How Dumping Keith Olbermann and Martin Bashir Killed MSNBC


MSNBC is in big trouble. Ratings are falling. Revenue is declining. The network lacks direction, and the problems all began when Keith Olbermann left, and Martin Bashir was removed.

Justin Baragona and I discussed MSNBC’s issues on today’s edition of Politicus Radio.

Listen to the show:

Online Politics Radio at Blog Talk Radio with Jason Easley and Sarah Jones on BlogTalkRadio

Politico’s Dylan Byers summed up MSNBC’s troubles:

MSNBC suffered harder loses in 2013 — in terms of both viewership and revenue — than either of its competitors at Fox News and CNN, according to Nielsen data featured in a new Pew Research report. Prime-time viewership declined by a staggering 24 percent (nearly twice the loss sustained by CNN and four-times that sustained by Fox News). Daytime viewership fell by 15 percent, even as it rose at both of the other networks.

On the revenue side, MSNBC was projected to decline by 2 percent, while both CNN and Fox News were projected to experience growth of 2 percent and 5 percent, respectively. MSNBC was expected to bring in $475 million in revenue: less than half what CNN will make and roughly one-quarter of what Fox News will make.

MSNBC’s decline can be traced back to one decision. At the time, when he let Keith Olbermann walk out the door, MSNBC boss Phil Griffin believed that his network’s brand was strong enough to replace the former 8 PM host. Griffin was wrong.

After Lawrence O’Donnell  had failed, Griffin put Ed Schultz in the 8 PM slot. Griffin shuffled Schultz off to the weekends because he believed that MSNBC could attract more young viewers by developing several clones of Rachel Maddow’s successful 9 PM show. Phil Griffin decided to go wonky with Chris Hayes at 8, which led to many former MSNBC viewers leaving and not coming back.

Hayes has been a disaster at 8 PM, and viewer demand for Schultz was so strong that the blue collar populist was put back on to the weekday lineup at 5 PM.

MSNBC was floundering, and Griffin made things worse by caving to Sarah Palin and the right by defacto firing Martin Bashir for some blunt comments that he made about the former half term Alaska governor.

Bashir never has the audience that Olbermann did, but his removal from 4 PM sent a message to MSNBC’s viewers. Lean Forward was just a marketing slogan. When push came to shove, MSNBC easily caved to right-wing pressure.

The collective result of all these decisions is the alienation of viewers, declining ratings, diminishing revenues, and a total lack of identity.

MSNBC keeps getting younger, while their viewers are an average of 55. Rachel Maddow is an amazing talent, but the ratings have made it clear that viewers don’t want a whole network full of Maddow copies. The “wonk model” that Phil Griffin put into place has been a total failure.

Even at their worst, CNN was still profitable. It is hard not turn a profit in the day and age of talking head cable news, but MSNBC’s revenues are declining.

MSNBC angered viewers when they pushed Olbermann out the door, and they trashed their reputation with the way they handled the Bashir scandal.

Viewers are moving away from MSNBC, because the network isn’t listening to them. There is a huge untapped audience out there for a left of center news network. MSNBC blew it by getting rid of the hosts that viewers loved, and not giving the people what they want.


91 Replies to “How Dumping Keith Olbermann and Martin Bashir Killed MSNBC”

  1. Not to mention the fact that Al Jazera America started broadcasting on most cable and satellite providers. Giving both the liberal left and central middle both a viable alternative to the opinion based news of FOX, CNN, and MSNBC.
    I have almost completely stopped watching the big three news channels in favor of the news/fact based style of Al Jazera.

  2. I doubt Olbermann would return, although I miss him too. He’s settled back at sports, and I suspect he doesn’t have the incentive to ‘return to the fold’ even if they were to offer. I would love to see an evening of Olberman, Schultz, Maddow & the Young Turks, but I don’t think it’s going to happen…at least not at MSNBC.

  3. Get rid of Chris Matthews as a lead in to the evening. He’s polarizing, talks over his guests, screams, and is not well liked by the audience. I agree with Mr. Hogenson: bring back Obermann and put Ed Schultz back where he belongs. Chris Hayes is OK, but not as a host.

  4. I was very unhappy with your dumping Keith Olbermann, but then when you fired Martin Bashir, you did a severe disservice to your viewers. He was not only knowledgeable, but very gentlemanly no matter what he said. I don’t even know who many of your younger people are. I would like to see your lineup like it used to be with Chris Matthews at 5pm and 7pm and Schultz at 8. I think you should rehire Martin Bashir with a huge apology and put him back at 4pm.
    You guys really messed up this time!

