A canary gasping for air.


MSNBC, the avowedly liberal cable news network, is in the ratings tank. In the most recent Nielsen ratings, the marquee primetime shows on MSNBC are down by as much as 40 percent as compared to the same period last year. (Not that the ratings were anything to write home about then, either.)

MSNBC began life as a line extension of NBC News and it was originally intended that it would offer more in-depth and long-form coverage of major news stories. But as the Fox News Channel continued to gain strength at the expense of competitors CNN and MSNBC, MSNBC began pursuing a strategy of leaning left on the premise that success might be found in being for the liberal viewer what Fox News was perceived to be for the conservative viewer.

For a while it appeared to be working. During the 2008 presidential campaign, MSNBC beat CNN for the number two spot against Fox.

But National Review columnist Jonah Goldberg now posits that MSNBC is the proverbial canary in the coal mine. The network was at the peak of its health in 2008 and Obama won. Thus its decline might portend trouble for the next Democratic nominee.

There’s a logical case to be made.

Six years in to the most liberal presidency in U.S. history, not a single important promise of the 2008 Obama “Hope & Change” campaign has come true. Do a Google search on “Obama broken promises” and you get more than a million hits. The worst among those broken promises includes pledging to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term, promising to not put lobbyists in key administration positions, a commitment to create an, “unprecedented level of openness in government,” and, of course, “If you like your health care plan you can keep your health care plan.”

Obama promised a more enlightened foreign policy that would reduce tensions around the world. Six years later, there is chaos in every corner of the globe, a rapidly growing terrorist threat and a Middle East that now looks as if it might erupt into World War III.

Since Obama took office, median household income in the United States has fallen and then stagnated, economic growth has not exceeded an anemic 2.5 percent in any full year and workforce participation has fallen to levels not seen since the Great Depression.

All of this disproportionately impacts those at the bottom of the economic ladder – the very people liberals claim most loudly to be helping.

Taken all around, liberals – particularly those liberals who are closer to the political center – have little in the way of an Obama record that they can proudly defend. It is most likely these viewers who have given up on MSNBC. The Kool-Aid just doesn’t taste as good as it once did.

If Jonah Goldberg’s canary-in-the-coal mine metaphor is apt, the Democrats may find themselves desperately searching for some fresh air in 2016. That “fresh air” and “Hillary” are seldom used in the same sentence may prove troublesome.

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Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of ATW Media, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The TEAM FM in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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7 Responses

  1. C M Solomon says:

    The radical Leftist Democrats exist on the rotting flesh of our Constitutional Republic that their wolves destroy at every turn. They are vultures, not canaries gasping for air. They feed on the carcasses left by the media wolves that run in packs of coordinated LIES and DECEPTION. MSNBC just happens to be a victim of the last few glimmers of the free market that Liberals despise. Would it happen a little more often!

    This new generation of far-left Democrats abandoned the Constitution and declared it an enemy with the election of Emperor Obama. There is no pretense of being a patriot to the America as we once knew it. Tyranny of their Marxist dogma is their war mission and “damnation” to any that opposes their anti-God, pro-statist religion.

    The creed of the tyrants – Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, Mao Tse-tung, Pol Pot, Kim Jong-il, Ayatollah Khamenei, Idi Amin Dada, and Barack Hussein Obama is found in the acronym, DDDD.

    DDDD – Don’t Debate, Demonize your enemies and Destroy them.


    What a great line–The Kool-Aid just doesn’t taste as good as it once did.

    Saw this in a political cartoon this morning–Hil liar y. The liar may be a very hard sale after losing their health insurance. Even so, don’t underestimate the republicans ability to throw the election to a Mass Governor……They have done a pathetic job with their majority!!!

  3. p.k. lewis says:

    Great answers you guys!! Kudos.

    DDDD is also the line from Alynski, but not put so succinctly. Its a good catch line.

    It may be that Obama has created the biggest tidal wave around to wash out the mouths of our voters.

    I hope so.
    Again thanks

  4. Jim Lee says:

    Well said Paul. My biggest fear is for my grandchildren, and the country they will see in the next 20 years.

  5. Linda E. Montrose says:

    Given the past history of the republican party and who they seem to deem “worthy” of the office of president, we have lost before it has begun. Dole? McCain? Romney? All were weak in the spine for standing up for what is right, ended up handing the election over to those who have brought us to the position we are in today. Can we redeem ourselves this time? Not if we haven’t learned anything from past mistakes. Have we???

  6. the interview with the punch drunk Harry Reid explaned better than I ever could .When asked about the lies he told on the senate floor about Mitt Romneys not paying taxes His Reply “he didn’t win,did he?” thats what liberals care about.WINNING not the country not truth not honor not right just winning and in their winning we lose Liberals think its fine to murder an unborn child but raise holy hell if a fellow murderer is executed.that my friends is your DEMONcratic party. Willis S. Martin Tyler Tx.

  7. “Gasping for air” = a channel that made $300 million last year.

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