MSNBC showed what kind of operation they’re truly running by interrupting an exclusive interview with a congresswoman to provide “breaking news” on Justin Bieber’s DUI arrest. Former congresswoman Jane Harman was talking about a government task force urging the National Security Agency to stop gathering phone records when she was interrupted mid-sentence by host Andrea Mitchell.
“Congresswoman, let me interrupt you for just one second, we have some breaking news out of Miami,” said Mitchell. “Justin Bieber has been arrested on a number of charges. The judge is now reading the charges, including resisting arrest and driving under the influence. He is now appearing before the judge for his bond hearing. Let’s watch.” MSNBC then cut to the bond hearing for several minutes before returning to the interview.
Prison documentaries are the only thing that has saved MSNBC’s sagging ratings in the last 12 months. They finished just slightly ahead of CNN in the ratings last year, but that was largely due to a series of fluff-based news shows including Lockup, Caught on Camera and reruns of To Catch a Predator. MSNBC also allots at least 25 hours per week to this tabloid/crime programming, something which Fox News and CNN don’t devote nearly as much time to.
Without those shows, they drop to third overall among news networks and come within a few thousand viewers of HLN in 4th place.