The Verdict: Disclosure, Please

Earlier today, I mentioned an article, penned by the HuffPo’s Rachel Sklar, that explains Rachel Maddow’s ascension to her own show as evidence of liberal leanings at MSNBC—and of the power Keith Olbermann, a Maddow mentor, enjoys at the network.

“This isn’t about why she was hired, this is about who she replaced, and why — and, behind the scenes, by whom,” Sklar writes.

The “who she replaced” is Dan Abrams, the focus of Sklar’s piece. Sklar mentions—and, really, mourns—the loss of Abrams’s primetime show, Verdict (which Maddow’s show will replace), suggesting that the former show simply wasn’t liberal enough for MSNBC’s new primetime lineup—given the fact that, as Sklar writes, MSNBC is “moving sharply to the left.” Sklar notes that Verdict “has been performing better in the 9 p.m. hour than anything MSNBC has ever had, particularly in the all-important demo”—and that it “has been a damn safe harbor for MSNBC.”

As I noted, Sklar’s piece is a good one, thoughtful and well-researched. But a tipster reminds us of one thing it’s missing: disclosure. Since Sklar herself has been a commentator on Verdict.

Which is not to negate the value of Sklar’s piece. But it is to say that a little disclosure would have been nice.

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.