Sometimes The Cable Gamer feels like a lone voice in the wilderness. We’ve written more than once about the shell game being played over at MSNBC. They announced a pivot to “hard news” during the daytime hours and people like Touré and Ed Schultz were shown the door.
But their hard news is unlike any other. It includes a daily two-hour news block anchored by an NBC newsman who publicly advocates personal positions on controversial issues, and can go for a week at a time without ever having a conservative viewpoint to balance the left-of-center parade of guests and analysts. It takes political hacks and opionators (e.g. Alex Seitz-Wald of Think Progress) and rebrands them as MSNBC “correspondents.” And even one of the channel’s own lefty activists (case-in-point: Joy Reid) gets an instant makeover to emerge as another MSNBC “correspondent.”
To represent this panorama of progressivism as “hard news” is farcical, but never underestimate the partiality of the media establishment. In a world where a quintessentially fair journalist like Bill Hemmer is attacked for imaginary “bias,” the graybeards give MSNBC’s snake-oil a pass.
Apologists will say the current programming is simply transitional, and that matters will improve when permanent hosts are put in place. But that theory hit a pot hole this week when MSNBC announced its latest hire. The Cable Gamer is totally unsurprised that he hails not from the world of journalism and shoe-leather reporting, but from the halls of HuffPo and the backrooms of Bloomberg. Jacob Soboroff may not have any training as a journalist, but to MSNBC the work he did is better than staying at a Holiday Inn Express: he paid his activism dues as an aide to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and POTUS candidate Howard Dean. What’s more, he pushed progressive causes at Huffington Post.
If Mr. Soboroff were coming to MSNBC as yet another lefty opinionator, at least that would be an appropriate assignment given his resumé. But no, they’re billing Jacob Soboroff, long-time progressive commentator, as an MSNBC “correspondent!” Just like Joy Reid.
So much for the notion that all these progressive activists playing correspondents is “transitional.” Schultz, Touré, and the rest were let go over a month ago. The so-called pivot to hard news goes back as far as March. And yet here we are, well into the makeover, and Andy Lack is still hiring liberal political activists and opinionators, calling them “correspondents,” and plugging them into MSNBC’s “hard news” coverage without batting an eye. While the media establishment yawns.
A Cable Game Thought Exercise: What if Fox News made Ann Coulter a senior national correspondent? How about giving Ed Henry’s beat to Sean Hannity? One can only imagine the feces-storm that would break out among the media elite over such brazen moves. But with MSNBC’s masquerade party of lefty opinionators dressed up as journalists, the critical watchdogs haven’t barked. Why? Because they’re among friends.