“Slight-of-hand”, can only work as long as those participating are willing to be fooled, or eventually figure out the trick, and it seems that’s exactly what has finally happened to MSNBC, in that the viewers have finally figured out the trick, and have decided to tune out the cable news channel for something more substantial, like actually getting unbiased news, rather than a continued dose of liberal propaganda. Which aside from being predictable can also be extremely boring, which of course makes for bad TV!

And the proof for MSNBC is right there in the ratings with daytime viewers down 21% overall and 41%  in the coveted 25-to-54 year-old demographic, putting the struggling cable network  in fourth place behind Fox News, CNN and CNN’s sister network HLN, and  continuing to it’s prime-time ratings, down 24% and 42% respectively.

And according to a Pew Poll conducted in 2013, comparing hard news vs. opinion journalism, Fox’s programming consisted of 55% opinion and 45% news, an almost 50/50 split, while MSNBC’s was 85% opinion and 15% news. When one considers the political demographics of the population nationally, in that America is a “center/right” country it’s easy to see why the cable channel is in free fall.

In just over a year from January 2014 “The Rachel Maddow Show” which is one of MSNBC’s primer shows was the 5th most watched show within her time slot on cable news, averaging 305,000 viewers, today Maddow’s show is ranked 26th averaging only 153,000 viewers, a drop of over 50%, and those devastating loses are similar throughout their lineup.

However rumor as it that a total restructuring is currently in the works with the bulk of its programming moving some shows and canceling others. “The plan is to re-imagine what the channel is.” One high-level NBCUniversal insider with knowledge of the network’s plans said, “because the current lineup is a death wish.”

And what might that restructuring look like? Apparently a little more like Fox News and a lot less like the Obama Propaganda Network, with perhaps more substantial news and a more balanced approach to opinion journalism.

However according to a recent report by Eliana Johnson the transition may be a lot more difficult for Maddow’s then for the program executives, in that Maddow’s essentially took control of the network’s programming and ran it like her own ideological operation

“She is actually not that interested in reality; she is the most ideological person I’ve ever met,” one MSNBC insider told Johnson. “That is not somebody you want in charge of your programming, because she might put on a great show, but she cannot make rational decisions — her agenda is changing America.”

My sense is that while MSNBC shifts to the right, don’t look for Rachel Maddow’s to suddenly turn into MSNBC’s version of Megyn Kelly, because that requires an abundance of political knowledge tempered with a savvy understanding of journalism, wrapped within a compelling personality!



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