Obama Bashing Media Blame The President For MSNBC’s Ratings

obama blamed for msnbc ratings

The media have figured out why MSNBC is in a state of collapse. They aren’t blaming bad decisions by people who are running the network, or hosts that have caused viewers to flee. The media have decided that President Obama is to blame for MSNBC’s struggles.


USA Today’s Michael Wolff wrote,

The Democrats’ sinking fortunes have been pretty accurately charted in the declining ratings at MSNBC, the party’s house network, which culminated, on election night, in a 22% fall from the last midterm election in the all-important 25-to-54 age group.

MSNBC’s problem is almost exactly the same as the Democrats’ problem: It built its future around a vivid and dramatic hero who, unfortunately, turned out to be both opaque and conflict averse. MSNBC now has a lineup of ever-righteous and often sulky defenders of President Barack Obama, who seem, not just to conservatives but to many liberals, too, bizarrely tone deaf and lost in time.


The network, a hopeless laggard, finally started to break out of the cable news depths when its anchorman, Keith Olbermann, began to rant against President George W. Bush and against Fox. Olbermann quickly became MSNBC’s star and big kahuna, and was behind the hiring of liberal radio commentator Rachel Maddow, who became a second anti-Bush, pro-democratic programming pillar. Olbermann, however, famously difficult, was ousted by his NBC bosses. That left Griffin to pursue, with quite some hyperbole and inadvertent self-caricature — including Alec Baldwin’s brief moment and Ronan Farrow’s agonizingly longer one — a programming strategy to support the Democrats and adulate Obama.

The interesting thing about Wolff’s column is that it is the exact opposite of what the people who watch MSNBC are saying. The reason viewers have fled the network isn’t because they don’t like President Obama anymore. The reasons that former viewers point to most often include hosts that have failed to connect with viewers, the firing/departure of popular talent (Olbermann & Bashir), the relentless Republican cheerleading that is Morning Joe, the yanking around of Ed Schultz, and a general feeling that those in charge of the network don’t care about their viewers want.


One of the most frequent complaints from MSNBC viewers is that the network isn’t supportive enough of President Obama. The two most popular shows on MSNBC (Hardball, and Rachel Maddow) could not be characterized as pro-Obama hours. Besides gross mismanagement, MSNBC’s biggest problem is that they went all politics all of the time. If a viewer wants the news, they will probably need to go look elsewhere. MSNBC’s programming is often stale and redundant as hosts are left to cover the same handful of political topics over and again.

MSNBC hasn’t been the same network since Keith Olbermann left. Things have only gotten worse with Chris Hayes occupying 8 PM. Hayes has been magnificent at driving MSNBC viewers to CNN. MSNBC viewers aren’t dejected because of President Obama. They are dejected because they feel like their network doesn’t care about them.

Phil Griffin’s decision to go young while his audience is aging has been a complete disaster. Viewers still want to love MSNBC, but a series of bad decisions and even worse hosts have caused them to walk away.

The conclusion that Obama is to blame for MSNBC’s bad ratings was some lazy and half-baked thinking. The problems at MSNBC are all the responsibility of the individuals who have driven the network into the ground. Blaming Obama is easy, but it isn’t accurate or even close to the real reasons why MSNBC is struggling.

The truth is that the “Lean Forward” network has abandoned their viewers, but that doesn’t make nearly as good of a story as finding something new to blame Obama for.

65 Replies to “Obama Bashing Media Blame The President For MSNBC’s Ratings”

  1. Maybe the real reason your ratings are collapsing is that you get rid of your most popular hosts and you keep Morning Joe on when it is the lowest rated show in its time slot!

  2. Schultz. Sharpton. O’Donnell. Hayes. Tweety.
    Yeh. Right.

    Give me Rachel, and Roseanne…
    …and a snifter of good brandy.

  3. I stopped watching because of Joe Scarborough. He’s far too conservative for my liking. Chuck Todd added to my distaste for NBC and MSNBC when he decided to campaign for Mitch McConnell. My local news station, WCYB located in Bristol, VA, just lost my viewing as well. WCYB took it upon themselves to title an article “Obama Wants More Internet Regulation,” instead of saying that the President is standing for Net Neutrality. People have whined about the liberal bias in the news, what I would like to know is, where? Even at MSNBC I feel the conservative bias in the media.

