Some insightful analysis of MSNBC and the culture it caters to:
The problem was that the old Hardball with Chris Matthews was the same problem with the old MSNBC. It had no identity and low ratings. That changed with Keith Olbermann. Olbermann’s combination of liberal anger and smug self-righteousness gave MSBBC an identity as the network for liberal self-congratulation. That didn’t mean news and analysis produced by mostly liberal journalists who were trying, even with all their biases, to tell the story straight (most of the time). The old networks and CNN were already doing that. MSNBC found a business model appealing to that sliver of the left that wanted to spend its evenings being told how today’s conservative was the “worst person in the world”.
Let’s be very honest about it. MSNBC caters to probably the most hateful, unintelligent, mean-spirited, and closed minded of the American left. The smugness and arrogance of the blathering idiots are perhaps only punctuated by the occasional bright light offered by Rachel Maddow, but beyond this are nothing but the vapid darkness of a fanatic who won’t change their mind and rarely changes the subject.
…but it’s the hate that irks the mind of non-political and conservatives viewers. I mean, they really do hate us. It’s the perfect caricature of what liberals think Fox News must be.
Of course, the folks swirling in the MSNBC punch bowl (it is a punch bowl, right?) aren’t really original. They’re caricatures of the man who knew it was a game all along — Keith Olbermann.
Olbermann was an entertaining performer and he was probably blinkered enough that he believed most of the stuff he said about conservatives. Matthews is a wised-up political operator. He knows better. While Olbermann had better comic timing, more creativity and more genuine off-his-meds rage, it is Matthews that is still on MSNBC. Olbermann was a difficult employee and MSNBC became another place that he left on bad terms, but Olbermann left behind a cable channel made in his image. Matthews is still doing his Olbermann-influenced act (even if it is humorless and the hostility is forced). Matthews knows it is his job to feed his audience’s hate without crossing his corporate bosses – and so Chris Matthews still has a job in the House That Olbermann Built.
Of course, Charlie Cook over at NRO has perhaps the most convicting lines of the rap sheet against MSNBC and their troop of useful idiots:
To watch MSNBC for an afternoon is not so much to be given a slanted account of what is happening here in America, but instead to witness a series of discussions about current events in parallel America II — a rather silly place in which the political center of gravity and all things Good are defined by the preferences of the faculty at Berkeley and the comments section of the Daily Kosand in which anyone who dissents from this position is believed to possess two heads, a black heart, and a pocket copy of Mein Kampf.
Conservatives… is this not the experience you have felt from progressives? Is this not how middle America is portrayed? Clinging to guns and religion?
The greater question is whether or not American public discourse deserves better. Even more than that, where would we even find this sort of intellectual give-and-take on the mainstream left nowadays when everything outside of the pale of acceptable nee leftist opinion is considered either reactionary or borderline fascism?
Look around the Virginia blogosphere. Where is the left-wing equivalent of Bearing Drift? It doesn’t exist… you don’t find it.
Meanwhile, we continue to slouch and earn the government we deserve, filling our stomachs with junk food and our brains with junk news, and demand that we must have 100% agreement or else become hostes humanis generis worthy of the fate Olbermann and others have decreed for all evil non-conforming fascist libertarian Christianist corporatist Nazi jack-booted police state racist anarchist women-hating Rethugs.
Does it get old?