MSNBC Moves Further Left, Air America Host Gets Own Show

August 19th, 2008 9:32 PM

NBC News has responded to John McCain's protest concerning biased election coverage by giving one of the most left-leaning members of the media -- a host from the ultra-liberal radio network Air America -- her own prime time program on MSNBC.

Honestly, how much further to the left can this network go?

While you ponder, this is what the New York Times reported just a few hours ago (h/t TVNewser via Hot Air):

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.

Believe it or not -- and as disgusting as it might seem to folks wondering if there's a such thing as impartial journalism anymore! -- MSNBC isn't trying to hide this move as a further shift to left:

MSNBC has put heavy emphasis this year on presidential election coverage (it has given itself the tag line, “The Place for Politics”) and has turned to Ms. Maddow frequently both as a guest and as a substitute for the network’s most popular host, Keith Olbermann. Mr. Olbermann’s emergence as the signature personality on the network has led to an unofficial rebranding of MSNBC as the liberal alternative to Fox News, which is dominated by conservative hosts like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity.

MSNBC has been known to be seeking a way to capitalize to a greater degree on Mr. Olbermann’s popularity. A program hosted by Ms. Maddow will almost certainly be a closer ideological fit with Mr. Olbermann’s.

Imagine that. These folks are actually trying to leverage the popularity of the most hateful and biased person on the airwaves today. Isn't that special?

Maddow, of course, is quite pleased:

“This is great; getting a regular cable show is something I’ve wanted,” Ms. Maddow said.

Adding journalistic insult to journalist injury, Olbermann actually took credit for this abomination at Daily Kos Tuesday:

Let me answer the key questions in advance:
1) No, she will not be serving as a VeeJay introducing music clips or cartoons.
2) No, I don't think we have the name of the show chosen yet. She wanted to use "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" and I said, that's where I draw the line.
3) No, the format isn't set, though there have been a lot of discussions out there and they have all centered on how to best allow her to both give her laser-quality insights while soliciting the opinions of others.
4) Yes, I had something to do with it.
5) Yes, you had something to do with it.

Excuse me, because I have to throw up, wash my hands, and disinfect my keyboard -- not necessarily in that order.

I'm amongst yourselves.

Post facto aside: what's really amazing about this announcement is that the very folks who are applauding this move by MSNBC view Fox News as a shamefully biased network. Yet, much like Olbermann, Maddows likely won't have ANY conservatives on her show to present even the slightest bit of balance.

Of course, by contrast, Fox News prides itself in always having liberal pundits as guests. Why is it liberals don't understand this extraordinarily obvious distinction?

Yes, that's a rhetorical question. 

Update 5:41 | Matthew Sheffield. Bill Carter of the New York Times follows up with a brief interview with Maddow. Key quote:

As for being branded another partisan voice from the left, Ms. Maddow said she was no more partisan than any other host in cable. “I am who I am,” she said. She dismissed the expected criticism from the right, saying, “Everybody likes to work the refs to make their own kind of political hay.”

 Yes you read that correctly.

Missing from any of the punditry on this issue is how MSNBC's ratings strategy can't work long term. Democrats already have a channel they like to watch, CNN. Being a more cartoony left version of CNN isn't going to make loyal CNN viewers switch over to see what's up. This is not a rising tide lifts all boats scenario.