  5. I’m a long time fan of MSNBC. I think Maddow and Hayes are TV’s finest but after a few years of Olberman, I was done. I felt like a manipulated, crazed Fox News fan at the end of Keith’s show and I had to walk away from it. I didn’t watch Bashir but I think he got a raw deal.

  6. Amen! I started viewing MSNBC because of Olbermann and once he left, although extremely disappointed I leaped to Ed Schultz. Schultz & too a lesser extent Maddow are the last shows that resemble this media meme. Initially, I had issues w/ Bashir’s journalistic integrity based upon his reputation and other stories he’d covered like the scurrilous MJ interview. His razor sharp retorts delivered w/a gentile ease won me over. Giving Bashir his walking over that Palin bitch, she deserves to be ‘thislewooded’ angered me to know end.
    After all Palin’s targeting of Cong. Gifford on a FB page may have lead to the shooting that killed several folks including a 9 yr old girl.

    Both men are sorely missed. Current hosts are nice but most haven’t been able to traverse the TV persona to the journalistic content w/out a heavy dose of youthful dullness, not to mention an overabundance of nepotism.
    Griffin is the one person remaining at MSNBC who should’ve been the FIRST to be released, he purpo…

  7. It has been very disappointing to watch MSNBC’s decline. For me the final nail in the coffin may have been promoting Ronan (Satchel) Farrow, someone with absolutely no journalistic experience and a reputation for spreading horrific slanders against the man who may or may not be his actual father (hey, if his own mother doesn’t know who his father is, how can he?). Not to mention continuing to allow a three hour infomercial for the Right Wing agenda every weekday morning. MSNBC still has some very talented people besides Ms. Maddow – Tamron Hall, for instance, and even Chris Hayes, despite the fact that he is clearly a not ready for prime time player. But if they continue to cave to the conservative mentality that controls most of the rest of American media, they are doomed.

  8. Olbermann was irreplaceable. I said that at the time, and hold to it today. Bashir just got a bad deal. Who gives into Sarah Palin anyway? Right now Maddow and Hayes are the only ones worth your time on MSNBC.

  9. MSNBC will not be successful trying to attract younger viewers because that demographic gets their news from internet sites and podcast. They need to figure out a new format that emulates some internet sites.
    Also bury the hatchet with Keith and bring him back. Most of us don’t care that he was an asshole off the air we liked him because he took on Fox News daily just to antagonize billo the clown. And you might want to consider getting rid of Phil griffin just saying if I made that many bad decisions at work I would be fired.

  10. I started warching MSNBC because of the excellent Keith Olbermann. Though I am still a huge Maddow fan, and rarely miss her, the network made a huge mistake in getting rid of KO. Like a lot of others, I was skeptical of Bashir because of the MJ interview. After watching a few times, I came him. Whether you liked or disliked Bashir, I agree that caving to the right wing by firing him was a mistake. What Bashir said about the half-wit Governor pales in comparison to what is said on the other networks about the President of this country!My loyalty to the network has started to wane. Even “Morning Joe” seems more and more like something transplant from the other network. Though a faithful viewer of that morning staple for years, I flip the channel as soon as I see Nicolle Wallace. Who in the hell made THAT decision?

  11. I think the article and commenters are right that MSNBC made a big journalistic mistake in firing Bashir. They should’ve stood their ground. They also made a ratings/business error in forcing Olbermann out. That said, Hayes’s ratings may not be very good at 8pm but as a show, it is still insightful and informative. Of course, it is not nearly as insightful or informative as UP was and Chris has developed some prime-time showmanship tics that are a bit unsettling to this long-time viewer of his. Also, there is no doubt that moving Schultz alienated a good part of the audience, which is unfortunate. I thought that in 2012 they had settled on a solid lineup and Griffin should’ve stuck with it. All the cable news networks were going to see drops in ratings following an election year but Griffin repeatedly overestimates the network’s brand and undervalues its audience. That said, I’d watch Maddow, Hayes, and O’Donnell no matter what network or time they’re on.

  12. I liked Olberman, and I really liked Bashir. I doubt Olberman would ever return, I can’t blame him. Why they gave in to Palin was beyond me. They preach freedom of speech and when Bashir went off on Palin they give in and fire him, what a load. I like Maddow even though she kind of gets single minded now and then. My favorite now is Ed Schultz. I don’t see a bright future for MSNBC.

