MEDIA
12/22/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Steve Capus: MSNBC Hosts Not "Flag-Wavers For Obama"

The end of the election cycle presents the cable news networks with a tricky transition, said Andrew Tyndall, publisher of the Tyndall Report, which tracks television news. The three all-news networks built audiences this year by becoming "the cable politics networks," he said, serving political junkies to the exclusion of people seeking other kinds of news.

With the election over, the problem they face is how to build an audience without the daily give-and-take of pundits debating the latest campaign developments, he said. Of the big three, Tyndall believes MSNBC has the most difficult road. Its marquee hosts, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, have carved out reputations as fierce critics of the Bush administration, making it harder for them to turn around and become opponents of Obama, he said.

But Capus disagreed. "Fox has had a pretty darn good run with George Bush in the White House," he said. "So there are a lot of different ways to reach the audience that's out there. None of our hosts have to fall into the category of flag-wavers for Obama. We do not have to present a predictable ideological conversation. We've got to be smart about it. The success we've had recently is more broadly based than just being the loyal opposition."

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