NBC News Chair Andy Lack Gives Hyper-Partisan Right Wing Pundit Hugh Hewitt His Own MSNBC Show
Viewers and Loyalty to MSNBC’s Base Mean Nothing to Andy Lack
Andy Lack, chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, has been on a very personal crusade to turn both networks into Fox News. Over the past two years he’s made sure Republican politicians are given a tremendous amount of air time, and right wing, hyper-partisan pundits are brought on as contributors and even hosts of their own shows.Â
Lack hired Megyn KellyÂ from Fox News.Â After months of creating a new news show for NBC to compete directly with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Kelly’s show has gone from poor ratings to very bad ratings, in just three weeks. Her disastrous interview with Vladimir Putin kicked of her first episode. Her disastrous interview with Alex Jones her third. The outrage from all sides has been palpable.
Lack also hired former Fox News host Greta Van Susteren. Even a personal plea and endorsement from Rachel Maddow has not been able to get Van Susteren decent ratings. That’s likelyÂ because she’s just not good at her job. Van SusterenÂ repeatedly hosts conservatives, and then engages in casual and apparently unscripted conversation with them on air, leading to frequent false claims from the journalist who is expected to know basic facts about the issues she’s reporting.Â
There’s also former Bush 43Â communications chief and McCain-Palin ’08Â senior advisorÂ Nicolle Wallace, who has her own daytime show at 4 PM. Of the three, she’s hands down the best.
And now, Andy Lack has bagged himself another hyper-partisan right wing hack and given him his own show.
Hugh Hewitt, whose analysis is just embarrassingly badÂ â€“ he went from “Never Trump” to “Trump! Trump! Trump!”Â â€“ will be getting his own show on MSNBC, thanks to Andy Lack and his dream of re-creating Fox News.
Hewitt will not get his dream job, a weeknight gig on MSNBC, but rather a 30-minute show Saturday mornings.
Expect that to grow to an hour, then to include Sundays, and then to weekdays or even weeknights.Â
In April, New York magazine reported, “the fact that heâ€™s on the verge of getting his own program is alarming to some staffers at MSNBC. Among their concerns is that Hewitt, a dyed-in-the-wool conservative and Trump supporter, doesnâ€™t represent the values of the liberal network. While Hewitt flirted with never-Trumpism during the campaign â€” most notably when then-candidate Trump attacked Mexican-American judge Gonzalo Curiel, and after the infamousÂ Access Hollywoodtape was leaked to the WashingtonÂ PostÂ â€” he always came back to Trump, and ultimately cast a ballot for him in the November election.”
Some staffers have inferred a link between Lackâ€™s directive and the decision to pullÂ Todayâ€™s first black woman host, Tamron Hall, off the show to make room for former Fox News host Megyn Kelly. Ultimately, Hall chose to leave both NBC and MSNBC â€” where she had her own 11 a.m. program â€” rather than accept a diminished role. Lack also hired former Fox News host Greta Van Susteren and gave her the 6 p.m. slot on MSNBCâ€™s weekday schedule. Since Van Susterenâ€™s show debuted in January, the ratings have been, by any objective measure, abysmal. In a rare occurrence for that spot, her numbers have actually been lower than those of her lead-in program, Chuck Toddâ€™sÂ Meet the Press Daily. Van Susterenâ€™s hire was not well-received internally at MSNBC, with Chris Matthews being especially frustrated by the decision, according to two network sources.
Last month, HuffPost explained Lack’s desire to jump to the right, and why it is a problem.
Lack, in seeking to make this vision a reality, has an unusual problem for a TV executive: sky-high ratings.Â Since the election of Trump, MSNBCâ€™s liberal primetime programs hosted by Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence Oâ€™Donnell have surged not just in ratings but in the share of the cable news audience theyâ€™re capturing. In its earnings call on Thursday, NBCUniversalÂ specifically cited the boost in ratings to â€œThe Rachel Maddow Showâ€ for a spike in profits.Â MaddowÂ has been the top show on cable news in the key demographic for two months running, an inconceivable achievement at MSNBC.