  13. I was a huge MSNBC junkie for many,many years. I watched it hours on end and loved every minute of it. Then, Keith was fired!! I had a hard time with that, still do. I adjusted, however, and fell in love with Rachel’s show. I stopped watching the morning line-up altogether because of Morning Joe and Chuck what’s his name. Martin was wonderful and it pissed me off when he was let go over the likes of Palin. I watch so little now, mainly Hardball and Rachel’s show, with Ed and Alex Wagner thrown in occasionally. I will never watch Fox and CNN bores the crap out of me. I now depend on the internet for most of my news, but I miss the personal experience of listening to human voices. Phil Griffin has ruined my once favorite channel and so many of my friends and family feel the way I do.

  14. Its the little things also.

    What’s with all the apologizing? The Melissa Harris Perry thing was pathetic. There were like 5 apologies and the HEAD of MSNBC issued an apology.

    Then the tweet thing. Phil actually fired someone over a tweet. Made it PUBLIC that he fired some lowly tweeter.

    Phil Griffin is nothing more than a baby sitter. The guy knows nothing about running a cable news channel.

  15. Firstly, Morning Joe is a complete turnoff, who wants to hear GOP talking points first thing in the morning, I might as well watch Fox. KO was delightful to watch, and I thoroughly enjoyed his show. Martin Bashir was a delight, and MSNBC needs to seriously reconsider their decision to remove him from the air.I used to watch MSNBC every day for about three hours, now I watch for two hours every other week.

  16. Caving in to right wing pressure is a huge mistake. Now they won’t shut up and now they’re trying to get Mozilla CEO reinstated because they are now drunk with power.

    Stop caving to these jerks.

  17. They should never have changed what was working. I made it a point to watch Matthews,Keith,Maddow and Shultz. Now I barely watch them anymore. They need to replace Griffin because he doesn’t realize what he had. Bring back Bashir and Keith. Then watch people will come back. You don’t see Fox taking their extremist off tv.

  18. MSNBC needs to recreate MSNBC and get rid of MoUrning Joke,Chuckie Todd & especially Gregory who hosts “Meet the TeathugliKKKans” every Sunday Morning or the ship will sink..

  19. Martin Bashir should be re-hired for the 4p.m. slot. Moving Thomas Roberts to the early morning was a huge mistake. Chris Hayes should be replaced by Ari Maybe Lawrence O’Donnell could replace Chris Matthews. Grffin needs to be fired.

  20. I use to watch MSNBC everyday, but became disenchanted when they started to sound like Fox News & bashing PBO. They sounded like every other network, giving one side of issues, usually the most sensational.

    And don’t get me started on Chris Matthews. I agree w/ everything said about him, talks over guests, spits at guests & at times bashing PBO. Another thing w/ him, the deal about why PBO isn’t like Lincoln or FDR. That was another era & time.

    Anyhoo, I do not watch MSNBC anymore!

  21. Bring back Bashir and consider John Fuglesang, he would be a great addition
    to the evening lineup. Come on Mr.Griffin, lets grow a set.

  22. Bashir was the only show I watched for a long time. Palin deserved the trashing. He was funny & sharp. It was after a string of comments she made that clearly was meant to race bait against Obama. Get the Tea Party all riled up. Ronan Farrow is probably a nice guy. But his show is dreadful. He’s another one that just loves 2 pretend the both sides are to blame bullshit. I don’t watch MSNBC to pretend the republicans are reasonable. I stopped watching ronan after 2 shows. I like Rachel but she goes off on long winded tangents that have nothing to do with the headlines. She’s best when she fights with the Kochs. Want to see more of that.

  23. The best way for MSNBC to lose more ratings is to have Chuck Todd fill in for regular hosts. He recently filled for Chris Matthews. I saw it was Todd, thought ughh, turned it off. Checked ratings the next day & it was lowest I ever saw for the show. The fox show opposite of it was like 5x better numbers.

  24. I agree with a comment above. The apologizing is ridiculous. Makes liberals look weak & afraid. Does Fox apologize. No they say something racist or horrible, deny it was bad & blame democrats. Ed Schultz recently called somebody in the GOP lying bastards. I knew MSNBC would make him eat his words. They didn’t because they knew he’d refuse to grovel.

  25. Keith was my HERO, he’d rip republicans a new one and I loved it! But MSNBC isn’t a liberal cable network! see your typical republican is so dim witted that ANY program that doesn’t french kiss the GOP’s wrinkled old AS$ in their opinion is LIBERAL. MSNBC is what democrats are to liberals! it’s all TALK but no guts! I don’t brother with MSNBC! other than Rachel Maddow or ED MSNBC is pretty much irrelevant to me.

  26. BTW if MSNBC wants to be a player again PHIL GRIFFIN has to be FIRED!!! has FUX- LIKE format is embarrassing!! I realize it’s ALL about MONEY!! but somebody needs to tell GRIFFIN that you can make money being a real LIBERAL network! not like some GUTLESS, WEAK, ALWAYS APOLOGIZING, BUFFOONS! FUX NEWS doesn’t apologize for ANYTHING!! they basically broadcast KLU KLUX KLAN meetings with a john birch society chaser and don’t of DAMN about what decent human beings think

  27. Sure, Phil Griffin got rid of Olbermann, Cenk, and Bashir, but at least he’s keeping Gregory.

    Sounds like a big F**K YOU to MSNBC viewers, and they (management) wonder why the network is falling off a cliff.

    Maybe us little people really do have a voice after all.

  28. Three of the best MSNBC shows are gone. When they let Dyaln Ratigan, Martin Bashir and Keith Olbermann leave you could see the spice go out of the network. If it were not for Ed Shultz and Rachel Maddow there would be no reason to watch MSNBC.
    I used to watch Morning Joe but I got tired of Joe’s constant and rude interruptions of everyone around the table in order to get in his Republican talking points. Watching Joe is like watching Fix News.

  29. I have a sort of love, hate relationship with Matthews. He’s all over the map. He has major mood swings. One day Obama is a great man, the next he wishes Hillary would have beat him in 2008. I don’t know how regulars like David Corn put up with him.

  30. I agree-they’re the only ones worth watching during the week – especially fond of Rachel . All of the left leaning media are now owned by conservatives now so it’s only going to get worse . If Rachel goes I’ll be getting my news from Stewart and Colbert .

  31. Schultz should be on the 8pm slot again. He is the one that appeals to the regular joe folks the best. I’d like to see Olbermann return too, but doubt he will unless things go sour with the sports channel. There are other things they can do as well, like shortening the segments by a bit (as average attention spans rarely go more than 5 minutes), having larger conversations, and throwing in regular news updates at the top of the hour.

  32. Simply go back to being a news station. Do what AJ America is doing. Prove their is a world past the Washington city limits.

    I will not watch MSNBC even if there is a breaking news story. Chris Mathews has killed it for me, Ed is a turncoat waiting to happen. There is no place left for Rachel to go. Al Jazeera doesnt do opinion or partisan TV, CNN probably wont take her because it is owned and if she went to Fox life as we know it would end.

    I simply cant stand Mathews so much that he killed an entire network. And I had to pay extra to get MSNBC.

  33. I hope this is not true as am a big fan of MSNBC.

    If my eyes are not deceiving me, reading another article, shown below, was dated April 1. Was it a spoof?. I would like to believe it wasn’t.

    “MSNBC has it’s best quarter in a year.”

    Enjoy Schultz very much (although his radio show is better than his TV show) Matthews, Maddow and lastly, O’Donnell.

    Bashir never should have been let go nor Olberman. (What were they thinking.)

  34. I would love to see Randi Rhodes on MSNBC. Listen to her readio show every day. Randi calls it like it is. She is great

  35. I agree. I used to watch MSNBC every day. Then K.O. left and it wasn’t the same. I still watched and really liked Ed. When they moved him and placed him with Chris who is very nice but not forceful enough and rather bland I all but quit watching. I rarely watch now. I like MB and was disappointed that they let him go because of SP. She says what she wants about anyone she wants any place and any time but she cries foul when the tables are turned. If she can’t stand the heat she needs to get out of the kitchen. MB’s right to free speech was violated. I realize that MSNBC isn’t a true voice for liberal media. The only one brave enough to call Mitt a liar was The last Word as I can remember.

  36. Gina,
    I catch that too. Could it be due his Matthews’ diabetes/mood swings?

    He loves the president one day, the next the say he is bombing him.
    I can’t stand that in him. Not a true supporter of the president like I am.

  37. Randi Rhodes is PERFECTION! she’s slightly better than Keith, if the dems acted like her WE wouldn’t be in this MESS!! she would have called out the war criminals (INCLUDING SOME DEMS) and outted the koch cabal years ago!! Just look how long it took for harry reid to FINALLY find his voice!! I vote for Randi.

