ICN doesn’t mean to channel CJR Daily, but MSNBC has started doing something odd with some of its interview segments during its daytime news coverage. Yesterday, one topic was a study on diet soda. Today another subject was cigarrette smoking in the movies and on TV. In both instances the subject was dealt with twice during a given hour, and in the case of the diet soda story, over multiple hours. What made this so notable was the fact that the same people were interviewed twice or more live with the same exact intro and the same exact opening question.
The issue for me is not that the subjects being discussed aren’t of value or aren’t important because they are. The issue is how a story is told. Having the same guests on in the same hour to re-hash the same subject with one or more of the same questions reeks of…well…sameness. There’s not a lot one can do new or differently with an interview when you have on the same guests and ask the same questions given the limited time constraints one faces. They’ve already gotten their points across in the first interview. At that point, why have a second interview? Where’s the benefit to the viewer in conveying the same subject the same way with the same people?
I suppose the argument could be made that a second interview benefits those who missed the first interview. In that case it would suggest that MSNBC is moving back to a wheel format again. I would hope that isn’t the case because I find the wheel format in general to be far too constricting. But that’s a subject for another day…
UPDATE: I don’t think I did a very good job conveying the main theme I was trying to get across so I re-wrote this entry.
UPDATE 2: I went back and re-read the entry and found that my redundancy story was also taking MSNBC to task over story selection. That was a mistake on my part, because all the networks emphasize some stories over others at times and I’m not going to single MSNBC out for that sort of criticism while ignoring similar examples on other networks. So I purged those parts of the write-up from the entry. I would also point out that my issue with this is not that a particular subject is talked about numerous times a day. That’s a given in cable news. The issue is that a particular subject is talked about several times with the same people. Bring on another viewpoint from a different person. That would at least break up the sense of sameness I got.