  4. The USA Today article is laughable. ALEC/MSNBC has tacked to the right. AWAY from anyone who supports the President.
    But then again, USA Today is owned by Gannett Corporation, a corporate conglomerate. So the USA Today propagandist is just spewing the corporate narrative.

  5. “a general feeling that those in charge of the network don’t care about their viewers want.” is why in a nutshell.
    I like Chris Hayes and when he is allowed to really go in depth I like him even better. They need some real other than US politics news time. Actually if a cable channel deems to start airing some actual worldwide non-US political centric news I’m there. (thanks BBC!)
    Once you’ve seen an hour of MSNBC broadcast you’ve pretty much seen ALL they are going to cover all day & night. The repetition just gets old. Change things up coverage wise, don’t play simon says on what you are going to cover and go in depth while remembering most thinking adults just want the facts and to be able to think for themselves. We don’t want or need views fed to us like Fox viewers, we can handle our worldview being challenged.

  6. I stopped watching after Martin Bashir resigned. I could not take more than 10 min of Chris Matthews. He was constantly interrupting guests or talking over them.

    I have not watched TV news since Martin Bashir. If a news media cannot stick up for our President when needed, then I don’t bother with them, because it is one sided.

  7. I don’t even bother with MSNBC anymore. It’s like they put up a front with it’s slogan… ‘Lean Forward’… HA!

    It’s more like ‘Lean Forward so we can stick this up your ass, Obama Lover!’

  8. I had public radio on in my car today, and who was pushing a book – Chuck Toad, I have never been so angry, he talked as though he was the ultimate political reporter and king maker, he was critical of the president about what he should or should not have done, the steam was literally coming out of my ears, this school dropout who only ever put up the numbers on a board during elections and he was preening like a peacock, I think we must complain again and again to the network about him and Scarboro, they are sickening!

  9. I havent watched CNN or MSNBC for over a year. Actually CNN for around 5 years. Wolf Blizter and Chris Mathews. The worst two people in TV that isnt fox snooze

  10. I watched MSNBC’s Morning Joe today simply because I had the day off. Here he was blaming the President for his exit from Iraq too soon, instead of blaming Bush for his invasion which has caused a domino effect throughout the Middle East for years. I was completely turned off after 30 minutes of Obama bashing by Joe Scarborough and his guests including Chuck Todd who was hawking his new book bashing our President. The only program I watch on a regular basis now is Rachel Maddow. Getting rid of Olbermann and Bashir was the nail in the coffin for me. Blaming the President instead of the network executives for doing a lousy job is ridiculous. MSNBC is becoming irrelevent as a news network, and they have no one else to blame but themselves.

  11. MSNBC seems very confused about which sector of the populace they want to represent. You can’t be all things to all people.
    I used to watch Ed Schultz,an independent.
    Took him about 40seconds after Obama was elected for him to start criticizing BAM.
    Recently I read he called the midterms “a repudiation of Obama”. One thing Ed never was…an independent thinker.

  12. There are so many outlets that bash Obama constantly day and night 24/7 and we didn’t need this from them too.. Potus is not perfect but neither was Bush, but you never hear a bad word about him anyplace in the Conservative zone-more like the twilight zone… People Like the repulsive Joe Scarborough, who makes my skin crawl with his crappy veiws.. Who speaks to us? Rachel Maddow, Martin Bashir (to bad what happened) but the right have said far worse and gotten away with it.. If they want people to watch they have to give a positive msg about obama as just as the Dems lost for walking away from him so did the network…All we see or hear is right wing propaganda and nothing else… When have have to see people like Chuck Todd (Puke) or Joe Scarborogh (double puke)I simply can’t watch and change the channel… Wake up MSNBC..

  13. There needs to be a liberal voice with all of the republican media.

    Cnn has become so pro gop, I watch msnbc.

  14. Joe the Toad start the day with ridiculous BS then more toad by the time Rachel get her shot most intelligent people have turned off the TV. if they go back later Chris and Chris a couple of babblers noting to watch here except rachel and some times she stays on topic too long as the world passes her by.

