Cable Gamer Joe Concha broke the story last week that MSNBC was scotching some of its daytime opinion line-up to increase the hours dedicated to news coverage. And readers of The Cable Game know we broke the story months ago that MSNBC’s “news coverage” is in fact a thinly-disguised variation of its opinion programming, even to using failed opinionizers as born-again “reporters” and “correspondents.”
Who here remembers Alison Stewart? She was a utility news correspondent at MSNBC back during Olbermann’s heyday, and when the King refused to get out of the bathtub, Ms. Stewart would often be pressed into service to sit in the OlbyChair and anchor Countdown. And amazingly it came off pretty much like every other Countdown: the same rigidly one-sided guest list, the same topic obsessions, etc.
It was hard to take Ms. Stewart seriously as a capitol-J journalist after that. It would be like Bret Baier filling in for Sean Hannity and spending the week playing Obama montages, tossing a football, and deriding the “Obamamania Media.” Can you imagine what how “media critics” would roast Mr. Baier for a stunt like that? Funny, nobody raised an eyebrow when Alison Stewart did it.
Well, MSNBC is up to their old tricks again. They don’t have many real journalists, but that doesn’t stop them from compromising the integrity of the few they do have. And so Richard Lui turns up substituting for none other than Melissa Harris-Perry and co-hosting her opinion show! Teaming up with online opinionizer Janet Mock, Lui got to preside over one totally biased segment after another, expounding on such heady topics as the twitter fight between Taylor Swift and Nicky Minaj and the lessons it teaches us on “how feminism is different between white women, and black women, or women of color.”
The line between news and opinion? It was always a bit blurry at MSNBC, but now that their news anchors host opinion shows on the side, the line is officially nonexistent. And just in time for more “hard news coverage” in the daytime line-up. “Lean Forward” lives on.