If you’ve been watching MSNBC this year, you’ve seen two entirely divergent trends: the evening block of smart liberals Chris Hays, Rachel Maddow, and Lawrence O’Donnell is killing it in the ratings, even as the network inexplicably fills in the other slots with a series of conservatives and false equivocators whose ratings have turned out to be terrible. Now it turns out MSNBC is in the process of trying to run off O’Donnell entirely. The network is on a suicide mission, and it’s all because one executive.
Say hello to NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack, or perhaps say goodbye to him if he keeps making ideology-driven moves that keep tanking MSNBC’s ratings. Maddow has the number one rated show on cable news. O’Donnell has number two rated show on MSNBC. Lack could have taken a hint, and gone out and filled the rest of the day’s time slots with other smart liberals like them who are trying to get to the truth.
Instead Lack has given a weekday show to Greta Van Susteren from Fox News, whose ratings are terrible. That didn’t deter him, however, as he also recently gave a weekday show to conservative Nicolle Wallace; her rating will also tank. It’s not that there’s anything inherently wrong with either of those two hosts, but they’re both aiming for the middle of the road at a time when the news is highly asymmetrical.
I want to hear what smart conservatives have to say right now, but I don’t want them telling me that both sides are the same, just as I don’t want to hear from any liberal false equivocators. And yet for his next track, Andrew Lack is on the verge of giving a weekend show to Donald Trump apologist Hugh Hewitt, which is stunning, because at this point the only way to defend Trump on anything is to flat out lie.
But it’s one thing for Lack to ruin every MSNBC time slot outside of the big three. Now he’s committing the cardinal sin of trying to oust Lawrence O’Donnell from the network entirely, according to Huffington Post (link). Even if Lack doesn’t like O’Donnell’s politics or personality, it’s career suicide for an executive to dump a non-troublesome host who’s killing it in the ratings.
And so now, as Lack continues his suicide mission with MSNBC, things appear to have reached the point where the only way to prevent him from ousting Lawrence O’Donnell is to oust him first. I know for a fact that parent company Comcast cares more about ratings and ad revenue than it does about political ideology. So now’s the time to lean on Comcast and make clear to the corporate overlords that it’s time for Andrew Lack to go before he chases away any more viewers and costs Comcast any more money. Call their corporate headquarters at 215-286-1700 and (politely) let them know what you think.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report