11/10/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

My Problem With MSNBC

My problem is I hardly watch it any more. A while back I thought it had real potential. Now I think it is on its way down.

Not because I do not agree with what I assume to be its hopes for the President. But because they serve these hopes in the following ways:

1. I cannot believe the Rachel Maddow peremptory attitude that says essentially, "We'll see what the President can do now..." As though it was up to him alone. It is up to us and if she is a true progressive she will get with the program and stop playing wise guy. I know she often does exemplary things. But I also know she has shied away from major global human rights issues that cried out for some progressive attention. I think she is probably the best of the lot now, but a shaky best.

2. Keith Olbermann's format is becoming a bore to me. I liked Jean Shepherd and his music and other anachronistic things on Keith remind me that the next time around is never equal to what is being evoked. The plain fact is we do not care about the pissing contests and fun-making and grimaces and other posturing. The most recent denouement of the current style was the Glen Beck Daily Kos fiasco in which Keith went full bore and then pulled a Wizard of Oz nothing act on the air. It was literally unbelievable. And I think full justification for the President's gentle chiding of progressives last night.

3. Then there is Chris Matthews who has evidently decided that visible aging is an excuse for the emulation of a gravitas that he lacks. Many of us who have served in various ranks have a choice to make when we talk about our less-than-central role in things. One can shut up or write a novel or start celebrating yourself at every turn. Chris has chosen the last option with numbing effect. But that is probably a nasty jab, even if true. The main problem I have with Chris is that while he is routinely being rude and interrupting his guests, he is also allowing his own opinions and feelings to so predominate that he becomes a most unreliable witness to events. Because he is dealing with important issues, this is bigger than just accusing him of being opinionated. He is using words to distort the truth at times. And this makes him no better than the more obvious examples of this sad tendency.

4. I reserve my last place concern for the Ed Show which I think would require a H. L. Mencken to adequately describe. Again I agree with many of his impulses and points but I find his show a travesty, a production bust and an exercise in blather and bloviation beyond my capacity to describe or adequately criticize. I do not think he serves the causes he so obviously represents. I think he toadys to some guests and thinks that off-the-cuff will play to his audience. I find the whole thing frankly unbelievable. A man of the people in 30 Rock ? Enough said.

This is the MSNBC lineup and this is how I see it. I know there are many who are happy with this channel. I think it is precariously perched on the road to perdition. I wish CSPAN would put up a news channel that simply reads news in something like real time.