Floyd & Mary Beth Brow
You won’t hear executives at MSNBC chanting “yes we can.” The network that they cobbled together as a TV version of the left-wing screed Air America is in the ratings dumper. Advertising dollars that have never been easy are getting thinner.
Since the inauguration of Barack Obama, Bill O’Reilly and the Fox News Channel have owned prime time. One night last week, for example, O’Reilly scored 3.5 million views compared to Olbermann’s 1.4 million. Keith Olbermann may need to go back to sports. MSNBC is in big trouble without Bush to bash. Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and even Chris Matthews have filled their shows with nothing but anti-Bush hysteria for the last year. Now that their punching bag-in-chief has left Washington, they are lost.
Bush hating came naturally for MSNBC; their commentators lampooned “Dubya” at every opportunity. In addition to attacking Bush, they enjoyed trumpeting bad news with the hopes that it would make President Bush look bad.
After Bush’s farewell address, Matthews came on the air and bashed Bush as a stupid buffoon who hung out with jocks, and proceeded to laugh at the notion that he reads books. This from the same Chris Matthews who said he “got a feeling running up his leg while listening to Barack” and also said it was “his job to make sure this presidency (the Obama presidency) works.” More people tuned into his diatribes that mocked the Bush presidency than the few who tune into his rants supporting Barack Obama.
Another commentator who loves to hate Bush, liberal activist Rachel Maddow, said on her show following the farewell address, “this is the start of the part where we don’t have President Bush to kick around anymore… there can be no promise that we won’t be compelled to try to keep on with the kicking around.” She spoke with the caption, “goodbye and good riddance,” situated behind her. She then proceeded to kick Bush around for ten minutes straight, blaming him for everything from Katrina, 9/11, the existence of Hamas, the recession, and “two worthless wars”. She had practically filled her show with anti-Bush rants and guests. After January 20, she has struggled to find new material.
But we give her credit for attacking Obama, albeit from the left. She is a critic of the reluctance of the Obama administration to prosecute President Bush and Vice President Cheney and other officials for so-called “war crimes” related to interrogation tactics used on terrorists. She is giving relentless coverage to left-wingers’ calls for a Soviet-style inquisition.
Media bias is not something unique to MSNBC, they just take it to a whole new level. As the balance of the left-stream media gushes over how much Obama works out, the same media complained about Bush’s “weird obsession” with exercise. While they went gaga for Obama’s inauguration, the same correspondents complained about how much Bush spent on his more modest 2004 event. While the media were slamming Sarah Palin, they ignored Barack’s propensity for gaffes including “57 states” and Afghani-Iraqi translators. While the media drilled Republicans for a “culture of corruption,” they give Eric Holder, Tim Geithner, Bill Richardson, and Hilda Solis a free pass, saying they made honest mistakes.
MSNBC could look on the Obama administration with an eye of skepticism and provide needed details about his Cabinet picks and their corrupt and shady dealings. They could help Obama succeed by acting as a watchdog to keep him from going astray; instead they seemed poised to help him “succeed” by acting as his lapdog and propaganda office.
If MSNBC and the rest of the left-stream media continue to attack George Bush and the Republicans, even though neither are in control of anything, their attacks will sound even more insipid. Partisan propaganda is putting the media on the path to irrelevance. They could start a renaissance by serving as a less biased source that reports what is actually occurring. Just check out how many times ABC’s Jake Tapper was viewed on Youtube for challenging Robert Gibbs on administration ethics.
Americans are not stupid; they know FOXNEWS is more balanced. O’Reilly talks to Susan Estrich, Al Sharpton and other leftists brave enough to face him. We searched for similar balance on MSNBC and find none.
MSNBC could drastically improve their ratings performance by exposing all of the pork in the stimulus bill, the negative side-effects of increasing healthcare, environmental regulation and big-city political machine corruption. MSNBC could continue rebuilding legitimacy by exposing the corruption of labor unions. MSNBC hosts love to bash big business, fine, but why not hold big labor accountable and shine some light in their direction. Just a clear and simple examination of how Obama’s stimulus-policy money will be spent would increase their credibility.
Being students of the media, we won’t hold our breath. We suppose they will continue attacking Bush and praising Obama, until their viewers are all gone. NBC executives are doing the shareholders of General Electric a disservice if they don’t start changing this programming to secure a larger audience.
Photo credit: methodshop.com (Creative Commons)