President of “news” network: We’re not the place to turn for breaking news

posted at 11:21 am on June 3, 2013 by Allahpundit

Seriously? Huh. When something’s happening in the world in the late afternoon hours on the east coast, I always turn to Chris Matthews to find out (a) how its Republicans’ fault and (b) how racism is motivating it. Oh, and (c) how Obama’s handling it really, really well.

As embarrassing as Phil Griffin’s admission here is, it has the shining virtue of being true. Candor is sufficiently rare in politics and media that I kinda want to pat him on the back for admitting it, even though it’s insane that he persists in letting his network operate this way.

At a time of intensely high interest in news, MSNBC’s ratings declined from the same period a year ago by about 20 percent. The explanation, in the network’s own analysis, comes down to this: breaking news is not really what MSNBC does.

“We’re not the place for that,” said Phil Griffin, the channel’s president, in reference to covering breaking events as CNN does. “Our brand is not that.”…

MSNBC’s viewers may have especially grown tired of politics because the news has been mostly negative recently toward President Obama, whom MSNBC’s hosts have championed. As another senior producer for news programs at multiple networks put it, “People will watch MSG when the Knicks are hot, and not watch when they aren’t.”…

With all the changes wrought by the Internet, Mr. Griffin said news organizations are in the midst of “a media revolution — and you better find out where you fit in this world.”

The Knicks analogy is cute, but John Nolte’s right that MSNBC’s ratings slippage didn’t begin with Scandalmania last month. They finished third in April, before the IRS and DOJ scandals erupted, and then slid to fourth last month behind HLN’s Jodi Arias frenzy. What happened in April? The Boston bombings, of course — and even though MSNBC had a valuable breaking-news asset in NBC’s Pete Williams, they still couldn’t top CNN for second place. As one cable producer told the NYT, “MS has stopped doing news so you don’t really think of them when there is a breaking news story.” Right, which apparently is by choice per Griffin’s comment about knowing where you fit in the world.

But … why would he choose that? Even if MSNBC has strayed so far from the path of straight news that it no longer sees virtue in covering it for its own sake, there’s a reason to cover it for the sake of advancing the liberal cause — namely that it’ll broaden MSNBC’s audience during big news events and some of those viewers will stick around for Hayes, Maddow, and O’Donnell in primetime. Purely as a point of pride, you would think Griffin would want to build his own stable of respected hard-news reporters rather than having to piggyback on NBC’s assets, which reinforces the sense of the network as NBC’s JV squad. CNN went out and got Jake Tapper, MSNBC went out and got Al Sharpton. If you’re making upwards of $200 million a year, as MSNBC is, and you’re committed to giving a platform to even the cheapest liberal demagogues, why not diversify your brand by going out and hiring both of them? Baffling.


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Giving up.

RiverCocytus on June 3, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Who’s that dude in the screencap?

CurtZHP on June 3, 2013 at 11:24 AM

If you’re making upwards of $200 million a year, as MSNBC is

Come again? 200 mil? How?

Doughboy on June 3, 2013 at 11:25 AM

Dude… dude… dude looks like a lady.

RiverCocytus on June 3, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Who’s that dude in the screencap?

CurtZHP on June 3, 2013 at 11:24 AM

Some sort of Lizard person.

nobar on June 3, 2013 at 11:26 AM

If they say they don’t do news, if they aren’t the place for breaking news, then they can dodge critics of bias and be the advocacy network they want to be. Simple.

catmman on June 3, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Lean forward.

Good Lt on June 3, 2013 at 11:28 AM

MessNBC ain’t the place to turn to for anything remotely resembling news.

stukinIL4now on June 3, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Unlike facts, propaganda takes time to percolate and usually can’t be disseminated immediately after breaking news.

warden on June 3, 2013 at 11:29 AM

A true news network would not “lean” forward, backward, or in any direction, but would instead attempt to be “fair and balanced.”

steebo77 on June 3, 2013 at 11:30 AM

breaking news is not really what MSNBC does.

