We live in a time when much of the corporate media regards politics as a baseball game or a soap opera. Ed Schultz has treated the American people with respect by focusing on the most important issues impacting their lives. He has talked about income and wealth inequality, high unemployment, low wages, our disastrous trade policies and racism in America. I am very disappointed that Comcast chose to remove Ed Schultz from its lineup ~ Bernie Sanders (dob 9/8/1941) the longest-serving independent in US congressional history and a self-described democratic socialist. Sanders is currently running for the 2016 POTUS nomination as a Democrat .
What follows is an excerpt from the 7/24/2015 airing of the Thom Hartmann Radio Program, which I edited for brevity and clarity. Thom discusses the idiotic decision by MSNBC to cancel Ed Schultz and give his job to that tool Chuck Todd.
Thom: Bernie Sanders has blasted MSNBC and Comcast for cancelling Ed Schult's show. I wanted to talk a little bit about that. In my opinion, Ed is the last true voice for American working people on MSNBC. He is the only guy on MSNBC willing to talk about our trade policies and how stupid they are. He's literally the only guy. He's the only one who is willing to bring labor on regularly and talk about labor issues. He's the only one who's willing to talk about net neutrality.
These are subjects that, just from watching a lot of MSNBC, I have to conclude that the other hosts are not allowed to talk about these issues, and now they're going to fire Ed. Or lay him off, or he's leaving... whatever. I don't want to represent this. I haven't have any conversation with Ed about this.
I think Roger Ailes is a programming genius and the people at MSNBC are programming idiots. In Washington DC it doesn't matter if you're Left or Right, it doesn't matter if you're Republican or Democrat. The thing that matters, THE thing that is consequential, the thing that determines whether or not you get invited to the White House, whether you get invited to THE cocktail parties, whether you get covered in the press, whether your name shows up, whether you appear on television regularly is... are you an Insider, or are you an Outsider?
Bernie Sanders is an Outsider. Ed Schultz is an Outsider. Schultz wasn't towing the line regarding the Insider's conventional wisdom. The Insider's wisdom is that trade deals are wonderful, corporations should run the world, net neutrality is a silly idea... and I think he's getting bumped for that.
The Insider media, the New York Times - there's a great piece over at Alternet about why is the New York Times ignoring the Sanders surge - it's because the New York Times is the ultimate Insider publication. Sanders is the Outsider.
Roger Ailes made this brilliant programming decision to program as an Outsider to Outsiders. MSNBC is moving in the direction of programming more and more with Insiders (Chuck Todd, Brian Williams) to insiders.
Andy Lack [the new Chairman of NBC News Group] used to be a vice president with NBC and now he's coming in [and trying to fix the problem of] their ratings [being] in the toilet.
I think their rating are in the toilet because they are basically an Insider network. The Progressive base is not interested in the Insider prospective. The Progressive base would like the Outsider perspective... which I think is Ed Schultz.
So they got to get rid of him. What they're going to do is go up against the other Insider network, CNN. They going to go more, quote, "hard news" [Andy Lack sez the new strategy is to focus on breaking news and de-emphasize left-leaning opinion programming].
[End 7/24/2015 Thom Hartmann Rant]
Thom adds that he the thinks "the net neutrality riffs by Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes were by way of noting the news, not by way of generating activist behavior. At least in my opinion. Ed Schultz has never backed away from encouraging people to be activists".
IMO Thom is absolutely right. Concerning why Ed is getting the boot, as well as msnbc being an Insider media outlet. Regarding Maddow and Hayes not covering net neutrality, I'll take Thom's word for it. I have basically stopped watching msnbc and switched over to Free Speech TV - which Thom's radio program airs on (as a TV program).
As a member of "the Progressive base" I am not interested in the Insider perspective and want the Outsider perspective, which Free Speech TV offers (The network, which operates as a 501c3 non-profit tax-exempt organization, brands itself as "the alternative to television networks owned by billionaires, governments and corporations").
msnbc's ratings ARE in the toilet because of their drift away from Progressivism and toward what Thom calls the "Insider perspective". The beginning of the end for msnbc (IMO) was the exit of Keith Olbermann on 1/21/2011.
When Keith left msnbc Countdown was the network's top-rated program with 1.1 million viewers. In regards to a (pre departure) suspension of Keith, Russell Simmons said "without Olbermann, msnbc can't survive – and the voice of progress will fall to the dark ages, when one unholy church dictated a fictional version of the truth" .
And that is exactly what is happening. Although I don't think Simmons was any kind of oracle, he was simply stating the obvious. Keith Olbermann MADE msnbc and the death of the network started the day he left.
