Accuracy in Media (AIM) editor Cliff Kincaid blamed Media Matters for America and regular guest Rachel Maddow for the lagging ratings of MSNBC's The Situation with Tucker Carlson. MSNBC has announced that Carlson's show will lose its prime-time slot and move to 11 p.m. ET.
In his August 1 column posted on AIM's website, Kincaid correctly noted that The Situation is averaging only 200,000 viewers per night, but suggested that the show's unpopularity was not the fault of its host. Kincaid lamented, "The problem with the Carlson show is the format, which places too much emphasis on his guests, including a regular named Rachel Maddow," an Air America Radio host whom he described as "a lesbian with hair so short that she looks like a man." Kincaid went on to claim that Media Matters "dictated" the show's format by writing a letter to MSNBC president Rick Kaplan encouraging the network "to allow some progressive voices to be heard" on Carlson's show. "This is apparently how Maddow got to be a regular," Kincaid wrote.
While Media Matters did send a letter on June 6 to Kaplan noting the heavily conservative slant of MSNBC's prime-time lineup and asking for balance on Carlson's show, the letter specifically pointed out that "a discussion between two conservatives and one progressive is not 'balanced.' " Given that The Situation's initial format was precisely the one that Media Matters recommended against -- consisting of Carlson with Maddow and a second conservative, Jay Severin -- it can hardly be said that we "dictated" the show's format.
Though Severin has since left the show, The Situation has continued to pit Maddow against Carlson and another conservative on several occasions. During the week of July 25, conservatives Monica Crowley and G. Gordon Liddy were among the guests who appeared alongside Carlson for the majority of the program.
Despite the ongoing conservative tilt on The Situation, Kincaid insisted that the show "is so fast-paced and diluted by liberals that it does not allow for Carlson or anybody else to present a consistent conservative point of view" and that its "poor ratings should be seen as a verdict on the appeal of Maddow rather than Carlson."
From Kincaid's August 1 column:
Carlson was dumped from prime time because of ratings pressure. But MSNBC President Rick Kaplan explained the switch by saying, "The fast-paced style of 'The Situation' is best suited for a late-night audience." This makes no sense. When Cosby was hired, MSNBC claimed that her program was "in development" and would debut sometime near the end of the year. Clearly, she was given the 9 p.m. time slot because Kaplan decided that they could not continue with the numbers generated by "The Situation," averaging only about 200,000 viewers per show. But that's his fault, not Carlson's.
The problem with the Carlson show is the format, which places too much emphasis on his guests, including a regular named Rachel Maddow, a radio host on Air America who is described as the first out-of-the-closet lesbian to be named a Rhodes Scholar. She is a lesbian with hair so short that she looks like a man. Maddow's bio says that she "enjoys appearing on right-wing TV shows as the smiling-but-obstinate liberal." She may smile, but her opinions are entirely predictable and far-out. When Helen Thomas announced she would kill herself if Vice President Cheney ran for president, Maddow said on the Carlson show, "I like Helen Thomas," and then delivered a typical left-wing diatribe about the administration's Iraq war policy. This is precisely what people don't want to see or hear on a show that is supposed to feature a conservative.
The format was dictated by Media Matters, a left-wing media "watchdog" group, whose sole purpose in life seems to be to stifle conservative media voices. After MSNBC's deal with Carlson was announced, it wrote to Kaplan worrying about the prospect of "adding yet another conservative as sole host of a prime-time show." The group, led by homosexual conservative-turned-liberal David Brock, urged Kaplan to "allow some progressive voices to be heard" on Carlson's show. This is apparently how Maddow got to be a regular.
The point is that the show, as currently designed, is so fast-paced and diluted by liberals that it does not allow for Carlson or anybody else to present a consistent conservative point of view. If anything, the show's poor ratings should be seen as a verdict on the appeal of Maddow rather than Carlson.