Tossing those primetime hosts overboard while theyâ€™re raking in viewership and revenue has so far proved an elusive task.Â
â€œHayes, Maddow, Oâ€™Donnell â€• the entire primetime lineup is doing record numbers and Lack canâ€™t stand it. It makes him furious,â€ said one senior MSNBC source, echoing the sentiment of many other insiders who spoke to HuffPost only on the condition of anonymity. (An NBC spokesman said Lack is happy with the high ratings.)
Apparently, viewers and loyalty to its base mean nothing to Andy Lack. And that’s a problem.
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'GOOD LUCK WITH THAT'
‘Trying to Have It Both Ways’: Ivanka ‘Flailing’ as Trump Indictment Slams Family
While Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump have taken to their social media platforms to viciously lash out at Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for indicting their father on a reported 30 charges, Ivanka Trump posted a rather muted statement on her Instagram account which simply said, “I love my father, and I love my country. Today, I am pained for both. I appreciate the voices across the political spectrum expressing support and concern.”
According to Daily Beast conservative columnist Matt Lewis, the so-called “First Daughter,” who served in the White House with her father, is trying to stay true to her former president dad, while distancing herself from his legal problems — and it is not going to work for her.
As Lewis put it, Ivanka is “flailing” in her attempts to shed the memory of her participation in the Trump administration that reached its lowest point on Jan. 6 when supporters of Trump stormed the Capitol and sent lawmakers fleeing for their lives.
“It’s hard to argue with anything Ivanka says here, but it is not a statement of moral clarity. Nor is it (conversely) a statement of strong support for her father. She’s flailing and trying to have it both ways,” Lewis wrote before adding, “Now, it’s understandable that a daughter might not want to utterly condemn her father. Further, children are not responsible for their parents’ sins. Except, of course, if you consider the fact that Ivanka served as the primary weapon in the ‘Trump’s not such a belligerent pig as his four decades as a public figure would make you think’ propaganda push.”
RELATED: Trump is so ‘unmoored from reality’ he can’t act as a defense witness: ‘Art of the Deal’ ghostwriter
Noting that Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner — who has baggage of his own — both stuck with Trump in the White House for all four years, Lewis added, “As far as the former first daughter goes, she and her husband might be done with politics, but once you’ve been a party to an administration like Trump’s, it’s going to be a long time before politics is done with them.”
“So, Ivanka, you want to have a seat at the cool apolitical kids’ table? You want to be once again accepted by the socially liberal billionaires’ children you used to go to the Hamptons with and now have Miami Beach playdates with? You want to enjoy the privileges of being a Trump with none of the shame? Good luck with that,” he concluded.
You can read more here.
Dominion Wins ‘Blockbuster Victories’ Against Fox News – Last Legal Issue Will Be Decided by a Jury: Report
Dominion Voting Systems won what are being called “blockbuster victories” Friday afternoon when a judge ruled the company suing Fox News for $1.6 billion in a major defamation lawsuit had met its burden of proof that Rupert Murdoch‘s far-right wing cable channel had repeatedly made false statements.
The final, and likely greatest legal issue Dominion will have to prove will be actual malice. That issue will be decided in a jury trial, Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis ruled Friday, according to Law & Crime.
Unlike previous cases, Fox News will reportedly not be able to argue the on-air statements its personalities made were opinion.
CNN legal analyst and Brookings senior fellow Norm Eisen calls Friday’s decision a “huge win for Dominion on their summary judgment motion against Fox News.”
READ MORE: Capitol Police Issue Warning Over Possible Trump Protests ‘Across the Country’
“Dominion won partial summary judgement that what Fox said about them was false! Now they just have to prove actual malice and damages,” Eisen says. “Meanwhile Fox’s motion was totally denied.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, an MSNBC contributor adds: “Dominion’s evidence Fox made false statements with reckless disregard is as strong as any I’ve seen.”
