On One Hand

March 10, 2008

MSNBC Boots Tucker Carlson

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 1:39 pm
Tags: , ,

MSNBC is booting libertarian-conservative program host Tucker Carlson to replace his program with one hosted by political correspondent David Gregory. Gregory is a leading White House correspondent for NBC and has helped to host some of NBC’s presidential debates.

Like many liberals, I once considered Tucker Carlson a massive tool who seems snide and arrogant about his anti-populist political positions. I take particular issue with his discussions on race (he sometimes has Al Sharpton on just to call him ridiculous) and his seeming insistence that, because of Affirmative Action and “reverse discrimination,” white men are more discriminated against than women or African-Americans.

But I’m actually sad to see Carlson go. He is not a down-the-line right-winger and he opposes both the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq. His discussions with his regular guests from across the political spectrum are remarkably civil when compared to Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly bashing their guests and claiming to be far more moderate than they actually are.

MSNBC has taken a remarkable shift to reporting from a more liberal perspective, not as a way to advertise or promote a set of views, but because it has been a lucrative decision. First, Fox found that faux-news (they call it “infotainment”) and partisan sensationalism won it more viewers than any other channel. When MSNBC’s sole left-leaning program host, Keith Olbermann, became a hero to partisan Democrats, more and more people with those views gravitated towards the channel. It wasn’t long before Chris Matthews started seeming more liberal and Dan Abrams got his own program where he would be highly critical of Conservative “scare tactics.”

Carlson was a good balance for where the rest of the channel was going, because, though he is a right-winger, he can present it in a way that liberals and intelligent people across the spectrum like. He gives us a good sense of what upper-class swing voters and moderate white Republicans are thinking.

The three major cable news networks have settled themselves into clear political niches; Fox is still strongly conservative, MSNBC follows the intellectualized liberalism of college-educated Democrats and CNN is the new populist news network which draws most strongly from the elderly.

To make it a little more clear, Fox = Bush, CNN = John McCain and Hillary Clinton, MSNBC = Barack Obama.


  1. One Point

    Hi, I randomly stumbled onto your blog and had two small comments.

    I agree that the equation Fox = Bush fits and MSNBC = Barack (Chris Matthews doesn’t hide his affection for him). Yet, I disagree regarding CNN.

    CNN does pander to populist sentiments more than any other channel – there’s no dispute there. The vehicle for that theme comes through Lou Dobbs program. That program shows little favor to John McCain. McCain, like Bush, aleinated both social conservatives and populists by supporting immigrant friendly worker reform (path to citizenship, no deportation, etc). Dobbs frequently mentions this.

    So I don’t think that CNN does much for the McCain camp – to be honest, I think McCain has a particular channel on his side. Fox, at this point, has not come full favor in his direction. I do believe there’s a high probability that will change in the near future.


    I’m heartened by the tone of your post regarding Tucker (I have some left-leaning views and some right leaning views – in sum, I’m probably toward the center of the American political spectrum, as I read it). I do think MSNBC loses out without Tucker. Certainly, with him, it was the most balanced news network. And, like you, I do see this as a marketing move.

    Fortunately, the station does still have Scarborough – so it does retain some balance.

    Overall, I’d still say MSNBC is the “best” cable news network – just based on a preference for overall balance and objectivity. For me, CNN is almost unwatchable during the Dobbs cast.

    Comment by sleepyreaderz — March 10, 2008 @ 10:06 pm | Reply

    • Re: One Point

      Should have read: “…supporting immigration friendly reform…” no “worker”

      Comment by Anonymous — March 10, 2008 @ 10:07 pm | Reply

  2. Woah, how long ago did you post this?

    About half my icons are new.

    How have you been?

    Comment by ononehand — April 26, 2008 @ 3:26 am | Reply

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