Good thing. The 13 people who watch MSNBC would have to send out a lot of tweets for anybody to find out. They’ve shed any pretense of being anything more than a propaganda outlet for the DNC.

Happy Nomad on June 3, 2013 at 11:31 AM

A true news network would not “lean” forward, backward, or in any direction, but would instead attempt to be “fair and balanced.”

steebo77 on June 3, 2013 at 11:30 AM

I see what you did there. I guess you just want liberal heads to explode or something.

Happy Nomad on June 3, 2013 at 11:32 AM

M-ETH-NBC is the place to turn for pundits who talk with a lithp.

TarheelBen on June 3, 2013 at 11:33 AM

one of the reasons I cited for cancelling Dish was I didn’t want to contribute a dime to MSNBC

DanMan on June 3, 2013 at 11:34 AM

‘We interrupt this Leftist Propaganda Marathon for an important message… Obama is still cooler than Rush Limbaugh… we now return you to your daily programming session.’

Kind’a like that…

RalphyBoy on June 3, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Sorry, every time I see a pic of this “individual”

I immediately think of the Austin Powers line

“That’s a MAN BABY!!!!!”

ToddPA on June 3, 2013 at 11:36 AM

President of “news” network: We’re not the place to turn for breaking news

You’re not the place for truth either.

Resist We Much on June 3, 2013 at 11:38 AM

AP makes a great point: why take this path? Why give up on news completely? It’s short sighted.

It makes no sense. If they tried to cover breaking news – and news in general when the political cycle disfavors them – they’d get some people to watch who’d otherwise might not. And those people may stay with the network long enough to watch the POV people.

It doesn’t have to be either all one or the other. You can have a liberal POV network and still attract viewers with quality news coverage. By abandoning news they’ve limited their audience to the hard core liberal ideologues and not reasonable Democrats or liberals (there are some of them out there).

SteveMG on June 3, 2013 at 11:38 AM

So, when One America News Network comes on-line July 4th, how far does MSNBC fall?

LoganSix on June 3, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Holy Crap.

This is an admission they’re not a news channel.

He’s admitting they’re purpose is to be Proganada!

Wow.

He really thinks they can hold out for election cycles, build their audience, and let it deflate afterwards. Then repeat.

I think this ends the debate; Rush is right. Progs are politically “on”, at all times. If it doesn’t fit that prism, it gets discarded.

Polarization, thy name is messnbc.

budfox on June 3, 2013 at 11:39 AM

But wait….they are going to have wall to wall coverage of the Zimmerman trial so sharpton will definitely be dominating ratings in short order

cmsinaz on June 3, 2013 at 11:40 AM

But … why would he choose that?

Sending reporters and video crews out to cover live news is expensive.

Having the same old talking heads sit around permanent sets is much cheaper (in both senses of the word).

bgoldman on June 3, 2013 at 11:40 AM

I’m sure that Comcast is thrilled with their investment./

kingsjester on June 3, 2013 at 11:41 AM

…and how is this not opening themselves up to violating FCC policy?

They’re ta-ta’s deep in Obamites, with nary a contrarian voice from sunrise to sunset.

Are they now against equal time?

budfox on June 3, 2013 at 11:42 AM

MSNBC- America’s own Haaretz. However, unlike Haaretz, a print paper, I can’t wipe my a** with MSNBC.

M240H on June 3, 2013 at 11:46 AM

Underreach

forest on June 3, 2013 at 11:46 AM

…and how is this not opening themselves up to violating FCC policy?

They’re ta-ta’s deep in Obamites, with nary a contrarian voice from sunrise to sunset.

Are they now against equal time?

budfox on June 3, 2013 at 11:42 AM

The FCC doesn’t have the type of control over cable channels that it does over ‘network’ channels that have traditionally be transmitted over the public airwaves.

If MSNBC or FOX News wanted to show nudity or use curse words during prime time, it could…and it could not be fined for ‘wardrobe malfunctions,’ so to speak.

Resist We Much on June 3, 2013 at 11:46 AM

Our brand is vile bile. You want that? Come to us.

vityas on June 3, 2013 at 11:46 AM

Sending reporters and video crews out to cover live news is expensive.