The judge was very clear in his ruling.
“While the Court must view the record in the light most favorable to Fox, the record does not show a genuine issue of material fact as to falsity,” Judge Davis wrote. “Through its extensive proof, Dominion has met its burden of showing there is no genuine issue of material fact as to falsity. Fox therefore had the burden to show an issue of material fact existed in turn. Fox failed to meet its burden.”
READ MORE: ‘Propaganda Network’: Media Reporter Says Dominion Filing Exposes Fox News as ‘Void of the Most Basic Journalistic Ethics’
Attorney and MSNBC host and legal analyst Katie Phang points to this key passage in Judge Davis’ ruling.
Dominion has won the argument on the issue of falsity, meaning that as the Court funds below, “it is CRYSTAL clear that none of the Statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true.” pic.twitter.com/7lKEspN0WI
— Katie S. Phang (@KatiePhang) March 31, 2023
Court watchers and news junkies are familiar at this point with the massive legal filings Dominion has made in which it exposed how Fox News knowingly made false statements regarding the 2020 presidential election. Those filings, each hundreds of pages, also detail internal Fox News communications and bombshell conversations between the company’s top personalities, executives, and even Chairman Rupert Murdoch.
Image of Rupert Murdoch via Shutterstock
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Capitol Police Issue Warning Over Possible Trump Protests ‘Across the Country’
The U.S. Capitol Police and the Senate Sergeant at Arms on Friday jointly issued a statement warning they “anticipate” Trump protests across the country. The statement is not time-specific, and it states it has no information on “credible threats,” but some Democratic offices are allowing staffers to work from home Friday and Tuesday.
“The Sergeant at Arms and United States Capitol Police (USCP) anticipate demonstration activity across the country related to the indictment of former President Trump. While law enforcement is not tracking any specific, credible threats against the Capitol or state offices, there is potential for demonstration activity. USCP is working with law enforcement partners, so you may observe a greater law enforcement presence on Capitol Hill,” the statement reads.
“The SAA and USCP are monitoring the potential nationwide impacts to Senate state offices,” it adds.
The House Sergeant at Arms was conspicuously absent from the statement. Speaker Kevin McCarthy has control over that office.
READ MORE: Trump Trial Could Go Well Into the 2024 Election – Or Possibly Even Past It: Former Prosecutor
Additionally, Axios is reporting, “several House Democrats are allowing staffers to work from home as a safety precaution,” noting that “the memory of Trump supporters ransacking the Capitol on Jan. 6 is still fresh on the mind.”
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) is allowing staff to work from home for safety reasons. She told Axios, “I don’t ever want to see a Jan. 6 again.”
“I’ve been in the Trump hate tunnel, Donald Trump has gone after me, and quite frankly I don’t have security. I don’t have entourages.”
She’s not the only Democrat to raise concerns.
“Much of the language from the former President and his devotees is similar to what inspired Jan. 6th,” U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips said. “I’m concerned about safety for my colleagues and my staff.”
READ MORE: ‘Lighting the Match’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Blasted for Off the Rails Rant Defending Trump
Meanwhile, House Republicans are issuing full-throated support for Trump and calling for protests.
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who was called out by name in a six-page letter Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg sent to Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan Friday morning, announced she will be in New York on Tuesday to support Trump when he is arraigned. She has posted several tweets since Trump was indicted.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy issued a statement Thursday seemingly designed to gin up rage and action in the MAGA base.
“Alvin Bragg has irreparably damaged our country in an attempt to interfere in our Presidential election. As he routinely frees violent criminals to terrorize the public, he weaponized our sacred system of justice against President Donald Trump. The American people will not tolerate this injustice, and the House of Representatives will hold Alvin Bragg and his unprecedented abuse of power to account.”
Image by Elvert Barnes via Flickr and a CC license
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