andrea Tantaros, FOX News

“There were no campaign shattering gaffes or super killer sound-bytes, which leads me to believe that tonight’s debate wasn’t much of a game changer. McCain may benefit a bit in the short term, but tomorrow morning he’s also going to have to return to talking about the economic crisis – a subject that has given him fits all week,” Tom Brevan, Real Clear Politics

“I’d say: small, Pyrrhic victory for McCain. McCain wanted to make Obama seem naive and inexperienced. He did about 40% of that. Obama wanted to make McCain seem dangerously ambitious, bellicose and hotheaded. He did 0% of that. But a) the foreign policy stuff came after a long period on the economy, where McCain seemed a bit frenetic and Obama had the upper hand; and b) Obama didn’t seem non-credible, which may be enough to carry him through given all the other advantages he has,” Mickey Kaus, Slate.com

“If minds are made up based on tonight’s debate, voter priorities seem to favor Obama. But McCain’s most important accomplishment, sewing doubt about Obama’s readiness to lead, could reap rewards in the two remaining meetings between the nominees,” Reid Wilson, Real Clear Politics

“Partisans on both sides saw bright spots and ultimate success for their candidate. But it’s likely that this race will continue as it has. Both accomplished much of what they hoped to do, without any serious mistakes. Voters likely saw attractive qualities in each of them. So round one will give way to round two and perhaps a clearer outcome. But as with much of the rest of this presidential race, these are two well-matched candidates, and each has something to say,” Dan Balz, The Washington Post

“Obama came out ahead. … He didn’t have a knock out moment. This was a draw. [But] it gets out of the way a potential liability. I’d be surprised if McCain had a bounce from this,” Charles Krauthammer, FOX News

“In the closing minutes, Sen. McCain said his foe doesn’t have the ‘knowledge or experience’ to run national-security policy. Sen. Obama said his opponent doesn’t seem to understand that it has been a mistake to focus so much American time and treasure on Iraq when, ‘In the meantime, [Osama] bin Laden is still out there.’ The differences are real, and weren’t hidden on the Mississippi stage Friday night,” Gerald F. Seib, The Wall Street Journal

“Ultimately, sadly, these debates are won, or lost, on style and perceptions of character—not substance. Those are matters of taste. We’ll see if McCain seemed too old or Obama too young. Obama did speak in a stronger, firmer voice. He was clear, straightforward and not at all professorial. He looked directly into the camera; McCain rarely, if ever, did. But McCain put his experience—his frequent travels overseas—to good use in this debate, although his standard laugh lines like “Miss Congeniality” seemed to bomb,” Joe Klein, Time.com

“McCain is closer to the political middle on spending, energy, and the conduct of the Iraq war. McCain had better emotion, and better historical anecdotes and perspective. But Obama looked good, spoke smoothly, and showed a savvy willingness to copycat popular Republican positions, on such issues as energy and missile defense,” James Pinkerton, FOX News

“Both avoided their negative stereotypes: Obama did not seem aloof or condescending. McCain did not seem erratic or wild. You could imagine either one of them in the Oval Office, but only one is going to get there … “I don’t need any on-the-job training,” McCain said. “I am ready to go at it right now.” He certainly seemed like it Friday night,” Roger Simon, Politico.com

“McCain repeatedly asserted that on foreign-policy issues Obama “didn’t understand.” But Obama didn’t look like a man who didn’t understand. McCain was essentially calling Obama a Sarah Palin—but Obama didn’t look like one. He walked back his position on meeting with rogue leaders as far as he credibly could, and he was clear about when he would use military force, which balanced out his talk about diplomacy,” John Dickerson, Slate.com

“I did not learn much new about either candidate tonight. I thought Senator McCain made some points that made him look presidential in the area of foreign affairs. But Senator Obama had more detail on many of the issues. Obama warmed up towards the end of the debate. Obama was first out of the gate with the words Usama bin Laden which was a definite point for him,” Ellen Ratner, FOX News

