Today on The Big Story, John Gibson devoted a segment to the EP change at NBC Nightly News and ABC beating it in the ratings. Gibson had on to “analyze” the whole thing someone from….wait for it…the MRC. Why not NewsMax? or TownHall? Would have been the same result. The MRC pundit Rich Noyes jumped through his hoops on how MSNBC being so far to the left caused it to “contaminte the mothership” at NBC. His evidence was that because correspondents at NBC are ” permanent fixtures at MSNBC during the daytime” and MSNBC’s analysts are over at NBC.
First of all who, outside of Norah O’Donnell, is an NBC correspondent who is a permanent fixture at MSNBC these days? Andrea Mitchell was for a short time but that’s apparently ended. But neither O’Donnell or Mitchell has been used as an an example of NBC’s leftward turn. Bill O’Reilly went to great lengths to exonerate Mitchell from that mess when she was on The Factor. Furthermore NBC talent appearing on MSNBC has been going on to one degree or another since its inception. And just now it’s contaminating the mothership? Doubtful.
Second of all, which MSNBC analysts have been appearing on NBC that would count as contamination of NBC to contribute to its “leftward turn”. Dan Abrams? Joe Scarborough? Chris Matthews, maybe. But Matthews has been on NBC for years and years. Remember, Olbermann has not appeared regularly, if at all, on NBC as of this point.
William Arkin came up of course. On this point Noyes, his ideological bent and motives nonwithstanding, scored a bullseye because Arkin is still with NBC apparently when by rights he should have been dropped like the hot potato he now has become.
Noyes ended up basically taking the air out of the whole segment by admitting that there’s not that big a difference between NBC Nightly’s newscast and ABC’s Newscast in terms of how “liberal” it is. Which just begs the question, if there’s no significant difference in the ideology of the two newscasts then how the heck can anybody claim with any credibility that an alleged leftward turn by NBC News is the reason why it’s now in second place? Noyes tried to dig himself out of the quicksand he stumbled into by saying that ABC had started addressing stories of interest to Conservatives. The problem with this argument is that it undermines Noyes original point that ABC is liberal. You can’t be liberal if you’re addressing issues important to conservatives, I say. Furthermore if NBC already was liberal, then how can it be more liberal to the point that it tunes out conservatives, who likely wouldn’t be watching in the first place because it already was liberal in their eyes?
So in the end we had a segment where it was established that NBC News correspondents, who haven’t been part of the evidence for NBC’s “leftward turn”, were contaminated by being fixtures on MSNBC, MSNBC analysts, who have been appearing on NBC for years, now suddenly contiminating the network to the point that it goes liberal, and NBC News, already a liberal network, is losing share to ABC, which is just as liberal. Except when it isn’t. Cue the Twilight Zone theme…
If Gibson or O’Reilly or anybody else wants to point out that MSNBC is making Keith Olbermann the face of the network and point out that Olbermann has gone left, I’d have no problem with that. The day Olbermann puts a conservative on to talk about a conservative issue, I’ll change my tune. If they want to point out that Olbermann is now going to be appearing on NBC Nightly in a comentator role, I’d have no problem with that either as long as they acknowledge that his role on Nightly will be different from that on Countdown. If they want to point out that Olbermann’s ratings have gone up because he’s the darling of the blue blogs, I’d have no problem with that as well. I readily conceed all those points because they seem self-evident.
But to extrapolate all that as some sort of damning indictment of NBC News as a whole, is ridiculous. Day in and day out the news operation of NBC News and MSNBC News has not changed much with regards to the stories it has covered, particularly where ideology is concerned. And nobody has made a convincing case to me yet that that is still not the case. Segments like these are about as convincing as when Olbermann has the guy who did OutFoxed on to analyze FNC…