According to Cenk, his numbers at MSNBC were good but the management expressed other concerns. Or perhaps the more accurate way to say it is, the management relayed the concerns of others.
This comes in two parts. I’m going to highlight the details that seem significant, but feel free to listen to the whole thing. First, Cenk describes being called in by Phil Griffin, the head of MSNBC. People “in Washington” have a problem with his tone. Scroll to about 3:27 in this clip and listen to the next 90 seconds, up through the part about having more Republicans on his show:
Now at this point, it’s not clear what the issue is. MSNBC”s Phil Griffin has heard from “people in Washington” and they’ve asked him to tone it down. Are these people complaining about the show conservatives or progressives? It’s not clear. But if you jump over to this account of the same story in the NY Times, it’s a bit clearer:
In April, he said, Mr. Griffin “called me into his office and said that he’d been talking to people in Washington, and that they did not like my tone.” He said he guessed Mr. Griffin was referring to White House officials, though he had no evidence for the assertion. He also said that Mr. Griffin said the channel was part of the “establishment,” and “that you need to act like it.”
MSNBC is home to many hosts who criticize President Obama and other Democrats from a progressive point of view, but at times Mr. Uygur could be especially harsh.
And that dovetails with what he says later in his video explanation. Skip in to about 2:28 and listen to about a minute of this clip:
Did Phil Griffin relay a message from the Obama administration that they didn’t appreciate the tough talk? That sure seems to be the story. Then again, maybe they fired Cenk for taking 17 minutes of air time to tell a simple story at the end of which you still aren’t really sure what happened. That could be it as well.