“Winning isn’t enough. To gain from a presidential debate, there must be sound bites that appear on TV day after day and show your opponent in an unfavorable or embarrassing light. John McCain was better than Barack Obama in their first presidential debate last night. But the debate produced no knockout sound bites–none I noticed anyway–that might harm Obama’s campaign. So McCain’s win isn’t likely to affect the presidential race,” Fred Barnes, The Weekly Standard

“A dead heat for the most part — but John McCain ends weaker when attacking Obama. And Obama ends stronger by staying positive. But final conclusion: no game changing moment,” Lanny Davis, FOX News

“Friday night was not a transformational moment like the first Kennedy-Nixon debate. Some swing voters may have found McCain mean or Obama green. But most voters — and this is an impressionistic guess — may have regarded the Oxford debate merely as the slow-starting first act of a potentially gripping three-act drama, one likely to end with fireworks and fisticuffs at Hofstra University on Oct. 15,” Walter Shapiro, Salon.com

“If the night was a tie, the tie went to Obama. That was certainly how the Obama people tried to frame it – that the debate was on foreign policy, which McCain has stressed as his strength. McCain has the resume. More than that, he has the frequent flier miles. McCain mentioned that he’d been in Georgia, that he’d been in the wild provinces of Pakistan, that he’d been in Afghanistan and Iraq and everywhere but Osama bin Laden’s personal cave. But if McCain says Obama got the surge wrong, Obama says that McCain got the entire war wrong,” Mike Littwin, Rocky Mountain News

“There will be plenty of spin about what was said in the first presidential debate. But the focus on the war in Iraq, a war that most Americans think was a mistake and want to see finished, means that — while the night saw no knockout blows — it was Obama who got the debate he wanted and needed,” John Nichols, The Nation

“It was a general election win for Senator Obama in so far as he demonstrated an ability to articulate foreign policy positions. Republicans will now have more difficulty challenging his grasp of foreign affairs. Still, Obama did not flaunt his keen oratorical skills tonight. Perhaps it was the format, or the arid nature of the discussion, but he did not seem as sharp as usual. This is a loss for a man who relies so heavily on rhetorical inspiration to win votes,” Christopher Coffey, Republican consultant, FOX News

*McCain’s assertion that the deal was dead was a flat out lie. Boeing sued and won a new review of the project so they still have a shot of winning it. Boeing argued that the contract was written unfairly to give European company Airbus an advantage in winning the bid. It would have been heavenly if Obama had pointed out McCain was for a European company over Boeing, based here in the US. And I know this because I’m a St. Louisan. Boeing is one the largest employers in St. Louis and we want that damn tanker deal. Perhaps I should write a note to the Obama campaign to slap McCain with this at the next debate which is on the economy.

Written by blacksnob

September 27, 2008 at 1:12 pm

Gawker Wants MSNBC to Stay Nutters

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Well. It is more fun to watch. Reasons why? Gawker writer Pareene pens that Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann are smart, the change to David Gregory won’t shut up conservative critics and bitchery makes good TV.

Gawker:

Remember how conservatives have spent 100 years decrying the liberal bias of CNN? The CNN that is now represented by the apolitically moronic Wolf Blitzer and the inoffensive cuddly unicorn Anderson Cooper? Both of whom are useless and boring at covering politics? This won’t shut up any critics, at all. Show some fucking backbone.

… We already called Blitzer a moron, and we meant it. The man’s journalistic expertise is limited to an ability to stand up for a long time and babble at length without too much dead air. Matthews and Olbermann are blowhards and egomaniacs, yes, and they’re far too pleased with themselves when they do something like reference some 70-year-old Capra movie, but they actually know a lot about history and politics.

Written by blacksnob

September 8, 2008 at 4:40 pm

Newsroom Apocalypse

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MSNBC’s facade is cracking in the ugliest way in a little game of “my ego is bigger than God’s”

It’s been nine months in the making.

Since the night of the Iowa caucuses I wondered how long perennial third-runner-up cable news network MSNBC could last with two of its biggest personalities anchoring their campaign coverage.

Now the grand, dysfunctional marriage of Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann is no more.

The New York Times:

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.

“The most disappointing shift is to see the partisan attitude move from prime time into what’s supposed to be straight news programming,” said Davidson Goldin, formerly the editorial director of MSNBC and a co-founder of the reputation management firm DolceGoldin.

While I enjoy the ham fisted, bludgeoning style of Chris Matthews and the colorfully crazy, die hard Liberalism of Keith Olbermann in their separate parts, together they were trainwreck television. This was compounded by the fact that opinionated pundits-cum-partisans should not anchor news coverage.

I don’t care if Matthews considers himself a bipartisan pugilist or that Olbermann has such an enormous, self-righteous stick up his ass that primary nights turned him into some faux Edward R. Murrow. If you give your opinion on television professionally and dress it as news (paging Bill O’Reilly) you shouldn’t host something that is supposed to be straight-up, no chaser hard news.

The same goes for every cable network, from FOX News to CNN, who both like to truck out the occasional hacky host to toss in their two cents on a serious political news story. I don’t know how many times I’ve been disgusted to see Lou Dobbs wandering around the election desk at CNN posing questions to the pundits when he, himself, is a pundit and should be sitting down at the desk with Donna Brazile and Amy Holmes and Carl Bernstein.

Olbermann and Matthews are MSNBC’s biggest stars. For a long time Matthews was their only headliner, but as they’ve lurched to the left to counter FOX News’ hard right spin (while denying they are doing such) they have front-loaded the network with professional spin misters — some good, some awful — from rebel, ousted Republican congressman Joe Scarborough, professional asshat Tucker Carlson (who’s show was canceled), the Liberally nice but clueless Dan Abrams (also canceled), recently hired, Air America rising star Rachel Maddow. Matthews’ stalwart beat down of show “Hardball” used to be the cornerstone, but now Olbermann’s “Countdown” is the glorious, Lefty beacon the network has bet the farm on.

The New York Times:

Mr. Olbermann, a 49-year-old former sportscaster, has become the face of the more aggressive MSNBC, and the lightning rod for much of the criticism. His program “Countdown,” now a liberal institution, was created by Mr. Olbermann in 2003 but it found its voice in his gnawing dissent regarding the Bush administration, often in the form of “special comment” segments.

As Mr. Olbermann raised his voice, his ratings rose as well, and he now reaches more than one million viewers a night, a higher television rating than any other show in the troubled 12-year history of the network. As a result, his identity largely defines MSNBC. “They have banked the entirety of the network on Keith Olbermann,” one employee said.

But the historic 2008 presidential race revealed NBC’s redheaded cable stepchild to be like “a heroin addict … They’re living from fix to fix and swearing they’ll go into rehab the next week.”

The Huffington Post has covered the testy battle, blow-for-blow, for months, bringing things to a fever pitch since the convention coverage began. Dubbing it “MSNBC Implosion.”

On August 25 of the Democratic Convention Olbermann derided Scarborough on air while he was defending Republican candidate John McCain suggesting “Jesus, Joe, why don’t you get a shovel?” followed up later with Matthews remarking, “Are we done?”

This was followed up 12-hours later with a juvenile, but frustrated screed from Scarborough in an exchange with reporter David Shuster on Scarborough’s show “Morning Joe.”

Shuster touched a nerve when he called Scarborough a Republican in a fairly pointless fight over the Iraqis wanting the US out. Scarborough has some famously bitter relations with his political party and was upset that Shuster would target him for being partisan, later telling NPR he “get[s] frustrated by people who have an obvious partisan bias that don’t proclaim that bias. (Politico)”

Per Politico and YouTube the “uncomfortable” nearly seven minute exchange devolved into this:

On “Morning Joe” the following day, a clearly agitated Scarborough went off on Shuster during a discussion of Iraq, which quickly devolved over several cringe-worthy minutes into personal attacks, such as Scarborough telling the world how his colleague missed the show three times by oversleeping. “Are you Rip Van Shuster?” Scarborough asked. “Have you been sleeping for the past couple of months?”

But Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida, became enraged when Shuster made a reference to “your party.” Asked by Scarborough what his party was, Schuster said he was an “independent.”

“I feel so comforted by the fact that you’re an independent,” Scarborough said, in a mocking tone. “I bet everybody at MSNBC has independent on their voting cards. Oh, we’re down the middle now.” (Shuster left the set, but returned later to hug it out, “Entourage”-style.)

Then Aug. 26, the following day, THIS occurred.

It was scenes like this that made me long for the sheer banality of Wolf Blitzer and the nebbishness of the-man-who-is-not-Democrat-Donna-Brazile’s “boo”Anderson Cooper.

Soon the rumor mill — and not so rumor mill — kicked up a few thousand notches: Olbermann allegedly trying to get legendary network anchor Tom Brokaw banned from the cable network because he’d called them out on their smashmouth coverage.

“I think Keith has gone too far. I think Chris has gone too far,” the veteran NBC newsman said at a forum sponsored by Harvard’s Shorenstein press center. But Brokaw said that they are “commentators” and “not the only voices” on MSNBC and that viewers could sort it out.

“The idea of anyone trying to ban Tom Brokaw is ludicrous,” said one MSNBC staffer.

At a forum, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell accused the network out for being in the tank for Barack Obama’s campaign. Olbermann was then accused of cock-blocking conservative NBC consultant Mike Murphy, wanting him off the network. Various sources began alleging that Olbermann turned into a power hungry, egocentric nightmare who could get away with murder. His bosses allegedly defended him in public, but bitched about his rumored prima donna behavior in private.

Then came the Republican National Convention coverage where not-so-strangely Olbermann stayed and anchored in New York while Matthews went to St. Paul, Minn.

There Olbermann apologized to viewers on behalf of the RNC for a 9-11 tribute video he saw as gratuitous, showing more 9-11 terror footage than most news networks. As a whole, all news networks have avoided showing the carnage in any large amount since 2002. Olbermann had a strong visceral and emotional reaction recalling how he lost friends in the tragedy and saw the video as too much for anyone who had emotional ties to the attack.

While Olbermann had a point in the gratuity and exploitive nature of using footage of terrorist attacks in a tribute video, apologizing for the footage was yet again another intrusion of his opinion into the campaign coverage. The issue would have been better served if the commentators they’d employed were asked their opinions about the veracity of the video rather than become self-righteous as Olbermann is prone to do.

Then there was the not-too-subtle partisan slant that was developing in the evening campaign coverage.

Nobody, including all of MSNBC, believes (MSNBC President) Phil Griffin when he says “MSNBC does not have an ideology … We hire smart people who are passionate about their love of politics and love of news.” Says one veteran off-camera staffer: “Bullshit … It’s a total farce.” It’s a shame that MSNBC can’t own up to the way it’s leaning, if only because now it can’t separate itself from the same charges aimed at Fox News — that it leans one way politically but pretends to be balanced. (Jossip)

Even former CBS Evening News co-anchor, former MSNBC staffer and all-around whackadoo Connie Chung was calling for this white male testosterone, nerdy fueled crew to “grow up.”

And you know if Chung says you’ve hit rock bottom you’ve got issues.

But the coup du grace came when The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart proclaimed the MSNBC drama was “‘Lord of the Flies’ on the NBC roof! I wonder which one has the conch and which one is Piggy?”

Naming all the principle players after characters from The Muppet Show — Matthews and Olbermann became balcony bickers Statler and Waldorf, Scarborough – Sam the Eagle and Shuster as “Beeker,” likely for his beyond annoying voice.

It’s funny, brutal and sadly true, leading us to Sunday night’s breaking news that all is over.

