In a column in USA Today, Michael Wolff has described MSNBC boss Phil Griffin as, a man without a clear strategy at a failing network. Describing MSNBC as dated and difficult to watch, Wolff wonders if Griffin can survive. “MSNBC now has a lineup of ever-righteous and often sulky defenders of President Barack Obama, who seem, not just to conservatives but to many liberals, too, bizarrely tone deaf and lost in time.”
Compared to the consistent ratings power of Fox News, MSNBC, Wolff argues, did not rise to the top with President Obama, but has slipped as the president’s popularity has waned. Ratings for the midterm election were down:
Griffin is no Ailes. And MSNBC is not Fox, with its ability to direct as well as portray the political drama. A poor political operative, Griffin has painted himself into a corner like political parties so often do, losing the base, and yet without the philosophical wherewithal to appeal to a larger group. There is the broken clock theory of politics and cable programming, in which, if you just keep doing what you’re doing, the zeitgeist returns to you. But politicians and media executives, swimming against the tide, usually lose their jobs before their hour returns.