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Thursday, June 30, 2005
By Steven L. Taylor

Via this NYT piece (Talk Show Washout Tries Again) comes the line of the day”

These kinds of programs may not hurt the country, but they do seem to weaken the intellectual standing of their hosts. When Mr. Carlson, who started as a writer at The Weekly Standard, began on “Crossfire” he seemed like a brainy young contrarian, brought in to challenge liberal pieties – a Junior Miss version of George Will. Time and the ever-shortening attention span of cable news have turned him into a George Will o’ the Wisp; his opinions are loud but ever more vaporous.

Indeed and hylarious.

I must confess, I have had exactly zero interest in even trying Carlson’s new show. I found him annoying on Crossfire, and have no need to give him a second chance. Of course, the last time I could tolerate Crossfire, Michael Kinsely was still on.

On balance, I must confess, this is true:

Washouts often get a second chance on MSNBC and its sister channel, CNBC, but it is mostly a last chance. Recent fallen stars on CNBC include Tina Brown, John McEnroe and Dennis Miller. Mr. Carlson had to step over the departed Deborah Norville to get his 9 p.m. slot.

What I find especially amusing is that the last time I really found CNBC (back when it was more like MSNBC is now, at least at night) was when Roger Ailes ran the place (and not because of any conservative slant–there wasn’t on). One may wish to criticize Ailes, but he seems to know what he is doing vis-a-vis political talk shows. CNBC/MSNBC seems to have been wandering in the wilderness for some time. The only shows I even watch on occasion now are Hardball and Countdown and neither qualifies as “must see” TV.

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One Response to “Wandering in the Cable News Wilderness”

  1. Buckland Says:

    I remember the first time I watched MSNBC. It was Summer of 1996, their first week of operation. I heard that TWA flt 800 had crashed in the Atlantic off NYC. I had been seeing promotions about the new News Channel, the one that would be technologically far ahead of CNN. I turned to find Brian Williams pointing to his Rand McNally map to try to show the viewers where the crash was. No pictures, no electronic maps, no file footage, just the good ol’ Rand McNally. He continued to show the site on the paper map every 5 minutes for the rest of the evening. Someway that night still sums up MSNBC to me.


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