Green Room

Another muddled MSNBC promo

posted at 8:20 am on July 30, 2012 by

I promised, and I am delivering. That is, I’m continuing with my insightful reviews of MSNBC promos….

MSNBC has done it again, serving up another promotional spot for one of their marquee hosts that leaves me shaking my head and wondering: what are they thinking?

Here’s the latest–Chris Matthews opining in front of Mount Rushmore.

Here’s a transcript of the spot for those who’d prefer not to watch:

Coming out here to Mount Rushmore, it reminds you there are big issues at stake, issues of equality, issues of the pursuit of happiness, issues of freedom and this country standing for something. These guys were all looking forward to what they wanted to build in this country, every one of them. And this place reminds you of that. It’s not just about petty arguments over tax and environmental regulations but about what kind of country you want to live in.

Does Mr. Matthews think that arguments over taxes and environmental regulations are “petty”? Or is he saying those arguments are not petty because they do relate to the broader debate over the country’s direction? Heck if I know.

At least MSNBC has moved away from promos that scold. They’re now into ads that showcase their hosts’ muddled thinking.

What perplexes me about these promos is that they do the opposite of what good promotional material should do. Instead of highlighting their hosts’ strongest and most attractive features (and, to be fair, you could find some), they focus on their weakest and least flattering personality traits. In Matthews’ case, it’s his habit of demeaning adversarial points of view with odd non sequiturs. (Sometimes I expect to hear him burst into a discussion with: “Did you know God is Dog spelled backwards?”)

So, I wonder — does MSNBC really believe these promos showcase their “talent”? Or do they believe these faux-gravitas spots are what will appeal to their audience? Or…is someone playing a big joke on the MSNBC executive suite?
___

Libby Sternberg is a novelist. She watches too much MSNBC so you don’t have to.

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Yeah, the Boston Tea Party had nothing to do with taxes. Nor the Stamp Act either. Matthews needs a remedial American history class.

rbj on July 30, 2012 at 8:51 AM

If environemental regulations are petty, why doesn’t “Tingles” come out in full support of the Keystone pipeline and more coal production?

Not gonna hold my breath for that.

Bitter Clinger on July 30, 2012 at 8:56 AM

They’re now into ads that showcase their hosts’ muddled thinking.

So, I wonder — does MSNBC really believe these promos showcase their “talent

Muddled thinking IS the talent of MSNBC hosts.

Bitter Clinger on July 30, 2012 at 9:07 AM

Thank You Libby for your selfless sacrifice! I couldn’t do it.

Night Owl on July 30, 2012 at 9:48 AM

I saw this add and the Maddow add over the weekend on NBC’s Olympics coverage and I actually thought they were pretty good.
They have a few of their hosts out there looking friendly and saying vague things about how great America is (from a vaguely liberal perspective of course).
The big problem I see with the adds is that they aren’t talking the way they do on their shows. A person who tunes in to MSNBC because they liked the add may not like the show.
There’s also the problem that MSNBC already has good exposure within their market. Why spend all that money on advertising when all the partisan Democrats who watch cable news already know who you are?

Mahna Mahna on July 30, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Why spend all that money on advertising when all the partisan Democrats who watch cable news already know who you are?

I wonder this, too. What is the point of this ad campaign except to pat themselves on the back about how terrific they think they are?

Libby Sternberg on July 30, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Mahna Mahna on July 30, 2012 at 10:06 AM

You thought the Maddow ad was talking about how great America is? That’s some muddled thinking.

GWB on July 30, 2012 at 11:01 AM

I wonder why this network hangs onto Matthews. Is he blackmailing them? For years his ratings have been at the very bottom of all their hosts. I think even Al Sharpton has better ratings than Matthews. Yet, year after year there he is.

TarheelBen on July 30, 2012 at 11:17 AM

M oonbats
S poutng
N othing
B ut
C rap

True dat!

FlatFoot on July 30, 2012 at 12:11 PM

I wonder this, too. What is the point of this ad campaign except to pat themselves on the back about how terrific they think they are?

Libby Sternberg on July 30, 2012 at 10:26 AM

I can think of two possibilities:
1- One of the ironies of politics is that the more extreme someone is, the more they’re convinced a majority of people agree with them. Maybe they really think there are millions more folk out there who’d love to hear Chris Matthews rant about how everyone who disagrees with him is stupid and/or evil. All they need is a clever ad campaign to bring them in.
But I think the most likely explanation is…
2- They don’t know why their ratings are so low, or how to fix it. They just know they have to do something. This commercial is something.

Mahna Mahna on July 30, 2012 at 2:56 PM

does MSNBC really believe these promos showcase their “talent”?

That would require they have some.

squint on July 30, 2012 at 7:57 PM