Phil Griffin, MSNBC president, ordered a cessation of the network's "left lean" in early 2015. The MSNBC executive edict is wearing on the network as it is floundering around like a fish out of water seeking a water hose.
The nascent news programming during the mid morning hours is a welcome change. Yet, the positives cease at that point. Outside on my personal appreciation for some degree of progressive programming to offset e shifty CNN and the outright right wing dogma at Fox, MSNBC is dying a slow death. Or, the network is strategically moving to the Right, on a Just-in-Time basis as we move towards 2016. If the latter is the case, it will be impossible to avoid contemplation of the prospect powerful oligarchs have called-in their marks on cohort network power brokers. Why move away from the Left during such tumultuous political times? Even if the network consistently ranked third behind Fox and CNN, where is the network to go for a market niche. The current lean towards entrainment cable TV, is ludicrous and actually not very well done.
With all respect for their legacies, MSNBC continues to run host who have considerable issues reading the broadcast teleprompters (Andrea Mitchell and Al Sharpton cases in point). Love Al, but he has never mastered the art of reading his news or show lines. While Lawrence O'Donnell continues to flash progressive broadcast relevant and brilliance, his nascent reach to entertainment news is frankly, disturbing (eg. Justin Bieber, The Simpsons, etc.). I plan to visit a The Last Word segment that offers this progressive a brief respite in a sea of the floundering network.
On a day when multiple media reported record low unemployment claims for last week, Chris Hayes ALL In, broadcast a report, that truly astounded. The 19 minute segment left me with the impression someone in Hayes management chain, or Hayes himself felt the need to provide a broadcast rationale for the all too often police shootings. I doubt one viewer prior to the broadcast failed to recognize that police reaction to immediate situations. The need to have a cop reinforce firing until the threat is taken-out seemed a bit Fox Newish. Additionally, we have seen enough evidence of cops shooting until the subject is taken out (exhibit one, exhibit two). Of course, Hayes wouldn't be party to such an in-your-face rationalization of cop murder, but I was left in wonderment about the motive, the point and effectiveness of the 19 minutes. Would it be a stretch to seek much deeper reasons for weapon firing via cops? Instead of the "danger of cops" segment, how about MSNBC exploring , hiring practices, social behavior modification, and community involvement programs?
I post such broadcast segments would garner few viewers and would certainly not appeal as up coming broadcast segment. Images and tape of Hayes in a situation simulator for most Americans is far more appealing to most than tape about police human factors.
Hayes ended his show with a less than three minute segment with actor and activists Danny Glover regarding the US Postal Service. Glover's parents were both employees of the Postal Service and the segment provided a snippet of interest, but think about the prospect of actually exploring why the GOP wants to privatize the Postal Service. What got us here vs. a flash of an actor to garner entertainment value and only for a matter of a few seconds.
Since the Simpsons is apparently the longest running comedy show on American television, I will defer the payment of such a long Last Word segment for another piece. I will retain my criticism of the fact no MSNBC host (and production team) touched upon the record low claims for unemployment payments (last week).
Fox News covering such news is a stretch, in fact unfathomable, and CNN is too busy chasing "camera excitement" stories. MSNBC's edict to lean away from the Left, is a new and disappointing reality. The dropping unemployment rate is news conservative power brokers and conservative media for some reason finds less than stellar. Where is media that actually avoids the politics and backroom power brokering, and actually reports news. The Simpsons may be a popular show for some (I wouldn't know, I have never even viewed the show), but it pales in relevance to real news that affects the nation.
Let's close with a piece broadcast last night on the The Last Word, before the extended Simpson's segment, that truly provides a glow of life to a network that is being forced to lean away from progressive America.
In fairness, there isn't much cable news better than Lawrence O'Donnell's "ReWrites." Unless you consider The Daily Show Cable News.
UPDATE: You may notice Johnny Depp's dog's illegally transported to Australia has garnered coverage on the Last Word (May 14) and again this afternoon.