MSNBC's turn to the ideological right drew criticism Wednesday from a number of sources, including liberal talk show host Phil Donahue, whose 7-month-old program was canceled Tuesday because, while drawing the network's highest ratings, it wasn't the breakout show that executives wanted.
In a statement, Donahue said he wished MSNBC management had been more patient with the weekday show, which he had hoped would "break through the noisy drums of war on cable and become a responsible platform for dissenters as well as [Bush] administration supporters."
Donahue charged that, by hiring three conservatives in recent days, including former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, MSNBC is pursuing a "strategy to out-Fox" Fox News Channel.
MSNBC declined to comment, and also was silent on news that the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, in concert with other groups including the National Organization for Women, is calling on supporters to protest MSNBC's hiring of San Francisco radio host Michael Savage. His program, GLAAD said, is "a platform to spew hateful, defamatory rhetoric targeting women, people of color, immigrants" and the gay community.
Along with the hiring of Armey and the firing of Donahue, the changes, GLAAD charged, "threaten the journalistic credibility and integrity of the network."
-- Elizabeth Jensen