Tuesday, September 30, 2008

MSNBC Talent in Short Supply

Posted by Teresa at 2:57 PM
How sad has the news organization MSNBC become lately? If this NY Times
is any clue, the cable network had to pull a former nightly news anchor
Tom Brokaw out of retirement because their current pool talent is somewhat
lacking in objectivity. According to the article, Brokaw was an "advocate" of
pulling Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews from election night and presidential
debate coverage. I'm glad to see that NBC News has a grown up now in the
organization. From the article:

But less widely known is that Mr. Brokaw has also played a pivotal role
out of public view, both within NBC and in its dealings with the campaign
of John McCain in particular.

In an interview here after Sunday’s broadcast, Mr. Brokaw said that over
the summer he had “advocated” within the executive suite of NBC News
to modify the anchor duties of the MSNBC hosts Keith Olbermann and
Chris Matthews on election night and on nights when there were presidential
. Their expressions of strong political opinions from the MSNBC
anchor desk has run counter to the more traditional role Mr. Brokaw
played on “NBC Nightly News” for more than two decades. NBC said
earlier this month that the two hosts would mostly relinquish their anchor
duties to Mr. Gregory, while being present as analysts.

Apparently the McCain camp wasn't going to do any debate with an NBC moderator
until Tom Brokaw stepped in, understandably:

Keith is an articulate guy who writes well and doesn’t make his arguments
in a ‘So’s your old mother’ kind of way,” Mr. Brokaw said. “The mistake was
to think he could fill both roles. The other mistake was to think he wouldn’t
be tempted to use the anchor position to engage in commentary. That’s who
he is.”

Mr. Brokaw said he had also conducted some shuttle diplomacy in recent
weeks between NBC and the McCain campaign. His mission, he said, was
to assure the candidate’s aides that — despite some negative on-air
commentary by Mr. Olbermann in particular — Mr. McCain could still get
a fair shake from NBC News. Mr. Brokaw said he had been told by a senior
McCain aide, whom he did not name, that the campaign had been reluctant
to accept an NBC representative as one of the moderators of the three
presidential debates — until his name was invoked.

One of the things I was told by this person was that they were so irritated,
they said, ‘If it’s an NBC moderator, for any of these debates, we won’t go,’ ”
Mr. Brokaw said. “My name came up, and they said, ‘Oh, hell, we have to do
it, because it’s going to be Brokaw.’ ”

Mr. Brokaw will moderate the second debate, on Oct. 7, in Nashville.

Let's remember that NBC late night comics have been making jokes about how much
in the tank MSNBC is in. Here's Conan O'Brien:

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