Forward Thinking

So the wingnut websites are having a grand time over recent reports of problems affecting MSNBC, including the allegedly impending demise of midday host Ronan Farrow’s program. Among non-irrational folks, there are any number of theories as to why the network has yet to outfox its competition; I can say that among some members of my social circle, there is a strong belief that the network hasn’t been the same since Keith Olbermann left nearly four years ago.

Last month, Variety‘s Peter Bart suggested that MSNBC’s isn’t doing enough to keep progressive viewers:

What sets MSNBC apart, of course, is its political posture, which serves an important counterweight given Rupert Murdoch’s clout with Fox and the Wall Street Journal, and the dominance of talk radio by Tea Party propagandists. Coverage of the Ferguson, Mo., racial tension provided a fascinating focus for all this. Fox coverage was fervidly pro-police, while CNN agonized for the protestors and MSNBC gave us Al Sharpton, posing as both journalistic observer and social provocateur. The only balanced coverage was from the BBC and Al Jazeera.

It seems to me the ball is now in your court, Phil, to re-energize your network. The big stories are there. The coming elections will bring new personalities and issues to the fore. While the political system continues in a stalemate, with voters polarized, there should certainly be a place for a passionately informative force on the left. Or even in the middle.

To that end, I’d like to suggest a–pun fully intended–out-of-left-field choice to replace Farrow, if he is indeed heading out the door…

As noted previously, Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate should be remembered as one of the decade’s defining books. In her numerous media appearances before and since the book’s release, Klein has done a flawless job of defending her arguments and knocking down the nonsense being peddled by the professional climate-denier class.

If MSNBC is looking for another vibrant progressive voice, why not give Klein a show? Yes, I’m sure there’d be a few, uh, special interests that would not be too thrilled about someone raising serious questions about the economic status quo and its impact on our environment. However, the only special interest that should matter is the audience.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’d love to see Klein get a gig on MSNBC in part because it would make so many wingnut and political/media establishment heads explode. We’ve seen how passionately Klein’s enemies hate her for her boldness, her spunk, her willingness to lay a smackdown on conventional wisdom. Klein on TV five days a week would send those enemies into a state of despair.

Klein is a force of nature, and would force the political/media establishment to confront the damage we’ve inflicted upon nature. So why not give her a shot? She’d tell the truths Fox and CNN cannot.

UPDATE: Klein spoke at the Cambridge Forum in Massachusetts on October 16, 2014. She is just awesome. 62 minutes.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.