Following a decision in July to cancel three daytime programs, MSNBC President Phil Griffin has announced yet another far-left host will see their daytime program eliminated (or in this case, relegated to a new, less prominent, time slot). Al Sharpton, who has hosted PoliticsNation on MSNBC since August 2011, will see his previously five night per-week show relegated to Sunday mornings at 8 AM.
Despite the apparent demotion, Sharpton is taking his show’s removal from the weekly daytime line-up well. “First, I can reach a wider audience of people who don’t get home by 6 at night. Second, I can now get the A-list guests and newsmakers I want. And third, a Sunday morning host is what I always wanted to be,” he told New York Daily News. Never one for modesty, he continued, “I never wanted to be a weeknight pundit. I wanted to be a Sunday morning newsmaker. I wanted to be Dr. Martin Luther King, not Larry King.”
Sharpton’s demotion comes as three other far-left leaning programs were eliminated at MSNBC. “The Cycle,” “Now with Alex Wagner” and “The Ed Show” were canceled in late July as the station’s management sought a shift away from ‘Progressive’ opinion-oriented shows to breaking news coverage.
“Change can be hard,” MSNBC President Phil Griffin wrote in an emailed memo to the channel’s staff. “There’s no doubt it’s been a difficult time, but we have exciting opportunities ahead.” Reportedly, the shake-up was ordered by the new chairman of NBC News (which itself owns MSNBC), Andrew Lack. According to the memo, the goal is for MSNBC to cover breaking news daily from 9 AM – 5 PM, with opinion-oriented shows to follow.
Griffin and Lack undoubtedly saw the writing on the wall: MSNBC has witnessed a dramatic decline in viewership as the American people lose faith in the honesty and integrity of the corporate-dominated mainstream media. A review of the 2015 Q2 Nielsen ratings report by Politico stated the following: “Meanwhile, MSNBC continues to struggle with its ratings, as viewership declined 17 percent in the total day demo. MSNBC currently sits in fourth-place in the demo for total day with just 86,000 viewers, behind CNN sister network HLN.”
According to a Gallup poll conducted from June 2-7 2015, only 24% of Americans have confidence in newspapers, while only 21% have confidence in television news. Both numbers are down from historical norms.
A poll conducted among 18-29 year-olds by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics found just 2% trust the media to “do the right thing” all the time; a result referred to by the Washington Examiner writer Paul Bedard as “the latest nail in the media’s coffin, a downward spiral that has resulted in fewer younger Americans reading traditional media and especially traditional platforms such as newspapers and magazines.”