  15. You are right. I never watched Rachael simply because I knew what she was going to talk about. In fact if I ever used to watch the news I would shut it off as soon as Mathews got on.

    I had a crush on Tamron Hall

  16. I agree they do too much Obama bashing on Morning Joe without putting it in context, the history of the GOP.

    They seem to be mainly interested in an anti war message, Rachel anyway. I disagree with them there. At times we have to stand up. As in Putin and Isis. This is where I think their biases have been directed toward President Obama unfairly.

    I appreciate Chris Matthews, he is probably the most savy. Yet, he seems to lean toward moderation of the parties. This just doesn’t fit with the reality of the obstruction of the GOP. So think he still thinks it’s the year 2000. The GOP is fanatical, so you can’t let them run over the party over and over. Their propaganda is polluting the US….in more ways than one.

    No matter what the Dems have tried, the GOP remains always adversarial, no compromise. So there comes a time, you just have to give up on that. Not going to happen. They want their cake, and to eat it too and blame Obama for it, all the time.

  17. I left msnbc for the reasons you stated. They were up the gop’s ass that I couldn’t stand watching them everyday like I used to.

    Firing Olbermann was terrible but firing Bashir was the last straw. It seemed msnbc did whatever the gop stated. Bashir got hoodwinked because he didn’t say what the gop/palin accused him of saying about her. Meanwhile the insufferable witch palin could spew all the vile bullshit without consequences.

    Msnbc also tried to get rid of Perry, Reid and Ed based on some gop bullshit. They are too quick to get rid of their people while gop can scorched he earth.

    They also like to make the gop viable while interviewing gop leaders/personalities. One can’t make gop viable when one doesn’t question their bullshit and have them on just so they can diss the Dems/President.

    Too bad msnbc are too stupid to understand what the gop has done to their station.

  18. MSNBC is run by republican-leaning idiots. If you want democratic-supporting audiences to watch and listen, you have to cater to a more positive support of the President’s actions and opinions. Declare your opinion and live with it. In my opinion, it’s the republicans’ fault and that of your republipuke management. If you lie with the republicans, you die with them. And, Take that POS Todd and shove him where the sun don’t shine.

  19. all The Comments Above Are True And 1 Couldn’t Say It Any Better Myself. I Have Been Fed Up With Msnbc For A While…I LoveD Keith Oberman RELLY MISS HIM,, THAT WAS YOUR FIRST MISTAKE GETTING RID OF HIM lOVE
    Rachel Maddow.. They Are The Only Two Msnbc Has That Is Worth My Time.. The Rest Are Just Like Fox News.. I Also Like Chris Hays.

  20. I totally agree. Chris Hayes is brilliant as is Rachel Maddow, Krystal Ball, Lawrence O’Donnell and Alex Wagner.

    The thing like the best is most of the MSNBC moderators are very intelligent. When I watch CNN and force myself to watch FOX they just don’t come off as bright or inquisitive, definitely not brilliant.

  21. MSNBC is full of shit. They think just like their republican friends and that is ass backwards. It’s their management’s fault. But, of course, they wouldn’t blame their own decisions and incompetence because that would be unrepublican. MSNBC sucks.

  22. You keep Joe Scarborough around, but you get rid of Martin Bashir. That is one reason why people are sick of MSNBC. And who ever decided to blame President Obama for MSNBC low ratings is a freaking stupid horses “A”.

  23. Just like the GOP created the lie of death panels accompanying implementation of the ACA, the media myth of being liberal is bullsh&t. Conservatives don’t need a publicity, almost every news outlet advocated their values and some Democrats (as witnessed during the 2014 midterms) turn away from the liberal/progressive base..it is repugnant….MSNBC fired the two liberal bulldogs, that stood w/the lefty-base, Olberman & Bashir, because of their “in your face confrontational style”….viewers loved & respected this style & sorely miss both professionals.
    Besides, what is w/the endless story repetitiveness throughout the day?? Lazy journalism, cost cutting or what? MSNBC ignores their viewers’ desires and the internet offers too many options for liberals to have to settle.
    MSNBC executives are cowardly conservatives by blaming POTUS, refusing to respond to their viewers and doing NOTHING….assholes!

