Maoist TV loses ratings battle!


We recall the last time they started: We were intrigued by Bill Carter’s report about viewership for the Zimmerman verdict.

According to Carter, more than ten million people watched the verdict on one of the cable news channels. That is a massive number for 10 o’clock Eastern on a Saturday night.

This is the way the numbers broke down:
Cable news viewers for Zimmerman verdict:
Fox News: 3.68 million
CNN: 3.4 million
HLN: 2.2 million
MSNBC: 1.3 million
You can’t necessarily learn much from a single event of this type. MSNBC’s audience is probably somewhat more likely to be out of the house on a Saturday night.

That said, that’s a very poor showing for MSNBC. We were glad to see that. Here’s why:

Increasingly, it looks like the M in MSNBC is starting to stand for Maoist. As we’ve watched the channel covering the trial and the verdict, we recall the way certain elements of the liberal world created three decades of Reaganism “the last time they started.”

MSNBC’s coverage of the trial and the verdict has been just this side of full-blown nuts. The nation’s population is different than it was in the 1960s, so we’ll assume that the children are unlikely to provoke a full-scale conservative era.

In the long run, their approach may even succeed! But those numbers suggest to us that their approach to the trial hasn’t been widely selling.

How will the verdict poll? We have no idea. Surely, we’ll soon find out.

As the master prophetically wrote: Long ago, Bob Dylan foresaw the way The One True Channel was going to cover the trial:
Well, I spied me a girl and before she could leave,
I said, "Hey, let's go and play Adam and Eve."
I took her by the hand and my heart it was thumpin'
When she said, "Hey man, you crazy or sumpin'?
You see what happened last time they started."
The last time they started, we got Ronald Reagan as a chaser to President Nixon.

Abbie Hoffman climbed up on that table during that trial and it was pretty much over.


  1. Wowee. Pretty scary.

    Course a crack analyst of media in America might also know the reason why MSNBC had low ratings is they are usually showing people already in prison on Saturday nights, not the outcome of trials to send people there.

    Maoist? You may indeed have lost it.

    We don't need you to do that.


    1. This "we don't need you" device has been burning a hole in this anon's pocket. He should have curbed his tryhardism and waited until it made sense to drop it.

    2. Also, a crack analyst of media in America might want to add some context as well, such as comparing a network's primetime numbers from Saturday, July 13 to the primetime numbers for Saturday, July 6, rather than just reporting one weekend's numbers in a vacuum.

      On Saturday, July 6, MSNBC's usual fare of prison shows drew 380,000 viewers. So basically, its Zimmerman verdict coverage more than tripled the network's Saturday prime time audience from a week ago.

      Also, a person of Somerby's age and experience knows very well what he is doing when he throws around the word, "Maoist."

      His new audience, however, will eat it up, along with his continuing script that the center of all that is wrong is now MSNBC.

    3. Ha! I think the cops must be taught that phraseology.

      My daughter was hit by another car a few years ago and her father was in his car behind her and observed the accident.

      After the police officer arrived things got heated when the men who hit her tried to blame her for the accident.

      My daughter later told me that the officer politely told my husband, "Sir, I need you to shut-up."

      Since then I've repeated that to him on many occasions when I needed him to do just that.

    4. Something about police phraseology, I think.

    5. Ahh, a non-sequitur. Appreciate your candor.

    6. No it's not. I was replying to guy who made a joke using that similar phraseology from a police dispatcher.

    7. Joke? I thought I was empathizing while avoiding strict liability. I'll let you be in my joke if I can be in yours. I think Abraham Gore invented that.


    8. Sounds more like Abbie Hoffman.

  2. This is some of the best coverage from TDH in years. Outstanding.

  3. Today, blacks feel worse living in America than they did 17 months ago because they were fed 17 months of lies.

    White "progressives" feel better about themselves because they brought an "injustice" to light and gave themselves a chance to admire each other for their deep social consciousness.

    Mission accomplished.

    1. Sure blacks feel worse but look at all the good that came of it for white liberals!

      And some blacks did benefit. Check out Reverend Al's new hottie. You don't get that by sitting around and not pimping cases that have nothing to do with race.

    2. Are you sure the trend downward just started 17 months ago? I thought it was all downhill after OJ was railroaded on trumped up charges
      when he was on the verge of finding Ron Goldman's real killer.

      I am sure you have a good source. Like the Rasmussen poll that found most Americans feel blacks are the real racists.


  4. Sociologists and social psychologists have begun to focus on "microaggressions," subtle daily acts of prejudice that do not rise to full flown racism but contribute to a sense of discrimination. These may be ambiguous, making it hard for the person experiencing them to object. Someone who is hypervigilant or over-sensitive to social slight may interpret ambiguous acts as racially motivated.

    I think this new focus is because overt acts of hostility motivated by racism are not occurring with the same frequency any more, yet the perception that things have improved racially is not widely held either. It is unclear to me whether racism has simply gone underground (as activist might claim) or whether a sense of victimization is preventing people from recognizing improvement in social interactions. Maybe both. If racism has become more subtle and difficult to address, perhaps the frustration of that is motivating activists to jump on symbolic events like this one. Or maybe it is time for young people to begin to recognize that old attitudes are largely gone and a less defensive relationship is now possible. That won't happen as long as the old guard keeps the old animosities alive in young people.

    My take on the demonstrations is that Trayvon would have enjoyed participating in some of them.

    1. Except anyone who cares to think about it would understand those battles shouldn't be fought by finding "symbolic" cases that don't have anything to do with race. Scapegoating a "white" man isn't going to do any good.

