Conversus Interruptus and Endless Right-wing Blathering: Is MSNBC All Tuckered Out?

It was probably at least a year ago when I e-mailed Melissa about one of her favorite (heh heh) teevee-talkers, the guy she'd poetically dubbed "a penis in a bowtie".

"Tucker is a changed man, M!" I wrote. "No more bowtie!"

Looks like we aren't the only non-fans. To paraphrase Frank Zappa, the price of gas is going up and Tucker's ratings are going down, which fact has not escaped the notice of network suits:

Olbermann's success doesn't mean that MSNBC is banking left. Officials there swear it. MSNBC Senior Vice President Phil Griffin has known Olbermann for more than two decades and says he's betting on his host's personality and sensibility, not his beliefs. It's a question of branding, he says.

"Keith Olbermann is our brand; Chris Matthews is our brand," Griffin says. "These are smart, well-informed people who have a real sense of history and can put things in context."

Clearly, though, the brand is evolving. Conservative Joe Scarborough is being moved to the morning to replace Don Imus. MSNBC opened talks — since aborted — with outspoken liberal comic Rosie O'Donnell. But what about MSNBC's other conservative talk-show host, Tucker Carlson? Is he part of that same brand?

"He is right now," Griffin says.

Tucker's audience--all two of them, and of course they're bloody Florida-based--is hoping to drum up a little support for the unbowed boor. Via TRex, behold the Save Tucker Carlson website:

This decision by MSNBC will silence a conservative voice, part of a move by MSNBC to swing left and become "FOX for the Liberals," dropping any pretense of objectivity or balance. Tucker Carlson is a conservative who brings a tone of civility and his unfailing good-humor to political talk television. Quirky and unpredictable, we love Tucker.

Good humor? Are they referring to Tucker's former costume? And I admit it, I laughed out loud at FOX for the Liberals. As TRex drily notes:

Things I secretly enjoy:

1. When Republicans inadvertently admit that Pox News is a GOP propaganda mill.


Any guy willing to go on "Dancing with the Stars" and treat guests both left and right with spirited but congenial debate should not be purged in some ideological marketing plan.

2. When suddenly the Right's faith in free markets collapses like a federal levee because god forbid, one of their own is actually threatened. (See National Review Online and Lileks, James for further details.)

Guys, I hate to break it to you, but it's got nothing to do with ideology and everything to do with ratings. Tucker is the second lowest rated man in cable news. Only Glenn Beck ranks lower. Surely you see what the Free Market dictates here. He's not pulling his weight. He's just soaking up the television equivalent of welfare dollars. Off. With. His. Head.

Because people who won't pull their weight are just a drag on society, aren't they, Republicans? The way Ah wuz raised, you work hard, take care of your own, and you don't take handouts from nobody.

Someone should tell Mr. Never-Heard-a-Sentence-He-Didn't-Want-to-Interrupt that it's time to tighten that matching cummerbund.

Also at litbrit.

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