Monday, March 25, 2013

Phil Griffin is going to kill news journalism

Interesting profile of MSNBC Chief Phil Griffin in TNR. Also disturbing. The shorter would be: Fuck delivering the news, I just want to beat Roger Ailes -- hard -- in the ratings. To be fair, he comes off as a pretty cool guy, but here's the scary part:
But even if MSNBC doesn’t surpass its main rival in the next year or the next five, Phil Griffin has managed an unprecedented feat. He has created a thriving and lucrative liberal TV business, the long-sought answer to Fox News and conservative talk radio. Above all a businessman, though, Griffin understands that people’s tastes change, so even now, at the height of MSNBC’s power, he’s talking about “evolving” the network. He wants it to become more of a lifestyle brand than a political hub. Which means that the biggest threat to MSNBC’s position as a liberal oasis may not be a newly invigorated CNN or Fox News; it may be the man who shaped the network into what it is today. [...]

... “It’s a mistake for us to limit ourselves to news,” he says. He wants to build something he calls “the MSNBC lifestyle,” and so he’s spending a lot of time figuring out what works for Bravo and USA, two hugely lucrative cable properties also owned by Comcast. “We may find that they can teach us more about how to find our audience than CNN or NBC News can,” he says.
In other words, he wants MSNBC to "evolve" into the televised version of a tabloid in the supermarket checkout aisle. Which also appears to be the plan of his newly installed rival at CNN, Jeff Zucker. That sound you hear is the gurgling death rattle of hard news journalism, becoming just a little louder as the profession inches ever closer to its demise. [image via]

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