Why MSNBC’s format change is good for the left

2000px-MSNBC_2008_logo.svgMany progressives are lamenting MSNBC’s format change which has emphasized hard news during the daytime rather than liberal commentary. The desire to mimic FOX News mindless commentary and selection of news (which is almost as bad as the commentary – see issues like Solyndra, Islam in America, Immigration and Benghazi) by many liberals to me never made a whole lot of sense. In my opinion, MSNBC’s lazy punditry and knee-jerk progressive reaction to news made it the perfect counterweight to FOX News for those who don’t particularly want to think for themselves of form opinions based on critical thinking or reasoning.

Opinion poll after opinion poll has shown throughout the years, political conservative voters tend to be less informed about world affairs and domestic policy than liberals. FOX News speaks to those people who want simple narratives, “hot takes” on policy, subtle/cloaked racism and scandal mongering. MSNBC gave the left the same thing, and in the last several years I found from my own experiences that more and more progressives were ill-informed on issues of foreign policy, the political processes and actual legislation than ever before.

The dumbing down and polarization of America has been a great contribution of cable news. But on the left where previous opinions were formed from being well-read, listening to balanced debates on NPR, reading thoughtful commentary in places The Atlantic or New Yorker gave way to the same sort of lazy punditry, narratives and analysis that is offered in the era of cable news channels. As an aside it is also good for NBC News, a division with a long and illustrious history of journalism to get back to basics and leave editorializing to other sources.

I personally stopped watching MSNBC years ago. It hasn’t made me any less liberal, but simply has allowed me to be more informed and thoughtful, I believe. So in my opinion, the format-change of MSNBC is a good thing (unless of course Joe Scarborough gets more airtime out of it). Liberals need to get back to working hard to understand issues with more sophistication than conservatives – that differentiated us for years, and simply memorizing talking points spewed on MSNBC made us more like conservatives and FOX News watchers than ever before.  I for one am glad this era has ended and progressives can think for themselves yet again rather than imitating the behavior and thought-processes of the other side.

 

2 comments

  1. The “hard news” format isn’t. It’s boring and repetitive and mostly lazy journalism. Until they’re ready to spend money to pay actual journalists to cover stories around the world, I don’t expect anything better than what they were doing in the past. When Luke Russert is your Capitol Hill reporter, and Politico is your go-to source, who can take you seriously as a hard news organization?

    1. Yep, very good points. Can’t disagree. If they do hard news like CNN does, then it’s not really hard news. Al Jazeera has good go-to journalists and is doing good reporting. PBS NewsHour still does. Politico is the very embodiment of the lazy narrative culture of American politics. Worst go-to news source around.

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