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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How To Watch MSNBC. 2.

To continue from yesterday,

MSNBC filled Olbermann's vacated 8pm slot with Lawrence O'Donnell.
This was probably the best thing they could do.
Lawrence O'Donnell is a class act.
Easily the classiest act they have.
If you have to watch only one hour a night of MSNBC, it should be his.
Lawrence O'Donnell does not delude himself that he is funny.
Many politicians, particularly Republicans, have that particular delusion.
Remember John McCain and "Bomb. bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iran"?
Many Democrat politicians are genuinely funny.
Barney Frank, Anthony Weiner...JFK was pretty funny.
President Obama is pretty deft with the jokes.
I think it has something to do with an overall humanity that Republicans lack.
O'Donnell, clearly a Democrat, is also clearly not funny, and seems to know it, and makes no attempt at it.
He is, however, quite ironic, and displays that admirably.
He is also quite passionate about the issues he covers.
Seemingly more genuinely passionate than all the others at MSNBC.
Certainly more genuine than Chris Mathews.
He is a more compelling personality than the others, and has much more gravitas.
The only Tivoing I do there is if he's covering a non-political topic, such as Libya.

As long as I'm on Libya, let me say a few words about a great reporter, Richard Engel.
Richard Engel is a genuine war correspondent.
Always out there where the action is.
Until yesterday, when he was reporting on a very clear feed from Pakistan, I was under the assumption that he had a speech impediment.
It turns out that it was simply the lousy feeds they were getting from Libya that seemed to give him a sibilant "S".
Just like Pinky Lee's.
But yesterday, with a good feed, he sounded fine.
They should look into that.

Okay. Onward. As Mort Sahl used to say.

Rachel Maddow.
Her heart is definitely in the right place.
Most of the time.
But she really thinks she's a hoot.
And she will belabor a point into the ground.

One of her ongoing themes is to call out people who won't appear on her show, or even return her phone calls or e-mails.
I know someone who attempted to get her to read a movie script so she could appear as herself in a Cameo role.
That someone would be me.
One of her staff people agreed to receive the script.
It was sent.
Months went by.
No response.
I e-mailed to find out why.
It had gotten lost somewhere and was never read.
Would I send it again?
I would and did.
That was many months ago.
And it was a part that could have been done by anyone.
No response.
Pots and Kettles.

With Rachel, hear her out for the subject matter, give her no more than a minute, then move on.
And stop whenever there is a good guest.
That's it.

I'll wrap this up tomorrow, with Ed Schultz, and some general rules that I haven't yet covered.

MaƱana (It's good enough for me.)


My new book, "Mark Rothman's Essays", ones that were culled from the blog and are no longer there, along with a surprise bonus, is available for purchase.
Please e-mail me at for more info.


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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."