And here is why.
…you’ll never have a liberal equivalent to Fox News that has anything like the same level of success. Conservatives believe that the mainstream news is fundamentally corrupt and untrustworthy. They want a fully closed information ecosystem in which every piece of data they consume is filtered through the perspective of the conservative movement. Very, very few liberals want that. They want their liberal opinion, but they also want straight news, or at the very least news that isn’t overtly propagandistic like on Fox. MSNBC has slightly right-of-center programming in the morning with Joe Scarborough, straight news throughout the day, then liberal opinion at night.
Will that work? Sherman implicitly suggests it won’t. The beauty of Fox News is that the “straight” news seamlessly meshes with the straight opinion ranters. The daytime shows endlessly pump up the Black Panther intimidation story, and then the opinion hosts flog the story more. The whole product works together.
Gabe Sherman explains how.
Fox’s secret is that viewers stay. That’s because Fox’s rightward flanking maneuver, capturing a disenfranchised part of the audience, was only part of its strategy. The news, especially political news, wasn’t something that happened. It was something that you shaped out of the raw data, brought out of the clay of zhlubby, boring politics, reborn with heroes and villains, triumphs and reverses, never-ending story lines—what TV executives call “flow.” And the beauty of it was that the viewers—the voters—were the protagonists, victims of evil Kenyan socialist overlords, or rebels, coming to take the government back. There was none of the on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand relativity crossfire that mirrors the journalism-school ideal of objectivity. All the fire went one way. The viewers, on their couches, were flattered as the most important participants, the foot soldiers in Fox’s army; some of them even voted.
There never will be a Fox equivalent on the liberal side because most liberals would never tolerate being lied to on a daily basis. For all the criticism MSNBC gets from the right claiming it is no different than Fox, they’re wrong. Olbermann is not O’Reilly and Maddow is not Hannity. Not even close. You can disagree with the liberal views of Olbermann and Maddow, but you would be hard-pressed to call them liars. And when they do error, they readily admit it.
Can the same be said of O’Reilly, Hannity, Beck and the rest of the Fox crew – all chronic and documented liars of the first order?
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