The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Maybe He’s MSNBC’s 6 p.m. Test Pattern or Something


The first Jolt of September features reactions to the Iraq speech and Joe Miller’s official primary win in Alaska, but here are the lighter closing notes . . .

Good Grief. I’ve Always Preferred Charles to Ed.

I’ve talked in the past about how I don’t quite understand why liberals think Nancy Pelosi is a great leader. I find myself in a similar mentality when it comes to Ed Schultz. If I were an angry liberal, still blaming Bush every time I stubbed my toe, I figure I would like Keith Olbermann for his bravado and the Daily Kos crew. I get that there are times you want your political anger straighter than your hard whiskey; on our side, those nights you reach for the bottle of Mark Levin or Free Republic.

But is anybody really that entertained by Ed Schultz? Okay, obviously his MSNBC co-worker Joe Scarborough enjoys laughing at him and making veiled allusions to his antics. But he doesn’t seem all that entertaining, even to the folks who agree with him.

On those rare occasions when his show is on while I’m working out, I never see anything that’s even all that surprising, much less interesting. The interviews with Democratic lawmakers are flat, usually featuring some variation of, “why aren’t you guys tougher?” and his unsolicited advice to the Obama administration is incessantly a predictable call to “get tougher” with the Republicans. He cites his middle American bona fides as if they distinguish him from millions upon millions of other Americans. He’s not particularly funny, he’s not particularly smart or insightful, and he’s doing the same shtick as the rest of MSNBC’s lineup, just heavier. It’s like the C-team of liberal talkers.

Think about the rest of MSNBC’s lineup. Infuriating as each of them can be to conservatives, Keith Olbermann would probably be a blast to talk sports with, Chris Matthews could probably tell funny stories from his days with Tip O’Neill, and once you got past her thick protective shell of smug, Rachel Maddow is probably a nice person. (Let’s face it, many of us would have hit on her in high school.) But Schultz? Underneath his many layers of anger and girth appears to be a deep hidden core of more anger and girth.

Anyway, Ed Schultz thinks he could get 300,000 people to the mall the way Beck did. Er, yeah, as long as he held it on the Fourth of July. Allahpundit’s assessment: “The best part here? The self-reassuring, ever so slightly frantic repetition of ‘I know I could!’”

ADDENDA: Walter Russell Mead is a genius, and I have a feeling that even his grocery list is full of fascinating insights and cultural allusions — “Pick up milk; recall that the U.S. Department of Agriculture began promotional milk campaigns in 1919 to deal with surpluses generated by the increased production of milk and dairy products during World War I” — but there is a heck of a lot of advice in this essay I wish I had heard years and years ago.

UPDATE: After hitting send, I encounter this fascinating observation from Weasel Zippers:

Via Radio Equalizer

“Six months’ promotion, NBC News says 300,000 people. I bet I could do that! I bet I could do that with this radio show and my TV show and six months’ production, six months’ promotion, if I had the budget I could equal that march. I know I could! I guarantee you, I could do more than 300,000! It ain’t a big deal!”

Here’s yesterday’s ratings numbers. Beck (in a worse time-slot) ratings number was a 569, Schultz a 182 . . .

If I’m reading that chart correctly, that’s in thousands, for the 25 to 54 demographic. Among overall viewers, Beck had 2.6 million, Schultz had 699,000 . . .

Tags: Something Lighter


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