Today msnbc, with the firing of Mr. Schultz, is announcing that they have failed as a Leftwing alternative to Fox Nooz.
|MSNBC had decided months ago that they would be dumping their liberal hosts in favor of people like Chuck Todd. MSNBC leadership completely mistreated their liberal audience, and when the audience walked away, the network used the declining ratings as an excuse to blame liberals. ... Ed Schultz was a much needed liberal voice in a sea of cable news conservatives. ... MSNBC is making an ideological statement that liberals are out, and pandering to Republicans with Beltway conventional wisdom is in. (MSNBC Is Canceling Ed Schultz And Giving His Show To Chuck Todd by Jason Easley. Politicus USA 7/23/2015).|
In total msnbc is cancelling 3 of it's programs.
|Hour-long programs hosted by Ed Schultz at 5 pm Eastern and Alex Wagner at 4pm were both axed, as was The Cycle, a roundtable that aired at 3pm with hosts Ari Melber, Toure, Abby Huntsman and Krystal Ball. (Struggling MSNBC cancels 3 daytime shows with liberal slant. AP Story from 7/30/2015).|
Other changes announced...
|Andrew Lack told staffers of both NBC News and MSNBC that he plans to rebuild MSNBC to focus on breaking news coverage and to be less of a left-leaning talk outlet. Lack also plans a name change for the network since Microsoft hasn't been involved with the cable channel in years. (Talker's Magazine Odds & Sods, 7/27/2015).|
I say screw msnbc, or whatever the hell they end up calling themselves. They will limp along for awhile longer, but they're done. Or not. Whatever happens they are never going to be more than a MINOR network. As they move away from catering to their liberal audience their liberal audience will depart. And there is no need for yet another "Insider" network.
As for Keith Olbermann being "fired" from his latest gig as ESPN2, the sports talk show Olbermann, says they "declined to renew his expiring contract [and that] the move was to cut costs related to Olbermann's salary and the use of the space at Times Square Studios". (excerpted from Wikipedia).
Not being a fan of any televised sport, and having never once watched Keith's sports talk show, I would be completely unaware that "Olbermann" was ending... if not for the Conservative blogger Rusty Shackelford who came to my blog to gloat.
According to the comment Rusty left, Olbermann was "fired" and "his next show could be a podcast from his basement". In response I told Rusty "if Olbermann does a podcast from his basement I will seek it out and subscribe". I forgot to add that I'd only do this if the podcast were political in nature. If he were to do a podcast that was sport-centered I would not be interested.
I am not upset about Olbermann's contract not being extended. Which is what happened. He wasn't fired. Anyway, I watched him on msnbc and Current, but never on ESPN. I don't like sports and I don't care about him getting "fired" or deciding not to move his ESPN program knowing his contract not being extended could be a result.
People like Rusty might call Olbermann a "loser" (or other names), but Keith got 14 Million to leave msnbc and 5 Million to leave the no-longer-existing Current TV. This is money Keith got which he did no work to receive... doesn't sound like a loser to me .
As for Ed Schultz, I have to admit I did not watch his program. Mostly because it was on too early. When I watched I tuned in for Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell. Although I switched to Current TV (and watching their primetime lineup when Keith Olbermann was associated with the now defunct network).
I did switch back when (the global climate change awareness champion) Al Gore sold out and cashed out in exchange for in 70 million (his share of the 500 million price) in House of Thani oil money. Which might have been either hypocritical or wise... given the fact that "Current failed to make much of an impact at all".
Maybe Current failed (was failing) because they fired Keith? Or it might just have been because people were simply unaware that it existed. While msnbc's market share is much less than that of Fox, they still are viable. Although (to me) it looks like this Andy Lack fellow is working hard to deep six the network.
Not that the ratings were great, but that was because they were a Democrat Insider network (Keith and Ed being their most Progressive voices). The Insider perspective/sucking up to and carrying water for Insider Dems isn't what most Democratic voters are interested in. Now they're going to go even more Insider. I do not predict success.
 The quote from the top of this blog post is from the article Bernie Sanders Blasts MSNBC and Comcast For Canceling Ed Schultz by Jason Easley. Politicus USA 7/23/2015.
 Keith Olbermann out at MSNBC (excerpt from a 1/21/2011 story from RawStory) Countdown, the network's top-rated program, attracted 1.1 million viewers, according to Nielsen. (end excerpt). The Russell Simmons quote is from this article.
 According to a 4/20/2012 Dennis Marks comment (this is before Keith was awarded $5 million in binding arbitration re his lawsuit against Al Gore's Current) "Keith's frivolous lawsuit [will get] laughed out of court". Oops, looks like Dennis was wrong... as usual.
Video1: Ed Schultz blasts Clinton for refusing to take a position on Keystone and the TPP (Published on 7/29/2015). According to some website called Canonclast "town crier Ed Schultz receiving the ax with many speculating that it is because he turned on Hillary Clinton. You can watch video of that memorable moment below". Well, of course msnbc is in the bag for Clinton. Is this is what got him fired? Could be (3:04).
Video2: Ed addresses being fired. 7/31/2015 (3:03).