For a long time, MSNBC head honcho Phil Griffin only had to worry about managing a verbal war with competitor Fox News. Then Tim Russert died. Russert was a man who, even in death, could make rainbows appear out of thin air. But now that he’s gone, Griffin is left with Joe Scarborough, Chris Matthews, David Shuster, and Keith Olbermann — all of whom seem to actually loathe one another. Openly. On camera. It’s enough bad karma to make MSNBC broadcast in black-and-white.
Basically, what’s happened so far is this: Olbermann and Matthews ganged up on Scarborough when he raised the issue of poll numbers on Monday. Then Olbermann sort of shushed Chris Matthews on air, which Matthews did not like at all. This led to a few other moments of uncomfortable on-air bickering between the two. Then, Joe Scarborough took out all his irritation on reporter David Shuster, mocking Shuster’s so-called “Independent” political affiliation and complaining that sometimes Shuster sleeps through Scarborough’s show, Morning Joe.
After a week of Gawker and the Huffington Post covering the scuffles, print media finally picked up on the story. The Wall Street Journal chronicled the mess and superbly quoted former MSNBC’er Connie Chung as saying, “‘Grow up!’ They have to just grow up.” Politico also took on the story and tied it to the network’s growing pains as it shifts more firmly to the left.
So why can’t Phil Griffin, the love guru, control all of these guys? Apparently because he doesn’t want to. “Look, I want honest, authentic people on our air. I don’t want phonies. So if the price of that is every once in a while one of these bubbles up, I’m not concerned,” he told the Journal. But it’s so much tension! Surely that can’t be good for your Anahata chakra.
And yet Griffin does have his own way of dealing with this. “Like any good manager, I give and I take and I massage and I deal with it,” he said. Massage? Dude, we’re clearly at the point where that won’t be enough. You may have to yoga that shit out.
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Earlier: MSNBC’s Phil Griffin Is Filled With Flowers, Light
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