Skip to comments.MSNBC president: “We’re beginning to chip away at Fox News”
Posted on 08/03/2011 1:39:53 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Fox News leads TV ratings on a weekly, quarterly and yearly basis, but MSNBC president Phil Griffin says MSNBC has begun to carve a little place for itself in cable news. The Hollywood Reporter gives the details:
MSNBC president Phil Griffin has his sights set on Fox News. Griffin opened the networks presentation at the Television Critics Association press tour here by noting that this year, MSNBC has surpassed perennial cable news leader Fox News in the ratings in multiple hours. The previous year, MSNBC did it once.
It just gives you an indication of where were going, said Griffin. For the first time were beginning to chip away at Fox News Channel.
First of all, I have to admire the guy’s optimism. A few hours amount to peanuts in the 24/7 cycle — but, still, good for Griffin for finding something to celebrate. But the really interesting part of his presentation came later, when he disputed the popular notion that MSNBC is just the liberal version of conservative Fox.
“I dont see an equivalency between us and Fox News, Griffin said. There are no talking points. We dont sit around and discuss how were going to cover any particular issue. That is something that you have to take account of when you compare the two of us. I just dont see the same equivalency. I do say that we have a progressive attitude.
The clear implication, of course, is that the folks at Fox do sit around and discuss how they’re going to cover a particular issue. Has Griffin watched Fox News? He ought to know how regularly the top two talk show hosts on FNC — Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity — disagree with each other. Are they both conservative? Yes. Do they think alike on every issue? No. Rather like Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews on the left, I’d wager.
What’s so refreshing about O’Reilly and Hannity is how openly they own their biases. You won’t hear any pretense to objectivity from Hannity of the sort Maddow delivered in the same Hollywood Reporter piece.
I think its easy to characterize us versus Fox, but I really dont think we live up to the caricature, said Maddow, adding that shes done positive coverage of former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romneys stance on climate change, for instance.
They dont know what to do with that [story at Fox News]. Neither Phil nor any other executive is telling us what to think of climate change. [Fox News] really are pushing a party line. Not every host. But I think were more unpredictable.
Funnily enough, it bothers me that Maddow is trying to brand MSNBC as “unpredictable” far more than it bothers me that MSNBC actually is progressive. At least Griffin said the channel operates from a “progressive attitude.” That owning of bias is to be applauded.
Because here’s the deal: So what if every host on TV openly pushes an agenda – if everybody watching is keenly aware of it? Are viewers at any disadvantage as they sort out the information biased hosts provide? What host is not biased?
What protected objectivity in the past, supposedly, were systems — neutral, open-ended interview techniques, scrupulous fact-checking, rigorous copy-editing, etc. Yet, bias still crept in. Of course it did. As human beings with thoughts and opinions, reporters couldn’t help but subtly influence their coverage. The new model that’s emerging is even more honest than the old — one in which reporters strip away their own self-delusions and acknowledge the principles that guide their thinking. True, this new model requires more from the reader or from the viewer. It demands that information consumers seek out a diversity of sources, ask questions, engage the material — and it offers no guarantees that consumers will do that, leaving open the possibility that some citizens would prefer to live their lives in an echo chamber of reassurance.
That last bit is troubling to anyone who values truth — but recognized as inevitable to anyone who values freedom. Not everyone will use freedom of information wisely, but that doesn’t mean reporters should again wall up the facts behind the “gate” of “objective” journalism, not even for the sake of the ignorance-is-bliss security that seems to have accompanied watching Walter Cronkite on the news every night and never knowing what information wasn’t presented.
Update: Incidentally, I’m not the only person who has come to this conclusion. Check out the great work of Timothy Groseclose, a political science professor at UCLA and the author of Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind. Groseclose thinks we’d be better served if every reporter — and not just talk show hosts! — identified what Groseclose refers to as his or her “political quotient.”
MSNBC has a GREAT argument for tax cuts ;)
Whatever happened to Brit Hume and Chris Wallace?
They got rid of the BEST of the BEST of conservatives, Glen Beck and substitutes that stupid show packed with liberal think, something "5", why would I want one more of the same ole', same ole'.
Fox is leaning more liberal all the time. Bringing Colmes and Beckal more to the front is definately not a way to win my viewership. Turn them off.
Either that or it's a temporary bounce caused by Olbermann's departure...
The only program I watch over there is an occasional few minutes on Morning Joe. They will—at times—have some good discussions when Joe is in his right mind (I admit...not very often). But Fox and Friends drives me nuts with the lost dog stories, so I often switch over to Imus (until that idiot Rob starts crying with his Boehner “impression”). At that point, I watch the Weather Channel or metro traffic.
what does HLN stand for?
For years, the MSM hotly denied having a liberal bias. Now, having been repeatedly called out on it (by conservatives) and willfully abandoning any pretense of objectivity during the past decade or so, it’s amusing to see the left’s hyper-angst over the emergence of Fox News as a powerhouse alternative to the biased MSM, mainly the 3 TV broadcast networks and most of the cable ‘news’ networks. MSNBC president Phil Griffin attempting to find a pony under the pile of manure is kind of entertaining, even if ultimately futile. Fox News, while not even close to the ‘right wing PR machine’ the left contends, looks fair and balanced when compared to the all-left-all-the-time networks on cable and the ‘news’ divisions of the ‘Big 3 ‘ broadcast networks. The left’s whining about how dangerously far right Fox News is rapidly dissolves in the light of the reality that Fox News is a relatively balanced network and new Fox News viewers see that the left was just lying, as usual. MSNBC employees can kid themselves all they want and cling to the hope they’ll someday overtake Fox News but they might as well hope to retire on their winnings from PowerBall.
RE: Bringing Colmes and Beckal more to the front is definately not a way to win my viewership.
Well, they did say they wanted to be FAIR and BALANCED.
BOR is a Obama supporter.
Yeah, but Phil,we are tuning in to laugh AT you, not with you.
cnn’s Head Line News.
Wallace, forget it. He could fit right in on MSNBC.
Consider me one of those fed up Conservatives. I’ve grown a bit tired of Fox. O’Reilly is too pompous for my tastes, and Hannity too much of an apoligist. Fox and Friends used to be my favorite show, but since E.D. left it’s not the same.
I do watch MSNBC at times, usually Mornin Joe. I don’t watch it because I believe in what they say, I watch it because I don’t. I don’t need my news to reinforce what I already believe, I’d rather see different points of view.
If anything, FOX is commiting suicide.
Bingo! They’re trying to appeal to a wider group of viewers and losing their base.
John Coale: Coale, a well-known Washington lawyer and the husband of Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren, drew national media attention when he endorsed Sen. John McCain's presidential bid in protest of the way in which Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who he backed in the primary, was treated. Coale, in an interview with the Fix, described himself simply as a "friend" of the Alaska governor but acknowledged that he suggested she start a leadership PAC and helped her navigate through some of the questions surrounding her family that lingered after the campaign.
Others familiar with Palin's political team insist that Coale has far more power than he is letting on -- essentially helping to run Sarah PAC. Coale demurred on that front, noting only that he talks to Palin regularly and that she is a "fascinating person" who is "definitely not what the right thinks or the left thinks."
I know if I were going to overcome my biggest competitor for viewers the first thing I would do would be to hire Al Sharpton...LOL