Yeah, MSNBC, Mark Halperin Will Solve All Your Problems

What do the thought leaders in the liberal blogosphere think about Mark Halperin? Well, Markos Moulitsas says he’s “a useless piece of shit who is always wrong about everything,” “has no political acumen,” and has been “engaged in a long-running jihad against the truth.” Duncan Black says that Halperin “sucks ass” and is “proud of the fact that Matt Drudge rules his world.” Gawker’s new boss, Alex Pareene says Halperin is “the world’s laziest dispenser of conventional wisdom” and “the worst hack in America.” Also he’s so bad at what he does that “the most offensive thing about the existence of Mark Halperin is that he’s the worst possible version of himself.” Esquire‘s Charles Pierce says Halperin is one of “the worst two things that have happened to American political journalism in the past 30 years” because “he long ago invented the kind of Beltway insidery railbird bullshit that passes today for analysis.” Heather Digby Parton says that Halperin is “the quintessential Villager, a man who exhales conventional wisdom the way the rest of us exhale carbon dioxide.” Ed Kilgore is especially brutal on this subject:

Mark Halperin is one of the most famous, and certainly one of the most richly remunerated, journalists in Christendom—yet is capable of writing graph after graph and page after page of palpable nonsense, expressing not only an indifference to but an active defiance of any objective evidence that transcends the “insider” information he purveys…

…He writes what Villagers want to read, and is rewarded with unequaled access to their most avaricious thoughts and intentions. And because they do matter in politics, albeit not as much as they would wish, there is a sort of “journalism” going on, but not of the sort that should be taken seriously…

I bring this up because MSNBC wants to do something very silly.

The talks, first reported by New York Magazine, center around rebroadcasting Bloomberg’s 5 p.m. show “With All Due Respect” at 6 p.m. on MSNBC, sources at both networks who are familiar with the discussions said.

“With All Due Respect” is hosted by “Game Change” co-authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, who are regular guests on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

For many at NBC, the idea of rebroadcasting a competitor’s show feels desperate. “Talk about out of ideas,” one on-air talent at MSNBC said. “We’re going to run a rerun of another rival network’s show? As a programming decision that is completely insane.”

That last quote there is pretty easy to put in Rachel Maddow’s mouth, don’t you think?

In any case, who’s the audience for MSNBC’s political programming? Who are their fans? Who do those fans read on the internet? Who do they respect?

And even if much of the MSNBC audience has never heard of weird names like Atrios, BooMan, digby, and kos, they’re still cut from the same kind of cloth. They do not want to listen to Mark Halperin for ten minutes, let alone a full hour. If they don’t already, they will hate Halperin with the white hot heat of a thousand suns.

Maybe the management should ask the greatest blogger of all time, The Rachel Maddow Show producer Steve Benen, what he thinks about airing Mark Halperin Bloomberg reruns at 6 p.m.

Here’s what Benen had to say about Halperin back in August 2008:

It’s difficult to identify with any real certainty the single worst political analysis of the presidential campaign, but if you missed ABC News’ “This Week” yesterday, you missed Time‘s Mark Halperin offering analysis that was so bizarre, it was tempting to think it was intended as satire. Only in this case, Halperin was serious.

So, if this is what MSNBC Chairman Andrew Lack wants to do, he should resign before he humiliates himself and pisses off all the actual talent he’s already assembled.

It’s also unclear that either side would get a significant ratings boost from the deal. MSNBC’s 5 p.m. show, “MTP Daily,” hosted by Chuck Todd, has floundered in the ratings. The show has averaged 499,000 viewers since it launched, and just 65,000 of those viewers are in the coveted 25-to-54 year-old demographic.

But sources at NBC say Lack may be less concerned with ratings than with relevance. Halperin and Heilemann are big names in New York and Washington, and their addition could buy MSNBC a greater stake in the political discussion during the 2016 campaign. To that end, sources said, he may be willing to overlook the hurdles.

Trying to be more relevant by running reruns of Mark Halperin that first aired on a rival network that no one watches?

Good luck with that.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.