Ronan Farrow is an extremely bright and talented guy. He may well host an absolutely wonderful show. He's an accomplished lawyer and political activist. He is not a journalist -- and most especially not an "impressive journalist." As far as I know, he's just written a bunch of op-ed commentaries for newspapers. But that doesn't make him a journalist, it makes him an expert. This is a minor point, but there's a reason I mention it. It's one thing for someone to refer to him as "an impressive journalist." It's another for the president of a news organization to do so. I can accept others having some wiggle-room in their definitions. I expect the president of a major news organization to be demanding with high standards of what makes journalism. Call Ronan Farrow a thoughtful and impressive political analyst. Say he will soon be one of the most impressive journalists on television. But please, if you're the head of MSNBC News, don't say someone who has zero experience as a journalist is a journalist, let alone one of the most "impressive journalists out there." It puts your standards in deep question.
"The only people who seem not to know or accept Fox’s decline, besides its own audience, are liberals, including Barack Obama, whose White House mounted a short-lived, pointless freeze-out of Fox News in 2009, and who convinced himself that the network has shaved five points off his approval rating."
While the "freeze-out" may have been pointless -- or not, that's subjective -- it happened in 2009, five years ago, when the landscape was very different from the "dying" audience Frank Rich is describing today. And also, though Fox New may be "dying" (or not), that's something for the future, not today when, as Rich acknowledges, it still has the most mass audience of all news channels. So, to suggest that such a powerhouse today would have no impact on shaping approval ratings over five years of attacks, seems thoughtless.
I think the world of Frank Rich. I love his writing, his thinking, his perspective and talent. But he's either way off base here or being a bit disingenuous.
It was unusual, and unfortunate. If MSNBC wanted to cover the "story," at least don't interrupt the actual news -- especially when it's from the accomplished Andrea Mitchell -- and present it instead at another time when people who might care would be watching. More unfortunate though was the comment CNN president Jeff Zucker, who said he was "incredibly comfortable" with how his network dealt with Biebernews. Given that it was Jeff Zucker though whose heart for real news coverage is probably not terribly high, I suppose his comfort level is to be expected.