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Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Mahnken’

Afternoon Reading List 07.11.13.

Why MSNBC’s ratings suck — MSNBC has been the subject of news rather than just a broadcaster of it lately, due to its sharp decline in ratings in the first half of 2013. National Journal’s Matthew Cooper examines why the network has been grasping for air and ratings and why they keep slipping away. To start with, the second quarter of 2013 was full of breaking news — the Boston Marathon bombings, Cleveland kidnappings and the Oklahoma tornadoes. Known as “The Place for Politics,” MSNBC was struggling to keep up with CNN, known as the place for breaking news, and the network’s ratings dropped 10 percent.. And with Jeff Zucker at the helm, CNN looks like it will continue to draw more viewers. MSNBC’s evening line-up, according to industry insiders, has become too sophisticated for their audience, as well as completely lacking in diversity. On Fox News, Sean Hannity, Greta Van Susteren and Bill O’Reilly are, while all conservative, very different. Some right-wingers are saying the network is falling apart or collapsing, but Cooper suggests it’s just in a vulnerable place at the moment.

Why you should read it: MSNBC’s struggles this summer have been making headlines, and Cooper offers insight into why the network’s ratings have plummeted.

Another fishy list of journalists — A year after the infamous JournoList was shut down (hello Dave Weigel and Ezzy Klein!), a new secret discussion forum made up of political journalists came into being. No, they’re not conspiring to create talking points for their political parties. In fact, they’re completely bipartisan and never discuss politics. The common thread holding them together is their undying and unquenchable love for the band Phish. As TNR’s Marc Tracy reports, the forum began two years ago by Bloomberg TV’s Jake Beckman after he noticed references to the band by political journalist Phishheads on Twitter. Called “Journophish,” its now made up of about two dozen political journalists—and only journalists, no political operators, press secretaries, etc. The group chats about upcoming shows, trades tickets and shares songs and Phish trivia. Some of the list includes National Review’s Robert Costa, Politico’s Jake Sherman (of course), CNN’s Stephanie Gallman, social media folks at MSNBC and The Daily Beast, along with a few others. In addition to his own application to be included in “Journophish” Tracy manages to slip in a “This Town” reference.

Why you should read it: Phishheads are relentless in their efforts to find other Phishheads, and this is quite an entertaining look something that some political journalists probably spend way too much time doing.

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Morning Reading List 07.09.13.

Conservative editors team up against immigration bill — William Kristol and Rich Lowry have been at odds on immigration reform in the past. But today they’ve teamed up to write an opinion piece (click here to read it on Weekly Standard and here to read it on National Review) urging House Republicans to “kill the bill.” Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, has been in favor of reform while Lowry, editor of National Review, has been opposed. Nonetheless, the Gang of Eight bill recently passed by the Senate, has brought them together in explaining how there should be no urgency in passing reform. They argue that the bill is complex and was hastily passed without real examination of the real-world effects it would have. “If you think Obamacare and Dodd-Frank are going swimmingly, you’ll love the Gang of Eight bill,” they write.

Why you should read it: The team of Kristol and Lowry present a well-researched and thorough argument against the Gang of Eight bill as well as a look at where the GOP’s focus should be. Whether you’re for or against the bill, this piece is worth reading.

Do sex scandals matter anymore? — Mark Sanford. Anthony Weiner. And now Eliot Spitzer. Kevin Mahnken of TNR examines this year’s crop of out-of-the-ashes politicians who returned to the campaign trail in 2013 after falling from office at the hands of sex scandals, and what it means for sex scandals in politics going forward. No more is turning “hiking the Appalachian Trail” into an innuendo a political career-killer. And Weiner’s campaign seems to be going better than anyone imagined it would. With Spitzer’s announcement Sunday that he is running for New York City comptroller, which Mahnken notes is a “rather humble municipal office,” makes NYC the city that will determine whether voters care about sex scandals, even if they involve “a taste for expensive call girls,” as in Spitzer’s case. Mahnken also tries to tie the fact that politicians’ marital skills aren’t as important in elections to “the historical move away from laws prohibiting adultery, miscegenation, sodomy, gay marriage, and (probably, let’s face it) polygamy.”

Why you should read it: Do the words “sex scandal” mean anything to you? Mahnken’s piece focuses on three. It also raises an interesting point about redemption and the notion that politicians’ marital mistakes, however heinous and sometimes illegal, may not be an ultimate career-killer.

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