  24. Scarborough,Todd,Mathews really hard to

    take, obnoxious not to strong,

    POTUS has many more meaningful accomplishments than any progressive since JFK

    Rachel ran like cowardly Dems, Chris good but handcuffed by management

  25. Let me put it to you this way: Starting at 6:00 p.m. In New York The Cable News Heavy Hitter shows begin. I get home around 7 :) Put on Chris Mathews (MSNBC) then take a look at what CNN’s got. Look at Fox, (.30 seconds) Then for about an hour I go back and forth between MSNBC and CNN….Then, let me tell you when O’Reilly, Gretta and Hannity comes on Wheew! That’s whwn it really gets stink! Obama bashing and mis-information flies! I watch( No Peek) for about 1 minute, depending on what the topic is and WHO they have on…Then I start to hear the nastiness and BS. Right away I switch back to MSNBC or CNN. One more thing, I think it is TORTURE to watch HANNITY! Geeezeus, this guy, with his smirk, sneer and nasty comments about Obama, makes me want to throw a shoe at the screen. But I would have had to buy—-Many, many, many Flat screen TVs IF I had stayed and watched more than one (1) minute of Hannity! Pure torture. When Obama goes…Do they get good ratings after? NOT!

  26. I stopped watching when it was obvious they were not even trying to hide their shift to the right any more. Sad.

  27. MSNBC is responsible for their own demise. By slanting right they have lost many liberal viewers. Chuck Todd is unbearable and Chris Matthews and Morning Joe are right there with him. Some of the younger talent is good but they still work under a Republican Corporation which does influence their programs. I prefer to get my news from the internet.

  28. I watch Free Speech TV more. Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann are the best.

    After this election I gave up msnbc. Losing Keith was the worst for me.

  29. I miss Martin and Keith. I like Ed.
    Chris Hayes talks too fast, looks too young, wrings his hands and pops out of his chair too much. Joy is hard to watch because she is constantly moving her hands, as well. Rowan is too young looking and is hard to take seriously. Chris Matthews talks over everyone and answers his own questions. I like Rachel. Occasionally, she repeats herself too much. She explains things well.
    I like the cycle, especially Ari and Crystal. Get rid of Lawrence. He gets on my nerves with his fake laugh and using “I” too much.

  30. I like MSNBC, but I do have some problems with it: I can’t stand Chris Matthews. Simply cannot stand him for multiple reasons: His holding on WAY too long for the 60’s (“Jack” Kennedy as if he was a personal friend) and increasingly the ’80’s. I know it’s the result of his books on Kennedy and Reagan. But he doesn’t fully comprehend the changes in American politics especially the Republican Party.
    Matthews increasingly betrays how his “championing of the Democrats to go after the white working class in Ohio and Pennsylvania” when he interviews or talks to his domination of conversation with Ed Rendell and Chuck Todd shows repeatedly that he has little understanding of a diverse nation, especially where African-Americans and African-American politics are concerned. It’s as he only knows a few African-Americans.

  31. Dear Phil,

    I’ll just say what I always say. If I wanted to watch Fox News, I wouldn’t turn the channel to MSNBC.

  32. Fuuuck you Phil. I’m sick of you, Scarborough, Chuck Todd And Chris Matthews bringing AND flinging republican stink and fail to msnbc, and permitting it tolinger like a storm cloud. Everyday you losers bring more fail without letting the fail of the previos day dissipate. The giant brown cloud of fail is yours, own it, can Chuckie Todd and Joey Scarborough; bring Martin Bashir back and start giving a damn about your liberal audience. If we wanted that much fail we’d watch cnn and fox noise.

    And ease up with the Lockup; you don’t have to have it on for two thirds of the day on the weekend!!!

  33. Your lineup is EXACTLY like mine. MS-NBC is controlled by the same kind of people that brings us Fox “news”. And all the rest of what is called Main Stream Media. Plus I am forced to get my TV from Time Warner and it has been off about as much as on this month. Getting us all warmed up as to what to expect when the next worse or is it even worse company, Comcast join their brethren to control what we are allowed to know. Easy to see why it was so important to buy enough politicians to allow total control. Now they are working on the only other place we could dig deep enough to find a little truth sometime. The internet.

