Ronan Farrow: The Young Man Only Old People Like (Young Blue Eyes fails to bring young viewers to MSNBC)

The mandarins who groomed Farrow may be excited to watch their protégé on the air, but the initial ratings suggest the country’s young people aren’t. They weren’t exactly clamoring for one of America’s best imitations of China’s infamous princelings to get even more airtime. Not that that was going to matter. This isn’t a democracy — this is cable news.

The New York Times Sunday Styles section published a piece last month depicting MSNBC host Ronan Farrow, the celebrity son of Mia Farrow and either Woody Allen or Frank Sinatra, being embraced by Manhattan’s moneyed, aging A-list. Another profile, this one in the New York Times Magazine, described the new host as a “reluctant” television star. Whether the irony was intended is unclear, but the piece quotes MSNBC president Phil Griffin recounting his first meeting with Farrow: “Within 20 minutes I wanted to hire him,” Griffin said. “He’s got it.”

Griffin rewarded Farrow with a contract rumored to be in the low millions.

Farrow was mentored since his mid-teens by the late diplomat Richard Holbrooke. After Holbrooke’s sudden death Farrow was appointed to a murky role as “special adviser” to Hillary Clinton during her tenure at the State Department. He certainly knows how to charm sexagenarian elites, but young people don’t seem to like him much. The New York Times has aptly labeled him “the youngest old guy in the room.” Griffin had hoped the 26-year-old would help draw younger viewers to MSNBC, but after his first week on the air, Farrow’s ratings in the 18–49 demographic fell far below those from the comparable week a year ago, when Andrea Mitchell Reports was running in the same time slot.

Farrow’s largest audience, according to Deadline Hollywood, was among adults 50 and older: that is, among the same demographic that groomed the precocious Farrow from childhood and taught him to meet their expectations. Griffin may have high hopes, but Farrow doesn’t look like the right pick to shake things up or shatter any preconceived notions. The Yale Law School graduate and Rhodes Scholar fits perfectly into the larger fabric of the network Griffin has shaped around 9 p.m. host Rachel Maddow, whose Stanford degree and Rhodes Scholarship make her the network’s preeminent wonk. Farrow will continue to do what he’s been doing for the past 26 years: striking a perfect pitch for the liberal elite. That’s probably not the missing ingredient at the network, whose increasingly preening tone hasn’t helped ratings.

“It is one of the big perks of this job that I get to follow you,” Farrow told Andrea Mitchell after her lead into his show last Monday. “And honestly, if I’m able to capture a fraction of the integrity that you keep in your reporting, I am A-okay on my show, so thank you for that intro.”

Throughout the week, he hauled out predictable C-list guests to discuss predictable matters. Clinton-era secretary of defense William Cohen and former Obama adviser David Axelrod, for example, took up the crisis in Ukraine, and NBC News White House correspondent Chuck Todd talked about the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.

The baby-faced Farrow, whose parentage has been the subject of much speculation, sometimes seems to be more fame and prestige than flesh and bone. From a young age, he’s had no problem attracting the sort of people who prize those qualities. They pop up throughout the many public accounts of his brief life.  

There was Holbrooke, a loyal friend of Mia Farrow’s who hired Ronan as a speechwriter when he was 15. There is Holbrooke’s formidable widow, the journalist and socialite Kati Marton, the ex-wife of Peter Jennings. There is Diane Sawyer, Holbrooke’s ex-girlfriend, who is now advising Farrow. “I’ve told him, ‘If there is anything you want to do that I have a cautionary tale about, I’ll be there.’” Sawyer told the New York Times.

And there is Hillary Clinton, who, upon Holbrooke’s death, “took Ronan under her wing.”


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commented 2014-03-05 07:56:04 -0500 · Flag
Marty writes:

Toure sees klansmen in his linen closet and like most people of his worldview are less tolerant and more racist than the people he criticizes.
commented 2014-03-05 07:55:05 -0500 · Flag
Victor writes:

All while toure collects 250k or more year to tell the world about structural discrimination – yes welcome to the 1 percent dear toure! Can’t make the hypocritical turd stories like this up – unless of course you are a progressive….

At least CNN is dumping Brit-pop-hate-America-and-its-guns limp noodle piers Morgan…..
commented 2014-03-05 07:54:15 -0500 · Flag
Delroi writes:

The best parts:
  • ‘speechwriter’ for richard holbrooke AT 15 YRS. OF AGE.
  • on the state dept. payroll to the tune of a deep-six figure salary as the head of ‘youth engagement’.

If the libertine sun king had flaccidly fornicated with an orwellian harridan bitch-queen, and transported the resulting spawn to the present, THIS would be the result. And msnbc completes the da-daist circle, putting him on television next to ‘toure’ so they can verbally ejaculate in tandem about ‘structural discrimination’ and ‘cumulative grievance’.
commented 2014-03-05 07:53:14 -0500 · Flag
A.A. writes:

This truly beggars belief. It is Supreme Parody. If this pantomime did not exist it would have been conceived by Thomas Wolfe for his next novel – a scathing lampooning of the aging Left intelligentsia’s grotesquely self-inflated sense of prerogative…“Ronan” serving as cipher and Court Jester in the piece. This over-privileged, over-praised, over-credentialed narcissistic (bastard) twerp has had so much smoke blown up his puckered anal cavity by the über-elite, self-serving Baby-Boom poseurs in the media and the entertainment industry that his mama has been rubbing elbows with since she gave up her role as a B-list actress in a trashy soap (Peyton Place) and started sucking Ole Blue Eyes’ salami back in the late 60’s that when he burps he thinks he smells sweet incense.

If I may use a baseball analogy, this is the kind of self-involved wonk that has been carried around the bases on mommy’s back to within an inch of home plate, and when mommy’s nice friends grab his soft hand and extend his delicate fingers to touch home plate he triumphantly raises his arms in triumph and thinks he hit a home run. What a risible imbecile…what grotesque burlesque…
commented 2014-03-05 07:51:39 -0500 · Flag
Delroi writes:

I think I may have finally run across the apogee of over-credentialed (self-anointed) elite mediocrity. This exceeds even leftie parody… a salon-mandarin product of the most incestuous, fatigued liberal loins. A faux-precocious nullity too contorted up his own flaccid asshole to realize he is ‘exhibit A’ in wikipedia’s entry for “liberal joke”. Various passages here beggar belief. Vacuous and vapid fail as adjectives before this personification of fey, public-sector-sponging presumption…

What do you do except indict a nation so unserious as to produce a daffodil like this?