If this is the best he can come up they are screwed,.
One of the most unintentionally-entertaining parts of covering the cable news business is seeing to what lengths an executive will go to spin the numbers at the end of a given quarter or year. In the case of MSNBC — which had what one would generously call a challenging 2014 —network President Phil Griffin certainly took the spin to a whole new level.
Before we continue, please note: The internal memo Mediaite obtained written to MSNBC by Mr. Griffin was exactly what one would expect from someone in his position: Ratings are way down in a year (Ferguson, midterm, Ebola) they should have held steady or gone up. Per Stephen Battaglio’s column in today’s L.A. Times:
“Through December 21, MSNBC averaged 169,000 prime-time viewers in the category, down 17% from 2013 and its worst performance since 2005. Fox News is averaging 302,000 for the year in the demographic, a 3% increase, while CNN is down 1% with 181,000. MSNBC is a distant second behind Fox News in overall viewers, but it’s down in that category as well.” […]
And that’s just one example of Griffin reaching here to find any bit of good news he can, even if it means nothing to the network’s bottom line. In the same memo, Griffin conveniently discovers the 25-54 demo, as he notes the network won the race for most Hispanic viewers in cable news in that category. But in the same vein of checking off boxes, the network president boasts, “Our African-American audience is double that of CNN’s and more than seven times that of Fox News.”
And spiking of the ball on that point sums up much of MSNBC’s problem: Always seeing the world through the prism of race. Remember, this is the home of dog whistles, where the words “golf”, “Chicago”, “lazy” and “IRS” are all deemed racist. So while we’re at it, perhaps some metrics around how many Irish or Italians or Asians or Persians are watching are in order as well.