Olbermann and Matthews will be mere commentators, as they should be, and David Gregory, NBC political reporter, will host the upcoming debates and additional evening campaign coverage on the cable network.

Gregory is one of the journalists rumored to be up for Tim Russert’s job as host of NBC’s Meet the Press.

Love or hate Gregory, at least he’s a professional. I’m rather indifferent about him, but anyone who asks hard enough questions to get George W. Bush and White House Press Secretary Dana Perino flummoxed is good enough for me. I never understood why NBC didn’t use its better talented but undeserved employees to do the heavy lifting for MSNBC anyway?

Why have the Today Show/Dateline’s Ann Curry play Vanna White when she could carry the election coverage herself? And I’m not just suggesting Ann Curry because, jokingly, I often refer she is the cocaine and strawberries of Hapa journalists. She actually has talent.

Or Ed Bradley Award for Journalistic Hotness runner-up and weekend Today host Lester Holt. What’s he doing? Hire back Bryant Gumbel. Steal Soledad O’Brien from CNN. They don’t know what to do with her anyway. What happened to the $7 million man, my fellow St. Louisan Stone Phillips? Steal my other fellow St. Louisan and Ed Bradley Award for Journalist Hotness runner-up Russ Mitchell from CBS? Where’s more war reports from war hottie Richard Engel? What’s Kevin Corke doing? Use more Chuck Todd, for heavens sake!

Get someone legitimate. Stop stocking your morning broadcasting with bland, uninteresting pretty faces. Stop being so blatantly partisan that even FOX is mocking you. Get a hold of yourselves!

I like Olbermann. I like Matthews. Hell, I even like Scarborough and I almost never agree with him. I love Rachel Maddow. All you need to do is hire some serious minority journalists/commentators to host (like occasional “Countdown” stand-in, former MTV reporter and former NPR host Alison Stewart.) Put my favorite pundit I love/hate Amy Holmes on Morning Joe. Stick Michelle Bernard anywhere to balance out a ticket. I love her weave and her bitchatude (like Holmes’) is awesome.

And Ann Curry. Seriously. Put Alison Stewart, Ann Curry, David Gregory, steal Russ Mitchell and bring back the Gumbel and you’ll finally have some meat on those skinny news bones.

I’m a journalist first, a lefty second. Let’s stop freebasing The Nation magazine, Media Matters and Jonathon Kozol books and get back to what real broadcast journalism is — a loopy dance between objectivity and entertainment.

I love Keith to bits, but a viewer can’t live on Bush Hate alone.

Written by blacksnob

September 8, 2008 at 1:08 pm

Maddow Advances; Oprah, Sick of Self?

with 11 comments

Dan Abrams out. Rachel Maddow in. Lord, MSNBC. Why did that take so long? Abrams gave it the old college try and was sometimes not half bad, but every now and then he actually made me miss Joe Scarborough and that’s not a good thing.

Sayeth The Huffington Post:

Just in time for the closing rush of the presidential election, MSNBC is shaking up its prime-time programming lineup, removing the long-time host — and one-time general manager of the network — Dan Abrams from his 9 p.m. program and replacing him with Rachel Maddow, who has emerged as a favored political commentator for the all-news cable channel.

The moves, which were confirmed by MSNBC executives Tuesday, are expected to be finalized by Wednesday, with Mr. Abrams’s last program on Thursday. After MSNBC’s extensive coverage of the two political conventions during the next two weeks, Ms. Maddow will begin her program on Sept. 8.

MSNBC is highlighting the date, 9/8/08, connecting it to the start of the Olympics on 8/8/08, as a way to signal what the network’s president, Phil Griffin, said “will be the final leg of the political race this year.” He added, “We making that Rachel’s debut.”

Mr. Abrams, who is well liked at MSNBC, is expected to remain at both that network and at NBC News, where he is the chief legal correspondent. He will also serve as an anchor during some of MSNBC’s daytime coverage, as well as a substitute host on NBC’s “Today” show, Mr. Griffin said.

