September 12, 2008
MSNBC Gets Real With News Anchors
HERE'S some "Breaking News" from MSNBC:
The cable news channel has dumped two of its high-profile yakkers - Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews - from the anchor seats of its political coverage. David Gregory, a legitimate news broadcaster, will lead the political coverage going forward.
Liberal bloggers are upset by the move, arguing that MSNBC caved in to pressure from John McCain's campaign and the right wing. Criticizing the media has been a cheap but effective tool by the McCain camp - but on this score MSNBC has no one to blame but itself.
The short-lived Olbermann-Matthews anchor duo was a misguided ploy designed to boost ratings. The experiment backfired when the coverage veered off into on-air spats between the anchors that began to sound more like talk radio.
The move left the cable network open to valid criticism of having a liberal bias. Serious news readers, such as NBC anchor Brian Williams, seemed put out by how the biased bickering was cheapening the news value.
There has been a blurring of news and opinion, especially at the cable networks, where talking heads manage to yammer on and on for hours without actually saying much.
Of late, MSNBC has emerged as the liberal counterweight to the conservative Fox News Channel. Both are preaching to their respective choirs rather than providing objective news coverage and useful analysis.
This time, MSNBC went too far by putting blatantly biased commentators in the role of news anchors. Even Fox knows better than to have Bill O'Reilly anchor its political coverage. So far, anyway.
Unfortunately, the real losers have been viewers hungry for substantive political coverage of the issues.
The Philadelphia Inquirer
(c) 2008 San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.