Ex-MSNBC employee David Shuster described his former network as a “mouthpiece for the [Obama] administration” in a National Journal article looking at the cable network’s very real ratings crisis. The left-wing Schuster says, “When you’re too predictably a mouthpiece for the administration and you cast your lot with the president’s performance, there’s a risk.”
Other than hitching their wagon to a president who is currently upside down on job approval in almost every recent poll, to explain the ratings decline, Shuster also pointed to the superior production values at Fox News and the “high-brow nature” of the third (and sometimes fourth)-place networks primetime lineup.
The production values argument doesn’t make much sense. MSNBC is a very well-produced network, much better produced than CNN, a network that is currently cleaning MSNBC’s clock. As far as the “high-brow” MSNBC primetime lineup (Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, Lawrence O’Donnell, etc.) that doesn’t explain the network’s overall fall in ratings throughout the day.
MSNBC’s problem is that it is nothing more than liberal talk radio with pictures. This is a news network that breaks almost no news. It’s all left-wing analysis and happy talk for liberals who want to be reassured they are right. With all the real news that has been breaking this year, people want information and know they have to turn the channel to get it.
It would not surprise me, however, to see MSNBC only compound its ratings problem with its base in the wake of the NSA leak stories. MSNBC has almost uniformly stood steadfast with Obama, taking his and the government’s side, on the snooping and the hypocritical dishonestly of it all.
This is not sitting well with some leftists. What some on the left are likely realizing is that MSNBC is not a left-wing network, it is, as Shuster points out, an extension of the Obama administration.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC