Tonight MSNBC will again install Rachel Maddow in the anchor chair along with Brian Williams to head up their impartial “hard news” coverage of the New Hampshire primaries. Why is a partisan opinionizer anchoring a live news event? For the same reason she hosted a debate: she is MSNBC’s most watched property. But aside from the obvious journalistic issues this raises, there’s another problem—the audience.
We’ve read a lot from people hyping Trump about how brilliantly he’s dividing the Fox audience, beating Ailes at his own game, and so forth. But our elite media journalists have been careful to say nothing about Bernie Sanders, who is proving more adept at dividing audiences than Trump. Case in point: Monday’s Rachel Maddow Show, the closest thing to a 60-minute infomercial for Hillary Clinton you’re likely to see all week. Much of the show was given over to a genteel, cozy interview with Ms. Clinton, one in which snarky Maddow transformed into a sort of political Dr. Phil, tip-toeing over the most contentious issues and avoiding anxiety at all costs.
If you think the Sanders supporters haven’t noticed what Maddow’s been up to, you are wrong. Check out some of these comments from the Democratic Underground:
- Practically the ENTIRE Rachel Maddow Show was spent either discussing, showcasing or… interviewing Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the eve of the New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Primary Election? It was in a word… UNBELIEVABLE!
- She let Hillary lash out at Bernie and did not even have a Bernie surrogate on to respond to those attacks. That’s not journalism. That’s pure crap. The nite before NH no less.
- Why would anyone throw away half of their own audience like that? Bye bye to her and her show.
- Rachel did a one-on -one with HRH right before Iowa too. Their shilling is really doing a lot of good, eh?
- I thought at first that it was a paid political ad. Way to go, Rachel!
Rachel hasn’t been faring much better on twitter:
The Cable Gamer is struck by how little attention this viewer revolt is getting compared to the oohing and ahhhing over Trump, allegedly on the verge of wreaking havoc on Fox News. Of course, the dirty little secret is how little this will matter to ratings. Rabidly partisan viewers get upset during elections, but rarely stay away forever, if at all. Fox News hasn’t been destroyed; it’s as strong as ever. Trump didn’t beat Ailes at his own game: Ailes beat Trump. And those irate MSNBC viewers will eventually forgive Rachel for her apostasy when they’ve calmed down.
What this does underline is MSNBC’s twisted notion that its “hard news” coverage must include opinionizers in the anchor chairs. That is indicative of how spurious this “rebranding” of MSNBC into a channel that does “hard news” really is. No serious news viewer is going to accept someone who has all but joined the Hillary campaign as an impartial news anchor covering her election. And neither will those Bernie supporters.
Appendix: The tweets pictured above: