Thursday, August 11, 2011

Speech Impediment

I'm not even going to bother saying, "I told you so," because I shouldn't have to; it's perfectly clear to anyone not currently Phil Griffin that allowing Al Sharpton to be the on-air host of a cable news show is a galactically freaking stupid idea. Putting aside Sharpton's considerable credibility problem as well as his lengthy history of playing the very press he's now ostensibly a part of -- always in the name of feeding his insatiable narcissism -- one fact just can't be overlooked: his broadcasting skills don't even rise to the level of rank amateur.

Case in point, this cringe-inducing, entirely predictable on-cam gaffe, which was apparently the result of the most basic of live TV hazards: a prompter drop-out.

Look, here's what it comes down to: If MSNBC is really looking to do something about the dearth of black or brown faces in prime on-air positions, it should considering going with one of the 83,000 or so black journalists currently working in America (at least a few of whom can found in the newsroom up the hall from Griffin's office). Putting Sharpton on the air looks like exactly what it is: a cheap gimmick, and nothing more. It's an insult to anyone who actually worked to get a shot at his or her own hour in the spotlight. Sharpton's a joke -- and one guaranteed to embarrass himself and the network over and over again should he be given the chance to.

Somebody in the comment section of the previous post on Melissa Harris-Perry suggested that she be a candidate for her own show on MS; that's a damn fine choice, actually. It seems ridiculous to make the conscious decision that whoever gets the six o'clock show, that person will have to be black -- and I can't say with certainty that that's what MSNBC has done -- but it's even more ridiculous to assume that any high-profile black guy will do.

For God's sake, get Sharpton out of there and give the show to somebody with actual talent.


Shaw Kenawe said...

Glad to read someone else thinks Sharpton is a terrible host for that MSNBC time slot. I've stopped watching.

He can't seem to control his guests, and the timbre of his voice is grating.

Melissa Harris Perry would be awesome.

Trop said...

I lean forward like most of the content or slant of MSNBC's evening lineup, but for the life of me it just seems so sub-par. Sharpton is the worst of it. But even Lawrence O'Donnell and Rachel Maddaow could make their points in half the time. I think the formula of a single host for an hour falls flat. I never liked the bow-tie guy, what's-his-name, but his show at least had some spark and energy to it when he'd have Rachel on as a counter point. I think Morning Joe works because there are multiple voices (sometimes too many) around the table, not all of them in agreement. But if they must stick to the single host format, then Dylan Ratigan is way better than Sharpton, O'Donnell and Maddow and I don't understand why he's not on prime time.

Chez said...

It seems like you need to be "entertained" in the very traditional sense, Trop. Morning Joe has its moments but overall it annoys the crap out of me because it quite often degenerates into people talking over each other, and quite frankly I'm sick of that kind of thing. Ratigan also has standout moments, but he's another one who makes his most salient points by shouting them. It just gets old. I'm actually much more into people like Maddow or O'Donnell, or from the other side, as much of a pompous ass as he can often be, George Will at least makes his arguments like somebody who's got a brain. These days, when it comes to the right, if you've got an intellect in the Buckley vein I'll listen to what you have to say; that's how dumb and beholden to the lowest common denominator the right has allowed itself to become.

John Foley said...

Melissa Harris Perry has a real problem with sibilant S's. It would become very noticeable over an hour-long show.