Zurawik: 'TV Journalism Diminished in Public Mind' Due to MSNBC's Election Coverage

November 7th, 2010 7:57 PM

The Baltimore Sun's media critic is still fuming about MSNBC's pathetic coverage on election night.

In his piece published Saturday, David Zurawik called the cable news network a "liberal prep school" while claiming the behavior of folks like Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Lawrence O'Donnell, and Keith Olbermann was "so egregious" that the "entire realm of TV journalism was diminished in the public mind":

It's not high school with cable TV salaries, as one news executive once explained it to me trying to account for the adolescent behavior and attitudes of its hosts. No, it's a weird, little, liberal prep school. It's not very good academically, but it cost lots of money to get in. The editor of the literary magazine is Olbermann, and his protege is Maddow, the poetry editor. And now, the poetry editor is upset because Keith was suspended for breaking one of the school rules.

And she's so upset she's going to demand his immediate reinstatement. But what is she going to do if he is not reinstated? Nothing, because that would involve paying a price, however small, for her convictions. And if she walked off in protest, who would publish her self-absorbed, snarky poems?

Poor MSNBC President Phil Griffin, having to play headmaster to this crew of emotional 15-year-olds.

Oh, and by the way, listen to her faux high rhetoric, "Let this incident lay to rest...." It's like she and O'Donnell think they are writing the Gettysburg Address instead of hosting cable TV shows viewed by minuscule audiences compared to those watching Fox News. Let's call it the rhetoric of false self-importance. Really, in all the seminars I had to take to earn a Ph.D. I never heard one person talk the ridiculous hotdog way O'Donnell and Maddow do on these videos -- and a lot of the folks in those seminar rooms were pretty smart. This isn't about intelligence. It's about posturing on TV.

Indeed. The folks on MSNBC, much like our current president, fashion themselves as being smarter than everyone else in America, and are constantly going out of their way to try to prove it.

In the end, this is likely why their ratings are so low: only people that are similarly taken with themselves likely appreciate the smug arrogance on display.

Unfortunately for them and their network, there just aren't enough pompous, self-absorbed, holier than thou people in the nation that want to spend their time watching other pompous, self-absorbed, holier than thou people.

Most folks like that want the stage for themselves.

The upside is that if MSNBC's hosts and anchors continue to behave this way, they'll all be doing solo acts soon.

Stay tuned.