Friday, July 22, 2011

White House In Charge of Neutering MSNBC

According to Brian Stelter’s piece in yesterday’s New York Times, Al Sharpton has replaced Cenk Uygur as the 6pm anchor on MSNBC. I liked Cenk. He was energetic and appealed to a younger demographic, the one that actually organized and came out to vote for Obama in 2008. That’s when Obama had a million-dollar email list courtesy of David Pfouffe. Cenk, as he did as a Young Turk, asked hard-hitting questions and wasn’t afraid to stand up for the common man/woman. The one that’s out of work, underwater and debates every month whether to pay the rent, buy food or clothes for the kids.

He said that Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC, told him pressure had come from Washington to get rid of him:

In April, he said, Mr. Griffin “called me into his office and said that he’d been talking to people in Washington and that they did not like my tone.” …He also said that Mr. Griffin said the channel was part of the “establishment” and “that you need to act like it.”

Griffin also complained about Cenk’s “body language”. Not obsequious enough.

Sharpton has his own baggage. Forget about the Tawana Brawley case (that was ancient history and merely an example of the shrewd PR that characterizes Sharpton). According to the cover story in the Village Voice,“Citizen Bloomberg” by Harry Siegel, Sharpton was handsomely compensated by our NYC mayor to extol the benefits of the results of Bloomberg’s takeover of the school system, travelling around with Joel Klein, then the school’s chancellor. (Now Klein is on the board of News Corp assisting with that PR effort.) Much of the article is taken up by Bloomberg’s brand-polishing and rewarding those who embellish it:

[Bloomberg] followed up by a nationwide victory tour with then-Chancellor Joel Klein and a well-compensated occasional sidekick Sharpton to tout the school system’s “amazing results”.

Obama may decry Fox News as the house organ of the Republicans, but is MSNBC becoming the neutered organ of his 2012 presidential bid? After all, Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric which owns MSNBC (among many other properties) heads Obama’s Presidential Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Do you think that Griffin takes orders from Immelt who has the ear of the POTUS?

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