  38. Exactly. Why hasn’t Griffin been handed his walking papers? Something here just doesn’t smell right. Is he just a tool being used to turn this once “liberal” station into an echo of Fox News? Seriously, didn’t he show his colors by catering to Ms. Palin’s hurt feefees?

  39. Hang in there MSNBC. Ratings will go up again as mid-term elections heat up. Get focused on Progressive issues with Progressive Hosts. As a Liberal-Progressive, I have no other place to go on TV or Radio to hear our point of view or at least a challenge to the GOP talking points. Joy Reid is a STAR of the same character as Rachel Maddow. If Morning Joe, Chuck Todd and David Gregory went to CNN, it would better suit their talents. I do not mind some criticism of my Party or my President, but I fully expect for MSNBC to thoroughly debunk GOP talking points. The network does not claim to be fair and balanced; please don’t be.

    I do not want MSNBC to fail, but have quit watching for awhile because I wanted to move beyond Groundhog Day. Soon, I shall watch again…

  40. I watch the entire MSNBC evening lineup just about every night. I agree with some of what was said – however, but for what it’s worth – I LOVE Chris Hayes! I think his Up Show was the best show on the network. He’s lost a bit of that when he went to prime time, but I still watch his show every day. And while Steve Kornacki is good – it’s not the same.

    I agree that MSNBC screwed up big time when the wimped out and fired Olbermann and Martin Bashir. They both spoke the truth – even if their egos got in the way from time to time.

    I think it’s time for MSNBC to really lean forward and hire Randi Rhodes. Unfortunately – they don’t have the nerve. You want an audience at 8pm – put Randi in there!

  41. MSNBC problems are not talent, but management. There was no way not to release Bashir. His grievous, filthy language was not appropriate, or forgivable.

    Many of the talking heads who are on MSNBC daily could do great shows. When you start the day off with Joe and Nicole what do you expect?

    MSNBC must make a statement and then hire available talent to back it up….

  42. I miss Keith Olbermann too! I wanted to cry when they canned Martin Bashir. I watch Rachel and Lawrence O’Donnell most.

    Joe Scarborough and Chuck TODD can just eat shit. I am so over THOSE two yutzes.

  43. I turn when Matthews comes on. He’s as bad as Joe Scarborough in that they’d both be better off of with a monologue. Guests get in the the way of their lectures. Too much JFK and Reagan in his remarks shilling his books. Those days are long gone and have no reference or relevance to the politics of today and tomorrow.

    Why so many 2016/Hillary Polls ALREADY? The focus had better be 2014 first and foremost, or else 2016 won’t mean very much. There’s a lot going on besides whether or not Hillary Clinton becomes President.

    He clearly wants a focus on the poor, working class, and lower middle classes in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. What he’s CLUELESS about is how this squares with the emerging less white New America. Sit back and wait your turn or something, Chris? But make sure you know your place and vote for us anyway. It’s not that simple any more.

  44. 1. I like Chris Hayes. He’s gracious and fair.
    2. I like Steve Kornacki, but TOO MUCH FOCUS on Chris Christie! Does his situation deserve SO much air time and focus compared to the other issues out there?
    3. I’d say the same about Rachel Maddow where Christie is concerned as well as abortion. Every night? Any interest or focus on adoption or the quality of life for the living? At least Bob McDonnell is no longer Governor of Virginia. That got old every night.

  45. Dump Scarborough & Mika Mouse,. Put griffin out to pasture also. Bring back Keith, Bashir & Cenk & let them do their stuff. Viewers will return & MSNBC will actually stand for something!

  46. Sylvie, I didn’t know Chris had diabetes. Could be why. He attacks his own guests out the blue. Like Nancy Grace. If it’s Repub opposition fine. But to turn against Obama on a dime? The Pres. has to fight malicious slander from Republicans daily. It’s a stab in the back for it to come from supporters because they’re having a bad day.

  47. I don’t know. It’s like Bashir fell of the face of the earth. No more twitter or facebook comments on his pages, nothing since he “resigned”. The only news I found is that he had a brain tumor in 2011 & was still recovering from the operation in 2013. I had no idea.

  48. I think Keith helped get himself fired, to be honest. He’s always had problems wherever he’s worked, even when he went to Current. That said, it’s apparent that Phil Griffin isn’t all that good as an executive, and the problems MSNBC has had as a result haven’t been helped by Comcast’s acquisition of the channel.

    Letting Bashir go was a huge mistake, a blatant cave to what was in reality much ado about nothing. The other mistakes since then have been flailing about trying to “appeal” to the youth demographic by giving shows to people who are blatantly not ready or suited for the format. Cenk’s ranting fit on YouTube, but didn’t work on network. Chris Hayes really can’t carry an hour for 5 days a week, Ronan Farrow is simply a celebrity kid, and so on. Get rid of Griffin, and revamp.

  49. I agree totally with comments re. the decline of MSNBC. Used to watch far more. Very disappointed with more right wing slant of late. I loved Olbermann and Bashir. Also think Rachel is the best and Lawrence O’Donnell. Like Steve Karnacki very much, too. Watch far less of Morning Joe (if at all) than I used to. Scarborough is absolutely insufferable. Loud-mouthed, smug buffoon. And he should lose the silly frat boy routine. Mika is worthless. No spine. Can’t stand Joe’ talking over people and hectoring. Show is always better when he is not on. And lose Nicole Wallace. I also tune out when she is on. Chris Matthews is the evening version of Scarborough – though on the left. Big-mouthed, opinionated, rude, won’t shut up and let people talk. Don’t care for Chris Hayes or Ronan Farrow. Could use more Luke Russert – he is excellent. Also liked Michael Smerconish when he was on.

  50. MSNBC made a huge mistake when they let Bashir go because of rightwing pressure over Silly Sarah Palin. As many incendiary things that the dimwit has said without ever having been held accountable, why should this man have been let go in spite of his apology? Simple Sarah has NEVER apologized for the harmful words she has spewed. The Gabby Giffords issue definitely comes to mind. As for Keith Olbermann, he could be over the top, but he was incisive and he was also capable of apologizing. When Democrats or liberal outlets give in to rightwing pressure, they make themselves look stupid and spineless. We all know there’s no way in h&!! they would be so accommodating if the shoe were on the other foot.

  51. MSNBC’s new people -other than Joy Reid – are lame, and pretty worthless. I miss Martin and Keith, and haver taken to watching KO’s sports program, even though I don’t care about sports other than pro football.

    Most of MSNBC is not watchable for me-the Cycle are just egotistical morons, and Joe is even worse. I used to have MSNBC on all day after 9 AM, but I have old movies on instead now, and don’t care to watch most of MSNBC’s programming at all now.

  52. Bring KO back who cares what fox news thinks. stop apologizing and report the news. i loved watching MSNBC not any more its boring Rachael M IS STILL GREAT but rest suck.

  53. I was very disappointed when they let Keith go as well as Rattigan. When they let go of M Bashir I tweeted 2 MSNBC & reflected my anger 4 doing so. I even said by then they would loose ratings. They must have him back in the same time slot. My best shows are ED, Rachel & Last Word. Hard Ball comes 4th. Gregory is too passive & have no spine. You never know who he stands for & Get Rid of Ronan!!!

  54. keith was the best thing msnbc had going for it. when keith was going to do one of his special comments, especially one about the president, everyone i knew was tuned in. keith gave us the truth in a way we could all understand. apparently, the powers-that-be at msnbc caved into corporate and even some right wing people. wrong, wrong, wrong. the news should always be kept separate from corporate, otherwise why believe anything we hear on the news? rachel is great, and i love lawrence o’donnell too, but bring back keith. he will bring back your viewers.

  55. I no longer watch MSNBC. Without Olbermann and Bashir, the programs are bland.

    Both are sorely missed by me and by many.

  56. I, too, got tired of MSNBC caving to the Teapublicans. Although I appreciate “Rev” and his tenacity in bringing civil rights issues, and especially for bringing the Travon Martin case to the forefront, the ONLY person on MSNBC I watch (try to never miss) is Rachel. Also really like Lawrence because he is an unabashed Socialist. Cannot stand Chris Matthews and all of his screeching and talking over guests. Ed, for all of his “for the people” advocacy, actually told people NOT to vote in 2010–remember that? I will NEVER forgive him for that.

    Martin Bashir was thrown under the bus for PALIN?!?!? Seriously? (I was also mad at MB for his MJ travesty, but I think he redeemed himself with his show–always a gentleman). Keith Olbermann SAVED MSNBC and then they booted HIM?

    However, before saying Faux News is doing so well, remember that they are on “regular” TV–no cable needed, and they are “shown” in many bars, doctors’ offices, etc. because they got sweet contracts. Never watch CNN.

