MSNBC Election Night Shakeup: An Analysis

The New York Times is reporting that Chris Matthews (Host of Hardball) and Keith Olbermann (Host of Countdown) are no longer hosting the election night coverage for MSNBC; David Gregory is taking over that duty with Matthews and Olbermann acting as commentators.

This was not entirely unexpected: Olbermann is a far left commentator and was removed from RNC coverage for his liberal bias and analysis during a time when it should be straight news reporting, and he has raised the ire of many top network heads. Some are calling it a “civil war” between Olbermann and his guard against the rest of the MSNBC/NBC network.

While Matthews is much more centerist and was a capable news host–I agree with the decision to pull him from anchoring. He’s best when he is with a diverse panel, leading the discussion in a way where all sides are heard, and allowing for his view at the end. Chris loves elections, conventions, and politics–of this there is no doubt, but we all saw how he looked during the RNC/DNC. He doesn’t have the stamina or look for the long haul.

Gregory? I think he’s a good choice. He isn’t accused of bias, because he doesn’t show any. He’s a straight reporter and host. I expect Chris to be drawn upon quite heavily–he always had more astute observations and commentary than Keith during their co-hosting. And when you get right down to it, Matthews just loves talking about politics–he won’t care if Gregory is hosting the show. Keith won’t be on much, I anticipate. He has a large ego, and I don’t think he’ll stand for being interviewed by anyone.

The Matthews/Olbermann “feud” is much more than egos. It’s about Chris not wanting to listen to what he believed to be Keith’s shallow commentary, and disliking being interrupted by Olbermann when Keith wanted to say something himself. And Keith probably dislikes Chris because Matthews is an insider and able to produce commentary, but what Olbermann disliked was that he believed he was a much superior speaker.

It was an interesting experiment, and I think we’re glad it’s over.

Personal Note: I have been accused of “bias” towards Keith Olbermann. I believe this to be an accurate charge.

General Note: I shifted “Politics” from a Tag to a Category. This is to allow the tag cloud a little less “bias” towards “Politics.”

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