Courtesy of a Rhodes Scholar: MSNBC’s ratings are down at this point.
When ratings go down, they can go back up. Beyond that, ratings are not a measure of quality.
How good is this news channel’s work? Sometimes, the work is quite bad. Consider Rachel Maddow’s opening segment from Monday night’s program.
The segment in question ran just over twenty-two minutes. On the surface, the segment concerned Leon Panetta’s new “tell-all” book, in which he expresses concerns about his former boss, President Obama.
Panetta expressed grave concerns about Obama on last Tuesday’s O’Reilly Factor. This topic was well worth discussing.
Unfortunately, when Maddow tackled the topic, she gave us rubes a rather large dose of cheap thrills and sexy sex-time entertainment. The first seven minutes of the segment were devoted to Nancy Reagan’s astrologer, whose existence came to light in a 1988 tell-all book.
The next three minutes and twenty-five seconds concerned Dick Morris’s “hooker,” a sexually exciting scandal from 1996.
How did Morris’ fun with that “hooker” fit the Panetta segment? Simple! The incident got Morris fired from his job as adviser to President Clinton. After that, the gent went off and wrote his own tell-all book!
Maddow seems devoted to “long form journalism” for her opening segment. Often, this involves the killing of beaucoup time as she wanders the countryside, rattling pointless exotica.
We thought this segment took the cake. Roughly speaking, this is the way the time allotments broke down:
Opening segment, The Rachel Maddow ShowMaddow spent seven minutes discussing Nancy’s astrologer. She spent a bit less than three minutes interviewing Stein.
Monday, October 13, 2014
Full segment: 22:12
Nancy Reagan’s astrologer: 7:00
Dick Morris’s hooker: 3:25
Maddow monologue on Panetta: 8:01
Maddow interview with Sam Stein: 2:55
Promos for upcoming segments: 0:30
Panetta’s name wasn’t even mentioned until the 10:38 mark of the segment. Sadly, this was Maddow’s first observation about her putative man of the hour:
MADDOW (10/13/14): Ironically—this is interesting—it was Leon Panetta as White House chief of staff in the Clinton era who had to face all the questions about Dick Morris and the hooker! He had to face all those questions from the press corps the day those revelations broke open during the 1996 campaign.In all honesty, we didn’t think that was interesting, except as an example of how bad it can get on this channel.
Leon Panetta was sort of a Clinton lifer who President Obama first tapped to be his CIA director and then to be his secretary of defense...
In truth, Maddow had nothing to say about Panetta or about his book. Her goal was obvious. She was telling viewers that Panetta’s criticisms of Obama are a bunch of self-serving nonsense scripted by Clinton World.
This could be true, of course. That said, Maddow’s analyses and evidence made little apparent sense. Stein quickly contradicted a central thesis, but he had been given so little time that we’ll assume nobody noticed.
In fairness, Maddow’s work isn’t always this bad. On the other hand, this woeful effort hardly lacks for precedent.
To watch Maddow discuss that astrologer, you can just click here. Does this help explain this channel’s ratings ennui?
Our Ouija board is in the shop. For that reason, we have no idea.
To watch the interview: The interview with the unhelpful Stein was posted as a stand-alone segment.
To watch it, just click this.