Having the same old talking heads sit around permanent sets is much cheaper (in both senses of the word).

bgoldman on June 3, 2013 at 11:40 AM

True, but NBC is picking up the entire tab, so that includes coverage for NBC News and Today. It’s no cost to Mess.

Griffin’s admitting he’s turning the entire channel into Hardball.

budfox on June 3, 2013 at 11:46 AM

So, when One America News Network comes on-line July 4th, how far does MSNBC fall?

LoganSix on June 3, 2013 at 11:38 AM

They will lose half of their audience, viewership will drop to 8 people morons.

FTFM

VegasRick on June 3, 2013 at 11:47 AM

MSNBC has weekend marathons of Caught on Camera.

‘Nuff said.

madmonkphotog on June 3, 2013 at 11:47 AM

With ratings so low why the fark does every gym insist on having the low rated network featured on their TV screens?

philw1776 on June 3, 2013 at 11:50 AM

With ratings so low why the fark does every gym insist on having the low rated network featured on their TV screens?

philw1776 on June 3, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Because gyms don’t make much profit on memberships.

nobar on June 3, 2013 at 11:51 AM

rhetorically proximate to insignifigance

t8stlikchkn on June 3, 2013 at 11:51 AM

The screencap of Chris Hayes without his glasses make him look quite masculine.

T.S.S. on June 3, 2013 at 11:54 AM

Resist We Much on June 3, 2013 at 11:46 AM

How is this admission different than what got Bill Sammon knocked off of FNC as on-air talent?

budfox on June 3, 2013 at 11:55 AM

They might as well rename the network MSDNC.

southsideironworks on June 3, 2013 at 11:57 AM

Who’s that dude in the screencap?

CurtZHP on June 3, 2013 at 11:24 AM

Matthew Perry

Chris of Rights on June 3, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Leftist propaganda isnt news.

Philly on June 3, 2013 at 12:04 PM

But it is the place to get the latest breaking DNC talking points. Faster than Klein at WAPO.

jukin3 on June 3, 2013 at 12:05 PM

But it is the place to get the latest breaking DNC talking points. Faster than Klein at WAPO.

jukin3 on June 3, 2013 at 12:05 PM

yup…jarrett’s email blasts

cmsinaz on June 3, 2013 at 12:06 PM

No breaking news…
…unless it propogates our statist agenda, like tornados and the retiring of TEA Party Congresswomen.

mjbrooks3 on June 3, 2013 at 12:06 PM

How is this admission different than what got Bill Sammon knocked off of FNC as on-air talent?

budfox on June 3, 2013 at 11:55 AM

It was an editorial decision by Fox News to remove Sammon, IIRC. He wasn’t removed because of the FCC.

The FCC has no control over what the President of MSNBC says about his channel or in what direction that he wants to take it. If he wanted to make MSNBC SyFy II, he could. There is no requirement that MSNBC actually carry news or even tell the truth. Hell, CNN survived for years telling lies from both their Havana and Bagdhad Bureaus.

It is the free market that ultimately decides whether a ‘news’ channel that sells propaganda is going to survive….unless, of course, their parent companies like the being the ‘darling of the MSM’ and don’t mind the red ink.

Resist We Much on June 3, 2013 at 12:11 PM

The wrestling federation of news. Did I just insult wrestling?

onomo on June 3, 2013 at 12:11 PM

It it’s not news, why is that guy in the picture sitting at a news desk reading news copy?

natasha333 on June 3, 2013 at 12:12 PM

It’s the place to turn for Breaking Wind on the Chris Matthews show.

NoDonkey on June 3, 2013 at 12:13 PM

MSNBC admits to being nothing more than a 24/7 infomercial for the Democrat party.

BobMbx on June 3, 2013 at 12:15 PM

But it is the place to get the latest breaking DNC talking points. Faster than Klein at WAPO.

jukin3 on June 3, 2013 at 12:05 PM

yup…jarrett’s email blasts

cmsinaz on June 3, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Media Matters actually has boasted of writing the copy for MSNBC:

‘In ‘08 it became pretty apparent MSNBC was going left. They were using our research to write their stories. They were eager to use our stuff.’

