This is News?
Mediaite’s Noah Rothman launches a barrage at MSNBC dayside with Now with Alex Wagner as his primary target…
The success of MSNBC’s prime time programming has, however, apparently begun to alter how the cable news network approaches their dayside programs. Where the 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET block was once devoted to what the network said was straight, unbiased news programming, it is now leaning further towards left-leaning commentary and analysis. The most self-evident example of the shift to point of view programming in MSNBC’s dayside is Alex Wagner’s panel program NOW.
On October 10 alone, Wagner opened her program with a monologue admonishing Mitt Romney for his flip flopping on abortion rights issues (although, as I noted in this post, she had to selectively edit a 2007 presidential debate featuring Romney in order to make that point). Her panel of four guests has recently become bereft of conservatives. Yesterday featured Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson, MSNBC host and Salon.com editor Steve Kornacki, The Grio editor Joy-Ann Reid and New York Times Magazine editor Hugo Lindgren. All the while, featuring chyrons like “Bird Brained” when discussing Mitt Romney’s promise to end federal subsidization of PBS programming or “Mitt-Go-Round” when describing Romney’s evolution on abortion. While Wagner’s panel is rarely bereft of Republican guests, they are almost always outnumbered.
While NOW may be even more partisan and ideological than it has been previously, Rothman’s post seems a wee bit out of place to me. The idea that MSNBC has dropped news and moved to POV analysis is not a recent development. Back in April I wrote about how this has been an ongoing change at the network since 2011. Rothman is correct that opinion creep is now infesting dayside but that’s not news. Using Now to argue that point is, on its face, a rather silly thing to do. Now has never been a news program. From its very inception Now has always been POV analysis. The same thing goes for The Cycle.
Let us be clear about this. MSNBC is not a news network anymore. It is a politics and POV analysis channel that covers a few meager news stories for a few minutes during a given hour…longer if there’s a big news cycle going on. Rarely does the network deviate from this format and even when it does it doesn’t for very long. This causes some major stories to go under reported…collateral damage as a result of the politics/POV analysis dominated format. Rothman is correct in noting the sheer number of dayside hosts that now do POV or POV analysis and gets extra credit from me for noting which talents have not yet succumbed to this practice despite the fact that they themselves aren’t really covering all big news stories anymore but a small subset of the news in a few soundbites and b-roll.
But, as I said earlier, this is old news. It’s the permanent paradigm. It’s not changing. So you can either keep railing on about it, shouting at higher and higher volumes as if that had any chance of making a difference. Or you can move on and, if you still tune in to cable news for news as I do, you look elsewhere to be informed.