  34. I would like to thank Jason Easley (hope I spelled your name correctly) for writing this column. I want to say ‘you nailed all things wrong with MSNBC’. I felt like you took the words out of my mouth, as anyone who has seen my comments or posts elsewhere know. Joe Scarswhaterever starts the morning of awful (the prison shows are an improvement over he and Toad) with mealy mouth Mika and it goes down from there with the exception of Rachael. I wish she would find a new network home. Thanks for letting me rant, again.

  35. I tripped the other day and I blamed Obama. Forgot I am a double amputee. Sickening is this disease going around these days called Blame Obama Syndrome (BOS). It is truly sad that the repubs have cast this bull shit sickness over our nation. The news media including are the main carriers of this bs. Never giving a true picture of the POTUS successes but hollering from every media box that what he has done is not right for our nation. Forgetting that the repubs, came within the thickness if a hair of causing a world wide financial collapse. Started 2 wars and criminally killed over 250,000 in the process and all based on a lie. Truly it is a dark evil mindset that now would blame him for poor business decisions of a news media outlet. What sick evil bs minds some will have in covering up their failures. Sounds like true repub. talking points. Get them to blame Obama for everything bad. BOS is an evil epidemic and spreading like a wild forest out of control and nobody seems to care!!!

  36. The real reason people are jumping ship is due to their far left radical stand. MSNBC is for the progressive and the majority of Americans do not lean that far left.

  37. She,

    Rather CLUELESS and FauxNoise filled. Far Left???? Surely you jest.

    Go over to Faux Notion’s hatesite, you will no longer be alone…that is your ‘tribe’.

  38. Too much push polling opinionated news based on some has been pundits no real journalism. People got tired of Joe racist rants early in the morning then they tried to attract to libertarian w chris Haynes & steve knornacki both turn offs. I lost when Melissa cried to keep her job about an off color joke when the Romney surrogates sunnu campaign were running around saying all kind of racist crap I had to drop her quick. the icing was martin bashir when they took him off I could not take it any more. Chuck Todd sat there called Obama a Liar w/o any regrets not once did he call out the republicans for their lies he covered for them he claimed it wasn’t his job to correct them. we love Obama we know what he’s doing even if the media refused to acknowledge his accomplishments. we lost the election because the cowardly democrats didn’t stand with him and defend him and allowed the republicans to attack w/o saying a word. MSNBC needs to be reformatted from top to bottom

  39. I stopped watching Msnbc when they fired Martain, they tired to get rid of Ed. That really pissed me off,and i miss Keith.The reason Fox News has higher ratings is because they stick with their right wing crazy base and don’t flip flop. If MSNBC would stick with the liberal base and Stop firing their best commentators and stop flipping,flopping all over the place,maybe, just maybe people would start watching again.I didn’t watch MSNBC during the midterms”why” because they turned their backs on the President just like the Dems did. We lost because of that reason and that is why MSNBC is losing their viewers. SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT MSNBC!!

  40. I stopped watching MSNBC when the obvious shift, they twist their heads in somersaults up their own keysters. Pathetic and I’m being judgemental.

  41. I am really sorry to hear that MSNBC is in trouble. I watch all of those shows off and on.
    I think Chris Hayes is brillant. I can’t believe he is what is wrong. There is a problem with redundancy and Morning Joe. I can’t believe how down hill that show has gone. I used to think it was really influential. Mica’s too much of light weight and Joe is a complete over the top Koch indoctrinated nut job.
    Does anyone think that you can only get MSNBC with the more expensive cable offers has anything to do with it? I don’t have cable, but and I am really grateful to be able to watch online.
    I think Lawrence Odonnell, Alex Wagner and Steve Kornancki are so wonderful and brilliant. I would really like others to appreciate them more.

  42. Morning Joe is the main reason MSNBC news ratings are sinking 3 hours of that FOX news base show with Scarborough sucks, and really come on three hours of bashing Obama lots of people change the channel quickly, and also C Todd the new moderator on Meet The Press. Tell me who does Joe know that they are keeping that show on the air with Joe and that half breed Democrat that when Joe says jump they asked how high. I believe Joe is everyone boss on all the shows, and he says what goes. I think he is the reason why Oberman,and Beshire were push out of there job. Cut off Morning Joe and the ratings will soar.