Maddow is smart, funny and representing herself (and her peeps) nicely. And someone finally convinced her to wear “some” lipstick. I realize lipstick is a superficial thing and Maddow isn’t that sort of woman, but this is TV. Even the dudes wear make up. It’s part of the uniform. As long as it’s subtle and they don’t try to doll her up like Dolly Parton she should be cool.

Rock on you crazy liberal.

Also, The New York Post is reporting that the Big “O” — Oprah Winfrey, not Barack Obama — is considering stopping her narcissistic reign as the sole cover model of her O Magazine.

But Oprah’s peeps are denying any such thing:

Oprah Winfrey is super-busy, so it’s no surprise she’d want to delegate her more tedious duties. One source said, “Oprah has told the editors at O magazine she’s tired of being on the cover every month. It’s a pain. It takes a lot of time and energy and she’s sick of it. She’s given them six months to figure out what to do without her.” Meanwhile, the magazine’s newsstand sales are down 17 percent from last year and circulation is down 1.7 percent. A rep for the monthly said, “Oprah Winfrey has appeared on the cover of O . . . since its launch in 2000, and she will continue to do so. In fact, shoots for three upcoming covers will take place in early September.”

Her ego is still that huge. She wants, needs to be on the cover, so stop hating if she’s so flipping rich she can put herself on the cover of her own mag and sell self-help and diet tips to the world.

Written by blacksnob

August 21, 2008 at 2:49 pm

Satire: Drug of Choice

with 4 comments

A few weeks ago I wrote this mini-satirical play after writing about the media’s obsession with The Clintons, particularly Chris Matthews‘ obsession with them, and how-oh-how would they get high without their “Clinton Crack.” It still seemed relevant since the media has started to transfer off the Clinton Crack to 24-7 Obama Obsession. Since I’m a tad busy today, and this bit didn’t quite fit for the SCAN blog, I thought I’d share with you my ode to political press addiction starring Matthews, political pundit Andrea Mitchell and MSNBC’s Countdown host Keith Olbermann:

It’ll Get You High.”

Setting: MSNBC studios. Chris Matthews is sitting at the “Hardball” set reading through the script while Andrea Mitchell sits across from him also reading her notes. Both look a little out of sorts, especially Andrea who keeps scratching herself and is sweating profusely. They both look jittery and stressed as they prepare for tonight’s show.

Chris Matthews: (Reading over his script for “Hardball”) Tonight! Surrogates gone wild? Jesse Jackson is caught making an off air mumble that’s become a mess for … I (slamming down the script) … I can’t do this. It’s just … it’s just not the same! I need my Clinton Crack! (scratching underarms) I’m jonesing over here! Look, Andrea! My face is all bloated and red!

Andrea Mitchell: (Involuntarily twitching) Your face is always bloated and red, you ignominious bastard! There would still be some Clinton Crack if you hadn’t smoked it all!

Chris: (To himself) I can’t go back.

Andrea: (Wiping nose, suddenly calm) I sometimes huff paint thinner.

Chris: Really? Does it work?

Andrea: It’ll get you high. I mean, if you’re desperate.

Chris: I don’t know. You said that about Romney refeer and all it did was make me gain 20 pounds and buy a bunch of Marie Osmond records. I guess I could try that Brangelina stuff, but that seems more like a kid’s party drug.

Andrea: I lost 10 pounds doing Brangelina, but I also stopped sleeping, had sex with Billy Bob Thorton and adopted six Ugandan orphans.

ENTER KEITH OLBERMANN

Keith Olbermann enters the set, walking by, looking peppy.

Chris: How do you do it Keith? Your eyes are always so glassy and you always look so happy, despite being nebbish and tense and kind of killjoy. What are you on? And don’t say Ron Paul freebase because Jack Cafferty sold me a sack of that shit and it does not work!

Keith looks left-to-right then leans in to take a seat next to Chris and Andrea.

