Someone needs to tell the folks at MSNBC that the world now exists in a 24/7 news cycle.
Several times in recent weeks, the self-proclaimed “place for politics” has missed out on major stories which unfolded over the weekend as MSNBC aired seemingly endless episodes of the jailhouse-reality series LOCKDOWN. On Monday night’s HARDBALL, guest host Lawrence O’Donnell was left acting as if the three-day old Palin resignation story was somehow breaking news despite the fact there had been no new developments. An hour later, COUNTDOWN’s Keith Olbermann opened his show by referencing the fact that Palin’s resignation announcement occurred “on the Friday of the Fourth of July weekend, the ultimate bad-news dump day,” as if that excused his network’s shockingly poor coverage of the major political event.
Only a few weeks earlier, anyone looking for news on the uprisings in Iran were forced to turn elsewhere for details as MSNBC had put up their “Gone Fishin'” sign and taken off for the weekend.
All of which begs the question: Can MSNBC call itself a legitimate “news channel” and continue to broadcast movies such as “The Comic Book Murders” (airing this Saturday at 3 p.m., come hell or political scandal!)?
Then again, this is MSNBC we’re talking about, where Olbermann — perhaps the network’s most recognizable figure — does not even attempt to hide his bias, always bringing on talking heads who agree with his left-skewing viewpoints. (At least his Fox News Channel counterpart/punching bag, Bill O’Reilly, brings on opposing viewpoints, even it if is only so that he can ridicule their stances and shout them down from his self-serving bully pulpit!)
Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Maybe MSNBC needn’t change its format so much as its slogan. Instead of touting itself as “the place for politics”, the channel should more accurately proclaim itself “the place for infotainment.”