  43. When 34% of the voting population votes, I wouldn’t characterize it as a mandate. Actually, both the GOP and the Dems (media) have jumped to conclusions that only fit their audience. Voter apathy should be the topic of discussion. Obama did not fail the Dems. The Dems failed to vote everywhere. Despite the low approval rates of Congress, the media ignored the real failures of the past 2 years, an incompetent, lazy, self serving Congress. They were more interested in protecting their “Insider Trading” vote than just about any other issue.

  44. I have to turn off MSNBC when Ed, Al Sharpton and Ronan come on. The three of them are nauseating. Ed screams about everything, Al Sharpton can’t speak properly and Ronan should have never been hired.

  45. It’s apparent you haven’t watched MSNBC lately.

    I watched Alex & Rachel & Joy. Then it was down to Joy- but even now SHE doesn’t challenge even her own fellow colleagues like Matthews when he goes all right-wing nutty about the president.

    No- MSNBC has gone right trying to prove how “fair & balanced” it is. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter because people like you and USA Today’s Wolff STILL think it’s progressive.

    Those of us on the left just crack up laughing when we red crap like that.

  46. Rachel’s problem is that she listened to Jon (I’ll interview anybody as long as it gets ratings, but I won’t challenge them because they won’t come back on) Stewart.

    Jon told her not to be the antithesis of FOX. So, she’s gone all over the place with her criticism of the Democrats and President Obama.

    Too bad- because it was when MSNBC WAS the antithesis of FOX when it had high ratings & viewership: Olbermann, Shuster, Bashir, etc.

    And who the hell is Ronan Farrow other than the son of an aging, second-rate movie star? He came out of nowhere and should be headed right back there.

  47. The blame for people not voting has to be laid at the feet of the Democratic leadership. We needed to pick up 20 seats and in 21 districts that Obama won due to the genius of Steve Israel, Debbie Wasserman Shultz and Nancy Pelosi we didn’t contest them. Because they were friends and didn’t want to support true progressives who could have won.

  48. Madegore, you sound a little on the racist side there. Ed and Al are possibly the two progressives in the afternoon. Lawrence and Rachel are liberals along with Joy Reid and a couple more like Alex. The rest are Fox/CNN wannabes.

  49. Jason you really should put a disclaimer “I have a serious personal dislike of Chris Hayes which makes me negatively biased” on all your MSNBC articles.

    For news I watch Al Jazeera. CNN lost me after Crowley’s emo rant about the horror of young Steubenville footballers lives being ruined by jail time. The hell with their victim.

    I record Jose Diaz-Balart (Republican but a decent guy,) Joy Reid, Alex Wagner and Ed Schultz during the day to watch later. Chris & Rachel live round out the MSNBC day.

    Tweety made the election results just about unwatchable.

    Keith Olbermann is happy where he is so I am happy for him but damn. Miss the program. Losing Martin Bashir was a severe blow.

  50. MSNBC has become boring. Mostly the same old blah.. blah blah. It’s really a shame.
    I used to watch religiously. Now I catch it once in a while. It appears that the corporate toadies have completely taken over the network. Morning Joe is a disgrace. Some of the other shows seem like nothing more than informercials for new books.

  51. Joe Scarborough is the one killing the ratings in the morning. And Mika Brzezinski sitting next to him like a Barbie doll staring at Joe & drooling, makes my stomach turn. I used to despise Imus, but this guy is worse. And all the guest have to just shut up and let Joe do all the talking except for Obama bashers. It’s like watching Fox News. C-span Washington Journal is the best place to be in the morning. The others all have an agenda. Forget about Fox. That’s an ext of the GOP spinners

  52. E. Powell: After reading most of the comments to this story, I thought you said it best. I have met this president and he is as sincere as the day is long. I am so disappointed in the news being put out by MSNBC these days, I usually find something else to do. I hate FOX and not fond of CNN. Aljazeera is a good news channel that I sometime listen to.

  53. msnbc has definitely moved to the right. but as compared to cnn and fox they are the best choice. that is for political punditing……
    if you want news, there is another option. try al jazeera america. david shuster, tony harris,and others from other channels can be found there. i’m hoping martin bashir will be hired in the future. keith olberman is comfortable back at espn unfortunately.

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