Last week Dylan Ratigan announced that he would be leaving his program on MSNBC. That leaves a vacancy in the afternoon for the network that could be used as an opportunity to jumpstart their stagnant ratings. Unfortunately, the programming geniuses at MSNBC seem to be more interested in committing ratings suicide.
According to Politico, MSNBC is planning to introduce a temporary program that will feature rotating hosts. Among those being considered are Steve Kornacki, Toure, Krystal Ball, Ezra Klein, and S.E. Cupp.
S.E. Cupp? Seriously? For those unfamiliar with her, Cupp is currently the host of a webcast for Glenn Beck’s GBTV. Why MSNBC thinks that adding Cupp to their schedule will benefit the network is incomprehensible. Do think that the trouble with MSNBC’s ratings is that they haven’t featured enough of Glenn Beck’s conspiratorial Tea Party dementia? Are they concerned that giving three hours every morning to Joe Scarborough, a former GOP congressman, is too little to satisfy MSNBC’s audience demand for right-wing dogma?
More likely MSNBC is adopting the Fox-Lite strategy wherein lazy programmers aspire to emulate Fox’s success with the idiotic assumption that it has something to do with their ideology. It doesn’t. CNN made that mistake and they are now floundering in third place. And falling for this fallacy is even worse for MSNBC because it risks alienating their core audience. Liberal viewers will quickly abandon the network if they perceive it as lurching rightward. And if MSNBC thinks that they will replace those viewers with converts from Fox, they are insane. Fox viewers are fiercely loyal and rarely leave the comfort of their conservative electronic hearth. Even Fox Business Network VP, Kevin Magee, recognized this when he warned his staff in a memo against employing Fox News methods:
“…the more we make FBN look like FNC the more of a disservice we do to ourselves. I understand the temptation to imitate our sibling network in hopes of imitating its success, but we cannot. If we give the audience a choice between FNC and the almost-FNC, they will choose FNC every time.”
It isn’t as if there aren’t plenty of other options. Journalist Joy-Ann Reid is currently an MSNBC contributor. As is Maria Teresa Kumar, who could fill a noticeable absence of Latino hosts in the cable news business. If they are determined to hire a Republican, how about Meghan McCain, the well-connected daughter of a senator/GOP presidential candidate? At least she isn’t kneejerk conservative, Tea Partier with ties to Glenn Beck.
Unless MSNBC is looking to trail Fox News by even greater margins, they should cease to consider S.E. Cupp as a host. Her brand of extremist conservatism is a poor fit for the network and a disservice to its audience. Just the fact that they would entertain the notion is evidence of how pathetically weak the media is and how utterly false the contention that it is unduly liberal.