MSNBC in 2014 was so much like other years: low-rated and highly ridiculous.
New hosts made their debuts and didn’t disappoint. Joy Reid offered an on-air “trigger warning” that Sen. Harry Reid (D., Nev.) would utter the unforgivable term “Redskins,” while Ronan Farrow led a discussion on the racial diversity of emojis, among their more sterling segments.
The Cycle‘s Krystal Ball offered viewers a new understanding of George Orwell’s classic “Animal Farm” as a screed against the evils of capitalism. After being called out for butchering a timeless piece of literature, she naturally doubled down on her wrongness.
That wasn’t her only rough moment of the year. In addition to being trolled on air by a Howard Stern disciple the day of the Malaysian plane disaster, Ball also took part in a particularly stupid ripoff of the “racial draft” made famous by comedian Dave Chappelle. The kicker was that Reid focused on drafting rich whites like Bill Gates and the Koch brothers to tackle economic inequality amongst the races. It was satire or something.
At one point, Ball said the following: “The white delegation chooses Drake! YOLO!”
Al Sharpton had a hell of a time with the teleprompter for the fourth straight year, celebrating National Breast Awareness Month and saying “nothing compares to Nazi Journey, Germany.” Ed Schultz, firmly entrenched on weeknights after being temporarily benched in 2013, delivered gems like telling Obama to “bring it from your loins” and saying not raising the minimum wage was as racist as Donald Sterling. Alex Wagner, now the wife of Obama’s former head chef, complained the IRS was the group actually being targeted, despite the agency being under investigation for its scrutiny of conservatives.
The year certainly started off well at MSNBC. The Chris Christie Bridgegate saga, broken in January thanks in large part to Steve Kornacki, provided weeks upon weeks of programming, and pundits found new ways every day to predict Christie’s political future had evaporated and anticipated that smoking gun proving he had decided to derail his whole career by closing some traffic lanes. That never came to light, but it didn’t stop the network from frequently calling it the “Chris Christie scandal.”
That wasn’t the only big disappointment.
The 2014 midterms didn’t go according to plan for the folks at 30 Rock, and on election night, their coverage was, while not hysterical, humorous in its frustration, eye-rolling and sarcasm as the Democratic Party was incinerated.
On a positive note, MSNBC did not have to fire anyone this year for things like suggesting a female Republican should undergo the Thomas Thistlewood treatment or calling a photographer anti-gay slurs. It did dismiss one unknown employee for tweeting out that “maybe the right wing will hate” a Cheerios ad featuring a biracial family, but in fairness, that took place off the air.