A More Liberal MSNBC

Bruce Bartlett thinks MSNBC should cater to a more liberal taste. I have explained to a friend through emails how MSNBC isn’t the far left news channel that Fox News and many conservatives purport it to be and Bartlett mirrors that sentiment.

I just wish Fox would stop pretending that it isn’t a mouthpiece for the Republican Party and come out of the closet so to speak. The real problem is that the left and the Democratic Party have no comparable outlet and I think they should have one. While MSNBC tends to be slightly to the left it is not nearly as far to the left of center as Fox is to the right, nor does partisanship and ideology permeate its entire schedule as it does at Fox.

He goes on to explain why MSNBC is not the liberal station that it could be but claims that it could be successful in doing so now that Comcast owns it (NBC News was holding MSNBC back).

This may be true but I don’t care for it. Unlike Bartlett who thinks objective reporting makes for boring broadcasting, I prefer an NPR to a Fox News or MSNBC. Rachael Maddow may report with a mostly liberal slant but not a liberal bias—her reporting is objective and truthful. I would be perfectly content with a Maddow on the far right Fox News.

The thing is, though, traditional news is simply not good when it comes to accuracy. Research by Brigham Young University found readers of both traditional news and blogs trust blogs equal to traditional news (40%) or trust blogs more (30%). I’ve seen bloggers source their information a lot more than newspapers and their unnamed sources—and they put things in perspective.

Jon Chait explains exactly why I fail to trust traditional reporting: “Usually, their argument relies on authority—I  am asserting opinion X and you should believe me because I am a prestigious veteran reporter.”

I follow a large variety of blogs, both center-left and center-right, and get as many perspectives on the current news as possible. If MSNBC were to become the Fox News of the left, all we would have is more partisan polarization. Shouldn’t we be trying to go in the completely different direction where people get the most objective impression on issues? Ezra Klein was absolutely vital in getting a wonky understanding of health care reform with as much objectivity as possible. You didn’t need a degree in political science or economics to understand it and his writing was understandable to the average layman.

I surely don’t want a news network as boring as CNN but an objective news station doesn’t have to be boring. Maddow makes the news interesting while reporting objectively towards a certain audience. That is different than the propaganda that Fox News serves its own audience. As Barlett said:

In the 2000s I think Fox has become explicitly right wing, often parroting the Republican Party line of the day. And of course, it is now the home of Glenn Beck, who is so right wing that he makes Rush Limbaugh look like a moderate.

An extremist MSNBC and the normal Fox News that we have today would make interesting television but it’s useless to the progress of this nation.


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