View My Stats

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

How To Watch MSNBC.

Okay. Yesterday didn't count.
How can you count a day when you have the biggest story in the
All you really needed to do yesterday was ignore MSNBC completely.
Yesterday, it was no different than any other Cable News outlet.
Except for a few moments when Lawrence O'Donnell called out George W. for announcing in 2005 that going after Bin Laden was no longer his top priority.
Then he showed a campaign clip of Obama saying how it's still his.

I ordinarily regard MSNBC as being as valuable as Radio Free Europe was to the Soviet satellite nations.
Sometimes, it is the only bastion of sanity.
But ever since Keith Olbermann left, it has been far more difficult to make an entire evening of viewing out of watching MSNBC.
And that's what it used to be.

So I will offer up instructions on how to get the most out of MSNBC's evening programming.:

First, you absolutely have to have Tivo, and watch it on at least an hour's delay.
Second, you must understand that when he was there, and since, Keith Olbermann was and is their only on-the-air personality to have a legitimate sense of humor.
Virtually all of the others, with the glaring and applaudable exception of Lawrence O'Donnell, THINK they have a sense of humor.
Some, in fact, think that they are hilarious.
None, in fact, are.
So there is much slogging and Tivoing to be done to navigate your way through an evening of MSNBC.

Let's begin with Chris Mathews.
Extremely confrontational with people he disagrees with, and with people he agrees with.
A lot of it seems to be for show.
A general rule is that after about a minute of him talking to the camera, you get it, and can Tivo on to his first segment with guests.
If he has two guests, they usually both are on the same side of an issue, so after the initial points are made, you can Tivo on to the next
topic and guests.
If he has guests with opposing views, like a Democratic strategist and a Republican strategist, Mathews will generally agree with the Democrat, and it generally becomes a shouting fest very quickly.
When that happens, move on.
A couple of things bother me about him:
He goes out of his way to constantly remind you that Dick Cheney's name is pronounced "Cheeny".
Although I've never heard anyone pronounce it that way.
I hit the Tivo when he does that just out of annoyance.
You might want to do the same.

The other thing is that he lumps the JFK Assassination Conspiracy Theories in with all the other extreme lunatic fringe conspiracies.
It has been clearly established by many mainstream people that the Warren Commission Report is full of holes.
Congressional Hearings have backed this up.
The Single Bullet Theory hasn't gained any more credence than it had originally.
So his attitude is rather an affront to many Americans who are reasonably using their minds.
Also, Chris Mathews repeats himself constantly.

Okay, one more before we continue this tomorrow:
A fellow named Cenk Uygur hosts the 6pm slot.
No, I don't have any idea how to pronounce it either.
Cenk thinks he's a riot.
He's not. In a rather smarmy way.
The best way to deal with Cenk, is to hit the Tivo when he talks to the camera, and keep moving until we land on a good guest.
Stay with it until the guest is done. Then keep moving.
One thing about MSNBC.
The good guests will appear on just about any of their shows.
So if there is one that turns up with Cenk, it's usually worth stopping for.

My idea of a good guest who shows up regularly there would include Barney Frank, Anthony Weiner, Bernie Sanders, E.J. Dionne, Michael Moore, Howard Feinman, Richard Wolfe, Ed Rendel, Sherrod Brown, Alan Grayson, and Katrina Van Den Heuvel, who unlike the others, is very easy on the eyes.
My idea of one who isn't a good guest is Al Sharpton, whom they shlep on whenever there is a race issue for him to decry.

Let me again make this clear. I like MSNBC. I find it necessary.
But it's getting so that you really have to pick your spots.

More tomorrow.

Manana (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.



  1. He's on Twitter, just like you. Follow him @KeithOlbermann, even though it's just crumbs off the table. NOT a meal.

  2. You are on Twitter?

  3. Yes. MarkRothman1. I really don't know how to use it effectively yet, or whether I can receive messages from it.

  4. I'm going to go look....



Blog Archive

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."