Keith Olbermann: (whispers) I have something TEN TIMES more potent than Clinton Crack.

Chris: I’m interested.

Keith: Obama Opium.

Chris: Opium? They still make that?

Keith: No. Not just regular opium. Obama Opium. It’s the main ingredient in Black Tar Heroin.

Chris: I think they liked to be called African American now.

Keith: What?

Chris: It would be African American Tar Heroin. You know? I thought you were more racially sensitive than that? Whatever. Forget about it. Tell me about the drugs. Where did you get it?

Keith: Well, you can’t tell anyone.

Chris: This is just between you me and Andrea.

Andrea: (twitching) Did you just say you had some Clinton Crack?

Keith: No.

Andrea: Because we’d have some if Chris hadn’t smoked it all!

Chris: I get it, Andrea! I’m a fat bastard. All right, Keith. Tell us. Where did you get the stuff?

Keith: (mumbles) Muurrr-murrrr.

Chris: What? Speak up. Why are you mumbling?

Keith: Sean Hannity.

Chris: What?

Keith: I got it through Alan Combs from Sean Hannity. I was desperate. It so hard to act like I give a shit night after night. I just needed a little something to take the edge off. I used to snort that Bush Blow, but it doesn’t work like it used to. Plus it made me really, really angry. Or maybe that was just the Rove ‘Roids. I was trying to lose weight. I just needed something to even me out and Combs told me Sean was smoking the Big O every night. He hooked me up.

Chris: Does it work?

Keith: Oh (smiling) … it’ll get you high.

Chris: Can you boil it down like real Heroin because I just want to take a shot of Barack and put it in a hypodermic needle and shoot it right into my eye ball?

Keith: I think I have a spoon around here somewhere.

Chris: I’m excited about this. I mean, I’ve been using Clinton Crack since 1992. It was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. But I only partied with it. Nothing serious. Then one day, boom, it was gone. I forgot about it. Didn’t touch anything. But then they came back. And there was just so much of it. I didn’t really pace myself. So … so I’m in deep shit. I mean. I gotta have it. I need it. I want it. But they cut me off. I asked James Carville two months ago if I could get 5 grams of Bubba for $50 and that son-of-a-bitch said “Drug store’s closed.” Can you believe that? Drug store’s closed! I’ve had to get my Clinton Crack through Andrea ever since.

Andrea: Alan got me hooked.

Keith: Alan Combs?

Andrea: Alan Greenspan. They still talk sometimes.

Keith: (to Chris while cooking the drugs) Don’t go crazy with this. Alan said Hannity’s been hitting it so hard he almost OD’ed while watching some Rev. Wright footage Sunday. He’s sobriety partners with Rush Limbaugh now.

Chris: I bet Rush does a lot of this stuff.

Keith: Nah. He’s on Nicorette and OxyContin-laced Twinkies dipped in embalming fluid now.

Andrea: They call them “RushBaughs.” I tried that once and I woke up fully dressed in a bathtub full of water after a party at Brian Williams’ house. Brian doesn’t do drugs but Willard Scott was passing them out. I just thought they were hor’ devours. One minute I was dancing to Starland Vocal Band and making out with Ann Curry, then the next I was up to my neck in warm, soapy water. It was sooo awkward when Brian asked me to pass him the soap. He has very nice abs for such a boring man.

Keith: Wait … he was?

Andrea: He said he didn’t want to wake me, but regained consciousness when my head slipped underwater and I almost inhaled his loofah. And that’s not a euphemism. I was actually gagging on a his sponge.

Keith finishes cooking the Obama Opium and draws it into a hypodermic needle.

Keith: You kissed Ann Curry? What was that like?

Andrea: She tasted like cocaine and strawberries.

Chris: (Annoyed) Enough with the chit chat! Let’s do this. (Rolls up sleeve and ties belt around forearm) Get me high, mother fucker!

Written by blacksnob

July 15, 2008 at 2:35 pm