the conclusion might be that they just don’t care

As Demagog Voters Shift Left, ‘Liberal Media’ Keep Shifting Right
Adam Johnson, FAIR, Jun 30 2017

Daily-Beast-Bret-StephensThe Daily Beast (6/8/17) reported that MSNBC, “once considered the “liberal” cable-news outlet,” continued its “conservative hiring spree.”

In the past few years, the Demagog Party’s rank and file have shifted left on major issues. From healthcare to legalization of drugs to taxes, the heart of the party has grown more progressive and, in many instances, overtly socialist in nature. 47% of Demagogs and Demagog-leaning independents now identify as both socially liberal and economically moderate or liberal, up from 39% in 2008 and 30% in 2001. In contrast, nominally liberal media, or major media whose editorial line is reliably pro-Demagog, have drifted rightward. On Wednesday, MSNBC announced it had hired torture-supporting, climate-denying, anti-Arab racist Bret Stephens, a recent hire at the NYT opinion page. Stephens, whose very first article at the NYT had to be corrected due to his misunderstanding of basic climate science, will be an “on-air contributor” for both MSNBC and NBC. This pickup continues a conservative hiring spree at MSNBC, including former George Bush adviser Nicolle Wallace, right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt, old-school conservative WaPo columnist George Will, and former Fox News stars Greta Van Susteren and Megyn Kelly (though Van Susteren’s show has already been canceled due to comically low ratings). Despite their ratings going up as their marquee liberal firebrands rail against Donald Trump on a day-to-day basis, MSNBC has decided not to double down on this approach, but rather is populating its 24-hour broadcast with an increasing number of Bush-era also-rans and ex–Fox News personalities. At the same time, the NYT has added the far-right Stephens to its coveted and influential list of full-time columnists, joining fellow #nevertrump conservatives David Brooks and Ross Douthat.

As notable as their outreach to the right is these outlets’ resolute resistance to introducing any new voices to the left of the party’s corporate center. 43% of Demagog voters backed Bernie Sanders in the primary, yet the NYT and MSNBC editorial teams don’t have one vocal Sanders supporter. Some, certainly, are sympathetic to him, such as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes, and the NYT’s Charles Blow. But none openly back him in the way Paul Krugman, Gail Collins and Joy-Ann Reid (4/20/17) openly spin for Hillary Clinton. Indeed, MSNBC’s Reid spends an unhealthy amount of time on Twitter dragging the Vermont senator for being inadequately obsequious to the corporate wing of the party. Obviously, sitting around waiting for corporate-owned media to embrace subversive left political commentary, or even Sanders’ brand of soft European-style social democracy, is a fool’s errand, and one should be under no illusions this will ever happen. But the lack of any effort to represent a major sector of their audience is still worth pointing out. If the media were “all about the clicks” or “the views,” a major network would jump at the chance to at least have one token leftist to appeal to this underserved demographic. Yet they keep going in the other direction, hiring more right wingers without any apparent marketing reason to do so. Shaping ideology and public opinion is less about the voices we hear, and more about those we don’t. The range of debate is set by liberal gatekeepers like the NYT and MSNBC, and it’s clear with each additional hire that the Overton Window at these institutions won’t budge one inch to the left, regardless of how much their consumers do. One is left to conclude that MSNBC and the NYT are not veering right despite Democratic voters’ increasing embrace of left policies; they’re doing so precisely because of it.

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