MSNBC’s slogan is “The Place for Politics,” but since the death of Michael Jackson it has become the place for mundane, endless coverage of Michael Jackson. If you don’t believe me, check out the video of the lead stories last night for Hardball, The Ed Show, and Countdown. MSNBC can’t cover Iran, but they are all over Michael Jackson.
Here is the lead segment on Hardball:
Hardball devoted 25% of the show to a discussion about a potential custody battle over Jackson’s kids. I can’t think of a topic that is any less relevant to politics. At least all week, guest host Chuck Todd has been apologetic and promising viewers that the show will get back to politics, but more on this later.
Here is a segment from The Ed Show on Michael Jackson and Dinah Ross:
I guess being the least watched opinion show on MSNBC has its benefits, because Schultz has had to devote fewer minutes per show to Michael Jackson than his fellow MSNBC hosts. (Note to MSNBC: Please organize Schultz’s videos in the same manner as all of your other shows. They are organized into segment categories and not by date. I could not find Thursday night’s lead segment on the show site).
Here is Countdown which devoted two segments to Michael Jackson on Thursday night:
Apparently this wasn’t enough because they also used Jackson as their number one story:
Countdown devoted 13 minutes to Jackson last night, which, by the way, was the one week anniversary of his death. Olbermann must be thanking his lucky stars that he went on vacation. This week Countdown has become the nightly Jackson show, but it is still better off than Rachel Maddow’s program which has been bumped several times for Jackson coverage.
MSNBC kept on going with the coverage today as they labeled the announced memorial arrangements, and the fact that a powerful sedative was found in his home breaking news:
It is no coincidence that all of MSNBC’s political shows had to devote so much airtime to Michael Jackson. This is a decision that came from the higher ups at the network to go with all Jackson all of the time. However, this makes a network that wants to be known for their political coverage look small time. MSNBC has descending into the realm of cheesy celebrity death coverage.
I understood the Jackson coverage when it was breaking news, but to continue with it a week later is nothing but a ratings grab. Chuck Todd hasn’t been the only anchor who has been almost apologetic for the soap opera like coverage of Jackson. At one time or another all of the hosts have noted that they will get back to politics, which is a subtle way of saying, the boss is making me do this.
MSNBC had already ticked off loyal viewers by not providing live weekend coverage of major news stories like the aftermath of the Iranian election. Now they follow up their neglect of Iran with endless Michael Jackson coverage. How can MSNBC be taken seriously when it devotes more airtime to the dead King of Pop then it does to true breaking news story like the Iranian election was? Loyal viewers of MSNBC have a right to be annoyed with the network and their misplaced priorities.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association