- Media Matters

‘Media Matters staff had the direct line of MSNBC president Phil Griffin, and used it. Griffin took their calls…Stories about Fox News were especially well received by MSNBC anchors and executives’:

‘If we published something about Fox in the morning, they’d have it on the air that night verbatim.’

- Media Matters

Resist We Much on June 3, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Resist We Much on June 3, 2013 at 12:16 PM

not surprised…

cmsinaz on June 3, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Resist We Much on June 3, 2013 at 12:16 PM

*ahem*

About Us

Media Matters for America is a
Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation
in the U.S. media.

http://mediamatters.org/about

Fallon on June 3, 2013 at 12:26 PM

‘If we published something about Fox in the morning, they’d have it on the air that night verbatim.’

- Media Matters

Resist We Much on June 3, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Too bad our side didn’t hack MM and rewrite their “stories” – that would have been funny.

VegasRick on June 3, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Fallon on June 3, 2013 at 12:26 PM

But, they didn’t raise any red flags with the IRS…

Fallon on June 3, 2013 at 12:31 PM

They will have to be giving free advertising before long.

docflash on June 3, 2013 at 12:32 PM

The wrestling federation of news. Did I just insult wrestling?

onomo on June 3, 2013 at 12:11 PM

“What you gonna do when these 24 inch Pythons are running
wild on you?!!!”

ToddPA on June 3, 2013 at 12:33 PM

Fallon on June 3, 2013 at 12:26 PM

Here are some more (c)(3)’s and (c)(4)’s that also escape ‘extra scrutiny’:

To Illegally Target Or Not To Illegally Target, That Is The Question

Resist We Much on June 3, 2013 at 12:33 PM

The MSNBC mission has nothing to do with news and everything to do with spreading leftist propaganda. Boycott Comcast…

voiceofreason on June 3, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Hmm. So what do we make of the fact that they had wall-to-wall coverage of the tornados on Friday night? I didn’t stick around to watch, but as I was flipping through the various news channels to find the best coverage, I came across MSNBC several times, through multiple time slots (including Mz M’s), providing live coverage of the goings-on in Oklahoma.

Either they’re changing their tune because reality is biting them in the ratings butt, or Griffin’s just (*gasp*) lying his ass off again.

Or he’s simply clueless as to the daily workings of his own network. No surprise there.

nukemhill on June 3, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Who’s that dude in the screencap?

CurtZHP on June 3, 2013 at 11:24 AM

Fred Savage–all grown up from Wonder Years.

BuckeyeSam on June 3, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Hmm. So what do we make of the fact that they had wall-to-wall coverage of the tornados on Friday night? I didn’t stick around to watch, but as I was flipping through the various news channels to find the best coverage, I came across MSNBC several times, through multiple time slots (including Mz M’s), providing live coverage of the goings-on in Oklahoma.

Easy. Since Oklahoma has a Republican Governor, MSNBC wants to feature her asking the Federal Government for disaster relief. Somehow methinks she won’t get a bear hug (or teddy bear) from Obama like Chris Christie did.

Steve Z on June 3, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Purely as a point of pride, you would think Griffin would want to build his own stable of respected hard-news reporters rather than having to piggyback on NBC’s assets, which reinforces the sense of the network as NBC’s JV squad. CNN went out and got Jake Tapper, MSNBC went out and got Al Sharpton.

lmao

cicerone on June 3, 2013 at 1:09 PM

Allah, did I misread this or did you categorize Jake Tapper as Al Sharpton’s fellow ‘cheap liberal demagogue?’

cynccook on June 3, 2013 at 1:22 PM

there’s a reason to cover it for the sake of advancing the liberal cause — namely that it’ll broaden MSNBC’s audience during big news events and some of those viewers will stick around for Hayes, Maddow, and O’Donnell in primetime. Purely as a point of pride, you would think Griffin would want to build his own stable of respected hard-news reporters rather than having to piggyback on NBC’s assets, which reinforces the sense of the network as NBC’s JV squad.

