On Friday, Rachel Maddow conducted a nice rebuttal to the idea that Fox “News” is just a regular news channel, just like all the others. She argued that Fox had crossed a line when it became an activist network this past summer, directly coordinating rallies against the U.S. government. The only problem I have with the argument is that it has always been clear that Fox “News” is nothing more than a conservative babble box, long before the hot, stupid month of August 2009.
It is clear that MSNBC is the home of liberal punditry on “the cables.” Having said that, it must be said also that liberal punditry is categorically different than conservative punditry, as contemporary liberalism is far different than contemporary “conservatism.” Liberals are concerned with good government. We are convinced that government can do good things. Conservatives merely want to drown it in a tub. Therefore, I argue that liberals are more willing to actually understand how public policy works and how to make it work, while “conservatives” are more inclined to simply understand how to make it go away.
But to all-out shellack the network “liberal” is innaccurate, because it ignores another genre that MSNBC is fond of exploiting. It claims alliteratively to be the “place for politics.” But MSNBC has also become the place for “true crime” stories.
Right now, MSNBC airs a program called “When Forensics Fail.” At 3 p.m., “Cult Killer” will examine a cult leader called David Berg who “used his religious views and cult to murder.” At 5 p.m. is the story of Josef Fritzi, accused of imprisoning his daughter for 24 years and fathering her seven children. At 6 p.m. is “Caught on Camera,” an expose of teens gone wild. 9 p.m. is a special treat, with “Lockup,” which tonight profiles the Los Angeles County penal system.
And, we mustn’t forget the network’s constant promoting of its documentary about Waco, and about Charles Manson, and that MSNBC is home to the “Predator” series.
Let’s just say that if MSNBC were only concerned with attracting a liberal audience, it probably wouldn’t be so steeped in law-and-order programming all weekend long every weekend. No, for a network to be considered completely biased toward the liberal side, this is a strange programming choice indeed.