To hear Pat Buchanan tell it, he was booted off MSNBC because of a vast left-wing conspiracy.
The reality is a bit more mundane: The network moved sharply left, Buchanan’s boss felt uncomfortable with him, and he was road kill.
In announcing his departure Thursday after being off the air for months, the former GOP presidential candidate said he is leaving “after an incessant clamor from the left that to permit me continued access to the microphones of MSNBC would be an outrage against decency, and dangerous.”
He adds: “I know these blacklisters. They operate behind closed doors, with phone calls, mailed threats, and off-the-record meetings. They work in the dark because, as Al Smith said, nothing un-American can live in the sunlight.”
But Buchanan, who survived for 10 years at MSNBC—and decades at CNN before that—wasn’t “blacklisted” by wild-eyed liberal activists. He was forced out by MSNBC President Phil Griffin, who has presided over the hiring of Ed Schultz, Lawrence O’Donnell, Al Sharpton and a slew of liberal commentators, including Howard Dean and Ed Rendell.(The new house conservative, other than morning man Joe Scarborough, is ex-GOP chairman Michael Steele.)
It was clear that Buchanan would no longer be leaning forward at the cable channel when Griffin expressed concern about his new book, Suicide of a Superpower, saying: “I don’t think the ideas that he put forth are appropriate for the national dialogue, much less on MSNBC.”
The book does contain some inflammatory passages about race and immigration. But Buchanan has been saying this sort of thing for three decades. He hasn’t changed, it’s MSNBC that now has Rachel Maddow anchoring on primary nights.
That’s not to say Buchanan doesn’t have enemies on the left. As he notes, the liberal group Color of Change said his book espouses a “white supremacist ideology.” (Could it be because of the chapter title “The End of White America”?) Media Matters also mounted a campaign against Buchanan.
Buchanan’s entitled to defend himself: “If my book is racist and anti-Semitic, how did Sean Hannity, Erin Burnett, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Megyn Kelly, Lou Dobbs, and Ralph Nader miss that?”
But as a cable news commentator, you serve at the pleasure of management. And MSNBC (which put out a we-wish-him-well statement) was no longer pleased by Buchanan.
Next stop, Fox News?