Funny, Allah. But somehow I missed the invisible hyperlink that tranported the first part of your article over to the part quoted above at The Onion.

dissent555 on June 3, 2013 at 1:26 PM

I always turn to Chris Matthews to find out (a) how its Republicans’ fault and (b) how racism is motivating it. Oh, and (c) how Obama’s handling it really, really well.

You can get the same thing at LGF…if you want seething and contempt for the right, he never disappoints! He usually has 3 posts a day, two of which will be attacking someone from Brietbart, or Glenn (the conspiracy theorist) Beck, or Pam Geller, those are his favorites, but he can find something contemptible and racist about just about any Republican.

scalleywag on June 3, 2013 at 1:37 PM

Who’s that dude in the screencap?

CurtZHP on June 3, 2013 at 11:24 AM

Chris Hayes. Any more questions?

Which reminds me, the company behind Windows 8 is also the company that gave it’s name to this Not News Network. With every “improvement” to this product, fewer and fewer people want anything to do with it.

MNHawk on June 3, 2013 at 1:40 PM

CNN went out and got Jake Tapper, MSNBC went out and got Al Sharpton. If you’re making upwards of $200 million a year, as MSNBC is, and you’re committed to giving a platform to even the cheapest liberal demagogues, why not diversify your brand by going out and hiring both of them?

Because, in a Democratic administration, Tapper is interested in reporting the truth to his viewers, while MSNBC is interested in shielding the truth from their viewers.

MSNBC is the MTV of news networks. There used to be a real purpose to it, but now it’s just a place to go to watch people make fools of themselves.

calbear on June 3, 2013 at 2:07 PM

Who’s that dude in the screencap?

CurtZHP on June 3, 2013 at 11:24 AM

LOL

tommer74 on June 3, 2013 at 2:36 PM

It’s about time they dropped the pretense.

Josef Goebbels and Ezra Klein never admitted they were just propagandists.

Adjoran on June 3, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Hey…if MSNBC wants to put a loaded gun to thier head and blow out thier brains….I’ll help by putting the bullets in the chambers.

logicman_1998 on June 3, 2013 at 3:19 PM

MSNBC: Talking heads full of mush.

Hillary said Al Jazeera is REAL NEWS… “You may not agree with it, but you feel like you’re getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials and, you know, arguments between talking heads and the kind of stuff that we do on our news which, you know, is not particularly informative to us, let alone foreigners.”

See, she wasn’t referring to MSNBC there, because there’s no arguments between their talking heads (full of mush).

Marcola on June 3, 2013 at 3:25 PM

But … why would he choose that?

That’s easy.

MSNBC has to wait for Media Matters to digest any events for them.

Lehosh on June 3, 2013 at 4:31 PM

Everything I try to watch it to see what the left raves about it’s a prison show.

Wagthatdog on June 3, 2013 at 5:07 PM

If you do something badly long enough, eventually you will get more credit just for coming clean than for actually improving your performance.

JackOfClubs on June 3, 2013 at 5:32 PM

President of “news” network (MSNBC) : We’re not the place to turn for breaking news

To get better and faster “coverage” of breaking news MSNBC needs to put pressure on the Obama White House to get those Democrat talking points to MSNBC even faster than they do today. Maybe a “Red Phone” linking the Oval Office and MSNBC is in order.

RJL on June 3, 2013 at 6:53 PM

Not covering the news – isn’t that the path that Newsweek took? And what was Newsweek’s selling price?

ss396 on June 3, 2013 at 7:37 PM

The wrestling federation of news. Did I just insult wrestling?

onomo on June 3, 2013 at 12:11 PM

I’d liken MSNBC more to the Vince Russo-led WCW, which was the ultimate insult to wrestling.

Myron Falwell on June 3, 2013 at 10:28 PM

…they all need penicillin!

KOOLAID2 on June 3, 2013 at 11:09 PM