While a lot of you are buzzing about Joe Hagan‘s New York cover story on the “Today” show, Rebecca Dana has a fascinating profile of MSNBC president Phil Griffin in the New Republic. The takeaways: how Griffin took the network left — and up — despite early reservations; his frenemy status with CNN president Jeff Zucker and his plans for the future of MSNBC: (Hint: less “Lockup” more lifestyle.
And there’s this, about the time 10 years ago when Griffin went across the street for a job interview with Fox News CEO Roger Ailes:
In 2003, when MSNBC was on deathwatch, Griffin found himself in Ailes’s office, on a job interview. As Griffin remembers it, the Fox News chief asked him where he went to college, and when Griffin told him Vassar, Ailes replied, “Liberal.”
“Why do you say that?” Griffin asked.
“Only liberals go there,” Ailes said.
Griffin walked out without a job offer, and that has pretty much been the extent of their interpersonal dealings over the years, though Ailes doesn’t think ill of him. “I’m fond of Phil Griffin,” Ailes told me. “He’s like the guy next door who wants to borrow your lawnmower. And he does a pretty good job of managing that mean-spirited circus over there. But let’s be honest, he built his whole career out of being in Jeff Zucker’s wedding party.”
(Photo: Spencer Heyfron for New Republic)