    2. (But yours is a thoughtful comment)

    3. On the contrary, this is exactly how these battles should be fought -- by choosing your battleground among symbolic cases. This is why Gandhi marched to the sea to harvest salt. This is why Rosa Parks refused to yield her seat on the bus. This is why the students in Greensboro and Nashville sat-in at the lunch counters. This is why the Freedom Riders boarded buses through the south.

      And this is why Martin Luther King organized the march from Selma to Montgomery. Do you think he was only interested in securing voting rights for the people of Selma, Ala.?

      No, Selma was very much a "symbol" if you will of the systematic disenfranchisement of black citizens that was going on across the South.

  5. Bob's having it both ways. The network that no one watches --- a point made by me and others on this site ad nauseum --- is also the focal points of what's wrong with liberalism. How about, liberalism is actually doing Ok, as is evidenced in part that few if any liberals bother to watch msnbc.

    Since no one's watching, why bother spending millions and millions of keystrokes on it.

    1. Simple. As Bob has written practically daily for the last 15 years, it is much easier to stick to a favorite script, novel and/or narrative and repeat it over and over again ad nauseum, than to do the hard work of thinking and being original. Even for Somerby.

    2. @Anon 5:36:

      I think this analogy is off the mark. What TDH has done is create a framework for analysis. His argument is that the media both "left" and "right" depend on simple-minded collective narratives rather than factual reporting and objective analysis. He backs up this argument with example after example, which might prove tedious to some, but then again, no need to visit the site. That is, to my mind, quite different than engaging in the same kind of narrative building that he criticizes.

    3. And he makes the point that it doesn't serve progressive interests whether it's FOX or MSNBC

    4. And you think this blog "serves progressive interests" whatever that means?

      And Cacambo, one of the things Somerby continually rails about is cherry-picking data. As pointed out above, Bob seemed to "forget" that ordinary Saturday night programming for MSNBC is prison shows that draw virtually no rating, and that its coverage of the Zimmerman verdict was triple its Saturday night audience of the week before.

      Another thing he has lamented in the past is gratuituous, pointless pop culture references. Can anybody explain what the Bob Dylan verse has to do in any way with whatever point Bob was struggling to make?

    5. I don't think it's "what's wrong with liberalism". Ineffectual, a corporate entry in the the political game peopled by shameless climbers, "branded" liberal, is more like it.

    6. Anon @10:23

      You know something is happening here
      But you don't know what it is.

      Do you?


    7. "no one's watching"
      ""branded" liberal, is more like it"

      Actually, thought the numbers are lower than anyone else's, quite a few people are watching. And most of them are calling themselves either "liberal" or "progressive."

      I KNOW these people. I have family members who are these people.

      The idea that most of you are touting so regularly comes down to this -- MSNBC should be exempt from criticism.

      You are the ones wasting millions of keystrokes because your net effect is to insist this wee blogger not criticise MSNBC so much.

      Even worse, from your own supposed point-of-view, you are actually defending MSNBC, which you (rightly, IMO) don't even regard as a progressive or liberal institution.

      You're inadvertently hilarious in your stupidity. A handful of sad internet clowns defending MSNBC from a wee blogger. Pathetic.

    8. I'll speak for myself and say that I have never insisted that anybody be "exempt from criticism."

      I'm just sad that Bob has become that which he condemns the most and grabs any reed in the wind to advance his deep-seated disdain for anyone and everyone who dares to appear on MSNBC.

      And he does it in the most vile, personal ways, his protestations that "personally, he likes" Chris Matthews.

      For example, how many times has he written, "Meow, Meow. hiss, hiss" after some catty remark Maureen Dowd has made? Now look at all the catty, childish names he has called Rachel Maddow, in particular, and every other MSNBC host as well.

      Bob also said that the mission of his blog is to raise the American discourse. How does calling MSNBC hosts "money-grubbers" and "maggots" accomplsh that?

      It does accomplish one thing, to quote the old Bob Somerby. It does throw "sweet hay to the lowing cattle" who seem to constitute a rather large segment of Somerby's remaining audience.

    9. Bravo. Only keep checking back here from time to time to see if Bob has regained his perspective. No luck so far.

  6. How about the real reason it all went south, they escalated in Vietnam.

    I forgive Abbie.

  7. If you google "M in MSNBC is starting to stand for Maoist'" you will see that the line is cribbed from some old Fox News something or other....

    So in addition to being inaccurate (is MSNBC really going after the agrarian peasant viewer demographic?), it's not original.

    Collins and Dowd routinely present funnier material. Maybe that's why they're in the NYT and Bob's not.

    1. I took you up on that. "Maoist MSNBC" seems to have originated in early April with Ken Shepherd in the right-wing blog Newsbusters over Melissa Harris-Perry's promo ad in which she said we are all responsible for the children of this nation.

      He called that "a philosophy that undergirded the Cultural Revolution of Chairman Mao" in a post entitled, "Melissa Harris-Perry Advocates Maoist Collective Child Raising" and quickly spread through the right-wing blogosphere.

      The next week, addressing the Melissa Harris-Perry ad on the Sean Hannity show, Michele Malkin called MSNBC the "Maoist, Socialist, Nutballs Broadcasting Company."

      It is indeed a sad day when we find Somerby cribbing from Malkin.

    2. Not to be picky, and I know it lacks the alliterative match with the call letters,
      but wouldn't Trots TV be a more sensitive but accurate commite perjorative?


    3. Yes, it would rick. But it would also be original. Somerby has had one of those kinds of thoughts in quite some time.

  8. And let's not forget the devil whorshipping in "Easy Rider!" Apparently Rachel Maddow is threatening Bob's sacred body fluids. Before he grinds this particular axe to dust, he might want to revisit what the sensible people were enabling in Veitnam....