Cable News Mob Wars: Clash of the Egos…

TVNewser’s Chris Ariens writes about a return of inter-network sniping in primetime…

It’s not new, but these back and forth shots do seem to be on the rise. And it’s clear why these networks produce these segments: to defend themselves, to go after their competitors and to play directly to the bifurcated cable news audience. Fox News viewers love to hate MSNBC, and MSNBC viewers can’t find much love for Fox.

I’m going to refine what Ariens wrote above. The rise can be traced mostly to two things.

1) Rush Limbaugh and the limited yet notable success pressure groups have gotten getting at him and his advertisers. It was all too obvious that once Rush got brought into the crosshairs by Liberals, Conservatives were going to do their part in this “mutually assured destruction” routine. It’s like a mob war. One guy gets hit and suddenly it’s time to go to the mattresses and everyone’s a potential target. And like your typical mob war things will stay this way for a while until everyone has racked up enough damage that things quiet down.

2) The 2012 Election season – With candidates running around politicizing everything and making lots of red meat statements to their bases, it’s only natural that the pundits are going to weigh in on those statements. Once the pundits weigh in, the ones that disagree are going weigh on on the disagreers. And it escalates and gets more heated. This too will die down once the election ends.

I have to completely disagree with Ariens that this is a “network produced” scenario, at least in that it’s coming in the form of a “top-down directive”. Top-down directives regarding network sniping tend to flow out of the network’s respective PR departments though not in all cases. But these spats are of the bottom-up variety and driven entirely by host ego and base pandering. Do you really think Phil Griffin and Roger Ailes spend their time figuring out how to get at Ed Schultz, Sean Hannity, Rachel Maddow, Bill O’Reilly, etc, etc..? No. This originates mostly at the show producer level in conjunction with the ego-maniacal show host posturing for their viewers. They are the ones who look to and want to do the damage, not the network heads who have bigger things to occupy their time with.

Certainly the networks have chosen to take a hands off approach and could step in if they chose too. That much was proven when when News Corp. and GE forced Bill O’Reilly and Keith Olbermann to stop fighting each other (until Brian Stelter revealed the deal and then the egos and posturing took over once again). So you could argue that the networks are complicit in this because they see how it benefits them to create this artificial world of hate and spite which normally wouldn’t exist in any self-respecting news organization.

Yes, it’s stupid and self-destructive. And we are ultimately to blame because we are enabling these clowns to do these things by tuning in and watching and subsequently blogging, tweeting, and emailing about it. You don’t like what’s going on? Look in the mirror. Then go out and do something about it other than watch these freak shows.

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7 Responses to “Cable News Mob Wars: Clash of the Egos…”

  1. I’m looking in the mirror. A happy old man I I see. And I don’t even have a snorkel.

  2. savefarris Says:

    If by “top-down”, you mean “coordinated with the White House”, then yes. The Limbaugh thing didn’t go into overdrive until Obama very publicly announced he had reached out to Ms. Fluke.

  3. That’s a different top-down scenario than the one I wrote about. Stay on topic…

  4. savefarris Says:

    I would respectfully argue that it is very much on the topic of “Why are the networks getting so chippy wth each other?”

    Early on, this White House went for the direct assault on FOX news. And it didn’t work. So now, they’ve wised up a little bit and are challenging them thru their allies at the other networks (and thru Media Matters and the like.) And since this administration is prone to pettiness and has an extremely thin-skin, so too do their surrogates.

    As for FOX, they’re simply responding in kind.

    Do you really think Phil Griffin and Roger Ailes spend their time figuring out how to get at Ed Schultz, Sean Hannity, Rachel Maddow, Bill O’Reilly, etc, etc..?

    In the case of Griffin: yes. yes I do. Otherwise, why hire Sharpton and Schultz? They’re not there for their journalistic bonafides: they’re there to rabble rouse.

  5. Here’s your daily grain of salt…

    “Egomaniacs of average intelligence or less often end up in the field of TV journalism.” — Tina Fey

    I often remind myself of this quote when watching cable news. Egomaniac attention-wh0res lashing out at one another?!?! Let me show you my shocked face… Ahhhhh!!!!

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