MSNBC v. Fox News
MSNBC Outpaces Rival Networks in Biased Reporting
I get a great kick out of the criticism Fox News faces everywhere on the blogs and in print media. Most ridiculous is that the rancor directed at the Fox News organization is apoplectic, irrational, and outsized. Fox regularly features center left-liberals Juan Williams, Susan Estrich, Mara Liasson, Kristin Powers, and others on its news programs. The nearest opposite to Fox News is competitor and NBC division MSNBC. It’s as rare to see Republican or conservative ideas given fair treatment on MSNBC as it is to find water in the Kalahari.
On the other hand, MSNBC would tout the regular appearance of Pat Buchanan and Joe Scarborough as proof of its “balanced reporting. Boston Globe editor Mike Barnacle also provides ballast, keeping the MSNBC boat from riding too high in the water. Barnacle’s one of those traditional old-style Democrats who, try as he might to avoid it, becomes livid at such things as the proposed Ground Zero mosque. One of the great things about Barnacle is that he frequently shows up in a truly interesting wardrobe (Okay, I’m not a fashion plate, either).
Fox and MSNBC have opposing evening lineups, featuring ideologues of the left and right. Notable ideologues on MSNBC’s left-wing lineup include Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, while Fox features conservative pundits like Shawn Hannity and Bill O’Reilly. Frankly, it’s only Shawn Hannity who can match ideological purity with left-wingers Olbermann and Maddow, both of whom rely heavily on Fox News for programming content.
On many occasions, the entire Olbermann – Maddow lineup devotes entire shows to Fox News reporting in the manner of bloodhounds sniffing the trail of an escaped convict. If the bloodhounds ever do catch a Fox pundit disagreeing with left-liberal dogma, you can expect that person will make Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World” list.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews is clearly of a liberal stripe, and appears before Olbermann and Rachel Maddow. Matthews does actually present news on occasion and, admittedly, one might rarely learn a thing or two from him. (Everyone has learned, for example, that Matthews gets “a thrill running down my leg whenever President Obama speaks”) Aside from the occasional nod to journalism, the overall MSNBC strategy seems to be to supplant news with left-wing commentary appealing to a hard-wired left-wing base of Obama supporters.
On Fox, Bret Baier’s 6:00 p.m. “Special Report,” after a news roundup, variously features a panel of journalist heavyweights which often includes Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post, Juan Williams and Mara Liasson of NPR, Brit Hume on special occasions, and lately Steven Hayes of the Weekly Standard.
It’s likely that the only team capable of competing against the Fox News team would be the “Morning Joe” team of Mika Brezinski, John Ridling, Mike Barnacle, Pat Buchanan, Willie Geist, and a variety of occasional guests. Putting the “Morning Joe” team opposite Fox “Special Report” would be broadcasting suicide, however, and MSNBC is content with a smaller audience at that time slot. MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” ratings are substantial, if not overwhelming, and the show is pitted against “Fox and Friends” morning team of Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson, and Brian Kilmeade.
MSNBC viewers are treated to a predictable ongoing parade of left-liberal guests and sometimes the contradictions are jarring. Yesterday, a guest interviewee was Michael Hastings, the Rolling Stone Magazine reporter whose embedded journalism resulted in the firing of one of the Afghan war’s best generals, Stanley McChrystal. Hastings made predictable whining noises because his recent request for “embed” was declined by the Defense Department. Well, duh! Why wouldn’t those nasty warmongering Pentagon types admit the fretting high-minded left-wing literatus into their strategy sessions?
The Rolling Stone article is protected by the 1st Amendment, yeah, I know, but also protected by the 1st Amendment is my right, and the Army’s right to say “No, go *@*& yourself.” Hastings is not Major Hasan, and uses the pen instead of a gun to shoot holes into the American mission. Hastings is as intense in his anti-war ideology as is Julian Assange, who did untold damage to American troops with his recent WikiLeaks release of classified documents.
Another of yesterday’s “Morning Joe” guests was Time Magazine managing editor Rick Stengel who had to justify to MSNBC’s liberal elite why the magazine recently ran a cover story featuring a pretty Afghan woman with her nose cut off by the Taliban. The article seemed to support the war in Afghanistan by its condemnation of brutal Taliban tactics. All was well now, Stengel assured us, his face resuming its fretting liberal mien.
Meanwhile, Michael Hasting’s newest writing will appear in “Men’s Journal” and is about refitted 70s attack helicopters used in Afghanistan and the people who fly them. All full of praise, Hastings unimpressively described the copters as “flying lawnmowers” with “little engines that could.” Yeah, Michael Hastings, thanks for the cliches!
On the other hand, I imagine I could mow lawns with one of those things-all the way down the block. Your block.