MSNBC denies it is a news network

For years conservatives have pointed out that MSNBC is virtually opinion — and consistently liberal opinion — spun under the guise of a “news network.” Now MSNBC agrees, although among mainstream media critics (who probably believe it really was “news”) there is little comment on this revelation.

 

The New York Times, however, reveals what it never previously acknowledged:

At a time of intensely high interest in news, MSNBC’s ratings declined from the same period a year ago by about 20 percent. The explanation, in the network’s own analysis, comes down to this: breaking news is not really what MSNBC does.

“We’re not the place for that,” said Phil Griffin, the channel’s president, in reference to covering breaking events as CNN does. “Our brand is not that.”

The brand, one MSNBC has cultivated with success, is defined by its tagline, “The Place for Politics,” and a skew toward left-wing, progressive political talk, the opposite of the conservative-based approach that has worked well for Fox News.

MSNBC began to commit itself to presenting a liberal spin on political coverage in the middle of the last decade, partly because it had not found success in previous models (like trying to be a news channel for younger viewers) and mostly because it had one host, Keith Olbermann, whose ratings were exploding based on his outspoken criticisms of the Bush administration and the conservative voices on Fox News.

Actually, it’s not the opposite of Fox, which actually covers news, breaks stories and has a Sunday talk-show host, Chris Wallace, who in 2012 routinely grilled GOP presidential aspirants.

So, in the interest of honesty, shouldn’t MSNBC cease with the faux daytime “news” program or at least label it as “not news”? If it really intended to be candid, the channel would be taken out of the news division and be slotted under entertainment. And if NBC News wanted to preserve its integrity, it would (in addition to replacing inept questioner David Gregory) not permit its real news people to go on the left-wing spin channel. Moreover, none of the non-news figures should be moderating any debate in any race.

Now, what about those media “critics” who generally spend time denouncing Fox, while treating MSNBC as a legitimate news outlet? They should be a little embarrassed, but then again most of those people aren’t so much media critics as conservative media denouncers. That is why, perhaps, they never really probe why the MSM ignores real scandals (e.g. Benghazi) and refuses to cover major stories (e.g. Gosnell). In short, they are to media criticism what MSNBC is to news.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.
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Jennifer Rubin | June 3, 2013