  57. I agree, although ATT will not air Al Jazeera , (I wonder why)’ but I subscribe through the internet and get there daily feed, but I also watch CBC and BBC America for a less
    Opinionated and more news centric view. Censorship in this country is getting more and more defind every day, both by the networks (worthless) coverage and news sources, so to find out real news, we have to go out of country.

  58. I didn’t mind Maddow when she was on the 5 AM to 7 AM slot on Air America. Now that she’s on MSNBC and Olbermann was pushed out the door she’s gone corporate, nuff said about that.
    You’ve got to figure there is a real management problem at a place that dumps Phil Donahue, Keith Olbermann and Dylan Ratigan!

  59. Little known fact: In October 2010 Keith Olbermann was suspended “indefinitely” for contributing money to the campaigns of 3 Dem congressmen.

    Joe Scarborough did exactly the same thing (only to Repub candidates), and he was suspended for 2 days, then welcomed back to his time slot. Olbermann returned after 2 days, too, but was on a very short leash, which angered him. Scarborough was not, and he resumed his normal right wing attacks on Dems.

    Olbermann left MSNBC 3 months after the suspension.

    Phil Griffin has his “pets” who can do no wrong.

  60. If you listen carefully to Rachel’s “longwinded tangents”, she’s telling a story — complete with all the background you need to understand what she eventually gets to, the point of her story.

    In other words, she delivers a mini-documentary within the context of her hour show…pretty remarkable how often she does that.

  61. The biggest mistakes, in my opinion, was taking Ed Schultz off the 8pm slot and firing Martin Bashir. I never really like KO, so his leaving did not bother me. If MSNBC really wanted to blast to the top in the networks, they would put Schultz back on to the 8pm slot and bring back Bashir for the 7pm slot. What a line-up that would be. Bashir, Schultz, Maddow & O’Donnell. They lose a lot of viewerships on the weekends too. If they truly want to compete, and more importantly, lead the way for true liberal reporting, they would get strong center-left and left leaning shows for the entire weekend. There are a host of good liberal radio talkers who could bring things around on the weekends. Branch out in their reporting, include world news and national news, not just political news. Bringing focus of local news to the national level would also be a good direction. All in all, they need to decide if they are going to be a liberal network or not. Then move in that direction.

  62. Ousting KO and Bashir only solidified my awareness that Corp Monopolies who become “upset” with the Truth fire or order the ousting of the best
    Whats hurting ALL Corp News Orgs is Their Controlled Corp Friendly Messaging. All it is these days for 98% of programming is useless mystical “very dark and scary” Tabloid Content, Mis-information, Failure to cover Big Issues (Fracking/Oil/Chem/Ash Spills, Protests etc)-if we only knew what was really going on……
    We must pay for low quality, “no news” news—a “look over there” worthless scripted verbal fodder, imo.
    I choose to Not “hear it”…I learn nothing from the Majority of Programs.
    I would support trying to get KO and Bashir back.

  63. I’ve tried so hard to watch Chris Hayes, he just does not hold my attention. I do watch and DVR Ed, Rachel and Lawrence if I’m not home. From time to time I’ll watch Chris Mathews he isn’t so bad. They’ve got to get a new muscle because MSNBC had a very strong following.

  64. Too many missteps to count. Letting Keith Obermann walk was stupid, how could they not realize how large his following was? The Martin Bashir firing was ridiculous and made MSNBC look weaker, if possible. Making Melissa Harris-Perry apologize over and over again was the final straw for me. David Gregory on MTP is difficult to watch and cannot do the job because he’s so busy bending over backwards that he cheats his remaining audience and has the same people on week after week. He won’t insist on the truth which is wimpy, imho. Love Rachel Maddow, of course. The HUGE disappointment is Chuck Todd. He use to seem like an informed person, but when he changed jobs he became just another obsessed with balancing the arguments on both sides, no matter which is the truth and which is BS. He needs to go to Fox or CNN where he will find his like-minded co-workers because he is useless on MSNBC.

  65. I couldn’t have put that article together about MSNBC losing ground, any better than it already is.

    When Keith Olbermann left…I was pretty dishearted. I like those little cartoon bouncy bounce’s he had of rush limp dick Limbaugh, until Limbaugh complained. Really spiced up the network.

    Then when Martin Bashir was put out to pasture, that was it for me. Sarah Palin….may her and her broom crash into the sea of self loathing. That lady gives real witches a bad name. Yes…I will miss Bashir’s sense of humor.

