Either: MSNBC isn’t doing all it can do to find its liberal audience.
Or: Liberals don’t want a liberal cable channel.
And: Fox News doesn’t have this problem with conservatives.
That’s the dynamic exposed by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press in a report released today under the title “Political Polarization in the American Public.” A subsection of the report tilts at the competing views of cable news and starts from the common-sense point that people split along ideological lines over MSNBC and Fox News.
Okay, we knew that, but! The report digs into just how closely ideologues on both ends of the U.S. political spectrum adhere to their home team cable channel. Again, the results aren’t good for MSNBC.
Pew breaks down the public into five groups ranging from “consistently conservative” through “consistently liberal,” as the chart above spells out. Consistent conservatives are quite aware of Fox News, according to the study, which reports that nearly 80 percent of them “offer an opinion” on the network. That opinion breaks favorable by a margin of 74 percent to 5 percent unfavorable. Now consider the numbers for MSNBC: A considerable 46 percent of them offer no opinion of the network, and here we thought that “consistent liberals” have an opinion on everything; among those who do, the split goes 45 percent favorable to 9 percent unfavorable.
So does that mean that liberals are just ignorant of cable news? Not on your life. As the chart shows, “consistent liberals” may not offer much opinion on MSNBC, but they sure have an opinion on Fox News! Seventy-three percent perceive the fair-and-balanced network unfavorably and 8 percent view it favorably, leaving just 19 percent with no opinion on Fox News. The point: Whatever you think about Fox News, you think about Fox News.
That MSNBC doesn’t rule the liberal roost finds corroboration in this recent study, which found that there’s “no dominant trusted news source among Democrats or liberals.”