Wednesday, November 27, 2013

MSNBC Ya Later

I feel bad for Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes, who are smart, thoughtful and fact-based news figures. They deserve better than to be stuck on MSNBC, which is free-falling into irrelevance at best, and, at worst, becoming an embarrassment to liberals. Liberals who, I might add, have never followed that network in the numbers or mindless devotion of those wedded to Fox "news."

MSNBC hired Alec Baldwin, of all people, to do a nightly show, after he'd made it pretty clear he has a tendency toward malicious outbursts on some occasions, whether on voicemails or to reporters. After a brief time and another homophobic rant, he's been excused from further service. And why not?

Ed Shultz, now back in the good graces of the network, took a forced vacation after some less-than thoughtful remarks. He's a smart guy, but a pale imitation of the vituperative anger of a Rush Limbaugh. What's the point?

And now, the Martin Bashir thing: beyond tasteless comments about Sarah Palin. (Yeah, all she needs is more reason to play the martyr, and to get lots of face time and money to pitch it.) Worse, he's apparently and inexplicably suffered no consequences for his feculence. Chris Matthews, when asked to comment on the episode, refused. Cowardice under fire. Or orders. I can only assume -- hope, anyway -- that Maddow and Hayes are deeply pissed at being associated with this mess, no matter how indirectly.

I quit watching MSNBC regularly in the Olbermann era, when I tired of him trotting out the same people every night to agree with him. I didn't often disagree with him or his stooges; I just decided that, unlike teabagging Foxolimbeckians, I didn't need constant reinforcement of my thoughts (or, in the case of the Foxified, the lack thereof.)

This latest is inexcusable. If liberals don't need propaganda the way today's Republicans seem to, at least they're entitled to have a media outlet that provides intelligent, factual, and thoughtful analysis; one to which they could point as an example of meaningful and insightful commentary, in contrast to the dissembling that passes for it on Fox. That's what Maddow and Hayes do, consistently. The rest of them have become no more than hacks. (Admittedly, I say that having watched, for several years now, only the occasional online clip.) Is their management under the impression that to succeed they need to be controversial? Are they of the opinion that liberals will flock there if they provide it?

Not me. Not the people I know. I think Rachel and Chris need to find a new outlet (is there one?) and let the rest of them sink from view.

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