    I have tried watching Ed Shultz, but the pa-zazz is gone from his show. I like the man and his style, but something just isn’t right with it.

    Rachel Maddow, well…she was the cat’s meow, but as of late, she has become a closet rightwing shrill…and the world today is full of them.

    Anything else on MSNBC, well it is just fluff.

  66. MSNBC has special interest programmed itself into a pretzel. KO was GREAT. So were Dylan Ratigan and Bashir, even though I understand Bashir was a little uneven.
    I feel persecuted by MSNBC as a male, as a caucasian and as a progressive. (And no, I don’t think Fox News is Journalism.) Stop trying to micromanage the demographics and speak to the BROAD truths that don’t disenfranchise people without highly specific special interest axes to grind. I give RM a pass on her LGBT issue obsession, because when she finally reports on something else, she usually nails it. Her street cred stands up on issues besides her ideological sacred cow.

  67. I believe I recently read a tidbit from Martin Bashir that his wife was undergoing a very difficult illness and he regretted not leaving sooner to be at her side. Miss him but don’t feel he will remain among the missing, just not at Griffin controlled MSNBC.

    Used to think the MorningJoke show was there in some lame attempt to prove the network offered viewpoints from both sides. The termination of KO, Martin and the others tells me the want their liberal views a little softer. Maddow will keep me tuning in but find myself over there fewer hours each week. Go up the ladder of ownership and it appears MSNBC is owned/controlled by the RW just as most of other cable news and opinion.

  68. The truth about Olbermann was he had been trying to get out of his contract for almost a year. He was not terminated. The day the deal was done he announced he was leaving

  69. The day MSNBC fired Martin Bashir, was the day their cowardice shined for all to see. It was the beginning of the end. Would Fox News fire someone over something so trivial? Hell no, they’d give them a raise.

  70. Olbermann was not fired from MSNBC. He has reiterated this many times on Twitter. The decision to leave was his.

  71. I only watch Saturday’s Melissa Harris Perry I find her folksy style charming when backed up with facts/common sense. I always like that she’s very inclusive with a feminist bent that is exactly my POV! I was FURIOUS when they dumped Martin and Obermann so don’t watch it very much during the week any longer.

  72. I agree. MSNBC is floundering. Rachel Maddow is, and has, everything any successful TV (and, by the way, a radio talk) show can ask for: high intellectual caliber, diction,voice quality, topics, honesty, etc. I mean everything. No doubt she is a rare, and unique, talent. O’Donnell is low-key, but instructive and at times combative. His re-writes are just great. What perhaps I fear most is that Rachel will eventually replace Griffin….the only way to resurrect the moribund MSNBC. Then, what? No 9 p.m. Maddow show? “For whom the bell tolls?”

  73. This is a huge issue. For years, I was considered obsessive about MSNBC. I even watched Morning Joe daily. After the disastrous 2010 midterms, the media became just advertising and the right arm for the GOP talking points and misinformation machine. They began what I call, the dumbing down of America. The 2008 election of Barack Obama had a massive impact worldwide! If the media had been honest, our reality would be different right now. The world and the country was ready for Barack Obama and the concept of “hope”. The conniving GOP and rightwing extremists went into overdrive to divide the country and diminish the progress of the US at all costs. Keith O, Martin B, Joy Reid, Lawrence M, Ed Burke, MHP and Rev AL keep it real and exercised journalistic integrity. Gregory, Scarborough, Mitchell, and Chuck Todd have desperately tried to be FOX faux news and have turned masses away from watching any news at all. I can’t watch anymore. It makes me ill. Disastrous for the US!

  74. Maybe these comments should be sent to MSNBC. We need the media to be fair and honest with the 2014 midterms fast approaching. Democrats must UNITE! No more telling voters to stay home. That was disastrous. Never again. Get the extremists out. We need our democracy back with jobs included. We need infrastructure for our country and not a pipeline destroying our communities. We need laws that bring relief for all the struggling Americans. We need our civil rights, decent gun laws to protect our women and children, regulation of banks and corporate industries. We need climate control and immigration reform. We need our voting rights and laws reinstated. We need Citizen’s United overturned. We need Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid protected. We need education reform. We need a Congress that comes to work for Americans, not just the 1%! We need a Democratic Congress that gets real work done. Get out the vote! Get the cancer out of our government. President Obama can’t do it alone.

  75. I was so upset when they let Keith and then Martin go. I’m just fed up with it all. And now the deal with Joe and big Ed! Now I have second thoughts if they may be putting a lock down on Rachel.

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