In Profile: MSNBC Edition

By Brian Flood 

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Rachel Maddow caught up with The Hollywood Reporter about the changes NBC News chairman Andy Lack is making and the network’s rating.

We’re always paying attention to ratings, but what exactly determines whether or not you get a good rating on one particular night is something that I’ve been able to put into perspective more and more. [That includes] what’s going on with the competition, the Nielsen sample, the advertising for that show, whether or not my jacket fits. The individual day-by-day rating is something that I care about. But I don’t think about it all that much. I feel a little bit exempt from the corporate drama that happens here because I’ve exempted myself. And they don’t seem to mind that I just focus on 9 o clock.

Maddow also discussed if CNBC moderators were fair during the controversial GOP debate on MSNBC’s sister network.

I have felt from the very beginning of this that if you took just the questions from the moderators at the CNN debate and the Fox debate and the CNBC debate and you made it blind and you went to any of the Republicans who are complaining about this, they could not tell you which of those questions was asked at which of those debates. They just decided for political reasons that CNBC was going to be fun to blow up about. But they complained about CNN, about it being hot in the room, about it being three hours long. And Mr. Trump said those terrible things about [Megyn Kelly] after the Fox debate and then boycotted Fox News for one of his famous five minute boycotts because he felt it was so terrible. We have a term that we use on our kyrons on the show sometimes, which is ‘Pout Rage.’ They really enjoy the pouting and the outrage. But I don’t feel their pain on this subject. You can like or not like the way any of these networks have handled any of these debates, but there’s nothing that CNBC did that is materially different from anything that has been done in any other debate. We’re all going to get complained about. It’s part of politics.

Chris Matthews spoke with Charlotte Business Journal about the beef between CNBC and the GOP over debate formats:

I don’t know. They’re negotiating with my network, NBC, so I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m not involved in it. I made a promise years ago not to be a media critic. I think it doesn’t look right for a ballplayer or a politician or people in the media to be telling other people in the media (what to do). Let the critics do it. That’s not my job. I’m not a media critic.

I always tell people that are watching television, “Believe what you see.” If you think a person is biased, that’s what you think, take it seriously. And you watch the tube and you pay attention, you ought to be able to figure out a point of view if it’s there and judge it and trust your judgment. Act on it. You have to be the consumer of the analysis and the interpretation of the opinion or the straight news, whatever it is. You ought to be able to tell the difference.

I think people are quite capable of doing that. For years, people thought Walter Cronkite was a liberal. Well, he was. It’s just a fact. That isn’t a mystery. If you watch people over the years, you can sort of figure people out. Howard K. Smith (ABC News anchor in the early- to mid-1970s) was a bit more of a hawk.