Former NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker spoke last week at the annual alumni luncheon for the Harvard Crimson and in answer to a question addressed the politics of cable news:
Mr. Zucker said he thought the cable news landscape of Fox News and MSNBC has “gotten a little too heated” to the detriment of democracy, but he also noted, “if you don’t like it, you don’t have to watch it.”
As for MSNBC, “We didn’t have a secret meeting where we said, ‘maybe we should just go left,'” he said. Rather, “people started watching Keith Olbermann,” and programmers planned the rest of the schedule to “flow” with his show.
Zucker and the network execs didn’t have to have a secret meeting to plot the direction of MSNBC. It was already headed in that direction, having carried Hardball with Chris Matthews for years, but it lacked a solid lineup of shows to compete in prime time.
After Olbermann finally found an audience it was much easier for the network to go with the flow, as Zucker said, rather than worry about fairness and balance.
And as much as Zucker may feel that the cable news landscape has gotten a little too heated, he is as much to blame as anybody since the current lineup took shape under his watch, and he knows it.
Zucker is just another dishonest liberal who won’t accept blame for his role in what he thinks is wrong with cable news today. I am sure, beyond a doubt, that if he was given the chance to do it all over again he wouldn’t change a thing from a political standpoint.