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Craig Crawford Kisses MSNBC Goodbye

CQPolitic's Craig Crawford says what he's thankful for, November 2009. Apparently, Craig wasn't really all that thankful for Sarah Palin: In a Fri

CQPolitic's Craig Crawford says what he's thankful for, November 2009.

Apparently, Craig wasn't really all that thankful for Sarah Palin:

In a Friday surprise, MSNBC political analyst Craig Crawford announced on his CQ Politics blog Trail Mix today that he is leaving the network.

"Three months short of my current contract," he wrote, "I sent the following to the boss, [MSNBC President] Phil Griffin: 'Phil, Just wanted to give you the heads up that my situation with MSNBC has become so unrewarding for me that I've decided to move on. — Craig'"

In an email, Crawford tells TVNewser, "This was a long time coming. I haven't felt like a good fit for MSNBC since the presidential campaign, and their hard turn toward point-of-view programming.

"So many of my booking calls lately have been for segments bashing Sarah Palin, for instance. I was boring myself, and surely the viewers.

"But no particular event brought this on, just my desire to try other outlets and have more fun. I have a fine and rewarding home with the great folks at CQ-Roll Call. I enjoy blogging for them and doing our web videos.

"Perhaps I'm not cut out to be a cable cowboy anymore, dunno. Prefer remaining independent and do my own thing for any channel, including MSNBC, that books me. After a dozen years with one channel, I'd rather play the field for a while."

In the interest of disclosure, I have spoken with Craig in the past--as we set up his book chat last year--and I've communicated with him via Facebook on this as well. I like Craig as a person, and I can certainly understand a level of frustration if the only subject for which he's invited is Palin. However, I don't know if that's the whole truth. In the comment section of his blog, he revealed some more:

i simply could not any longer endure being a cartoon player for lefty games, just gotta move on to higher ground even if there's no oxygen

Lefty games? Oh dear. I asked Craig to explain what that meant, but he refused. In fairness to Craig, since his appearances were basically with Countdown, I don't think that anyone will argue there isn't a lefty slant, but games? It's a troubling characterization. Craig commented again:

i have never and never will forgive Chris [Matthews] for calling me a racist after the West Virginia primary (the last time I will ever go on air with him). Probably should have resigned then and there, but better late than never.

What was that again? I watched an excruciating number of hours of election coverage on MSNBC (and have the high blood pressure and heart troubles to prove it), I missed Chris Matthews calling Craig racist. Mediaite was more successful than I in getting a clarification from Craig:

I haven’t felt like a good fit for MSNBC since the presidential campaign, and the hard turn toward point-of-view programming. No particular event brought this on, just my desire to try other outlets and have more fun. As far as Chris is concerned, on Morning Joe after the West Virginia primary he accused me of always defending Clinton and what he claimed to be her racially motivated campaigning. That’s the problem. Trying to be fair became seen as bias in the new thinking over there. But I do wish my many pals at MSNBC nothing but good things.

This appears to be that incident from Morning Joe. (link goes to Newsbusters)

The truth is, there were times that the anti-Hillary coverage got to me, and I wasn't a Hillary-supporter. But that was over a year ago, and claims of loyalty aside, leaving with bad blood three months shy of your contract ending seems to be a strong statement to make for transgressions more than a year old. Now, I'd like to think that Craig was taking a principled stand against "point of view" programming, but as Mediaite points out, Crawford announced he was going from the frying pan into the fire:

Crawford says on his blog he will be on Fox & Friends as a guest on Monday, although FNC says he won’t be. He also writes in the comments that he is a “free agent.”

Update: Crawford took down the F&F booking info shortly after publication.

Oy. F&F isn't point of view programming, Craig? C'mon now. Clearly the free agent thing had Crawford thinking, because later on Facebook and Twitter he asked what people thought of CNN's Rick Sanchez as a possible new "anchor buddy". I admit, I wasn't too complimentary.

I do think that collectively we're reaching a form of critical mass on being tired of opinion media masquerading as journalism. There will always be a certain percentage of the population that needs their pre-conceived notions reinforced, but by and large, Americans don't trust "journalists" any more, with reason. And this stand of Crawford's--as contradictory as it appears on its face--may be another crack in the dam.

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