The powers that be at cable “news” network MSNBC apparently believe Ed Schultz wasn’t leaning forward enough — or more likely enough to the left. Whatever the case, they announced today that they are dumping him in favor of Chris Hayes, who, The New York Times reports, will take over the 8 p.m. weekday time slot next month.
The portly Schultz, whom the Times describes as “a champion of the working class whose bluster didn’t always pair well” with the rest of the channel’s primetime lineup, isn’t being put out to pasture altogether. Rather he is being moved to weekends, better known in the world of broadcast journalism as Siberia.
So what is it about Hayes that makes him a better lead-in to Rachel Maddow, who holds down the 9 o’clock slot, and to Lawrence O’Donnell at 10? As the Times tells it, he is “a liberal intellectual” and “just as wonky” as they are.
The Times’s Brian Stelter doesn’t provide examples of Hayes’s intellectualism, which places the onus on the reader to find them. Perhaps his bout with inner demons last Memorial Day will suffice. In the video below (transcript follows), Hayes hems and haws as he grapples to refine his difficulties with applying the term “heroes” to members of the military who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
CHRIS HAYES: Thinking today and observing Memorial Day, that’ll be happening tomorrow. Just talked with Lt. Col. Steve Burke, who was a casualty officer with the Marines and had to tell people [inaudible]. Um, I, I, ah, [Steve] Beck, sorry, um, I think it’s interesting because I think it is very difficult to talk about the war dead and the fallen without invoking valor, without invoking the words ‘heroes.’ Um, and, ah, ah, why do I feel so comfortable [sic] about the word ‘hero’? I feel comfortable, ah, uncomfortable, about the word because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war. Um, and, I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism: hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I’m wrong about that.
The biggest challenge Hayes faces in his new time slot is going up against Bill O’Reilly whose show on the FOX News Channel has historically earned double Schultz’s ratings among viewers 25 to 54 years old. The Times notes that this reality was “much to the chagrin of Mr. Schultz, who parodied his rival on a regular basis.”
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