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Is MSNBC getting ready to become the next Fox News?
MSNBC, which has long been the laughingstock of the news media world, has also been in the process of changing its messaging. Almost without notice its been steadily shifting to the political right.
Now it’s making it official, with a new ad campaign that touts, “People might start accusing us of leaning too far to the right.”
Gone are former liberal hosts Ed Schultz, Touré, Krystal Ball, Joy Reid and Melissa Harris-Perry.
Al Sharpton’s “Politics Nation” has moved from a five-day weekday format to just once a week on Sunday mornings.
And Chris Matthews? He seems to have gotten the message. There’s no more tingle up his leg for President Obama.
Commentary on shows such as “Morning Joe” has been noticeably more critical of Democrats and Democratic candidates, while giving presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump more compliments and more air time.
At the same time, MSNBC brought in such middle-of-the-road talent such as Chuck Todd and Brian Williams.
In a piece headlined, “MSNBC’s year of standing up straight,” Politico’s Hadas Gold observed that MSNBC president Phil Griffin took stock of the network after its disastrous 2014 ratings, which hit a seven-year low.
“The defining elements of who we are is, giving real depth to the stories we’re covering,” Griffin said in early May, believing that the 2014’s ratings nightmare had passed.
“We’ve got some other plans we’re going to do, but they’re not based on following a single plane crash for three months,” he added, in an obvious dig at CNN.
In what is perhaps the network’s most overt symbol of the new tone, however, is another ad that will run in some conservative and mainstream outlets. The ad features some of MSNBC’s conservative and Republican contributors — like radio host Hugh Hewitt, GOP consultant Steve Schmidt and former RNC chairman Michael Steele — with a cheeky message: “People might start accusing us of leaning too far to the right.”
Griffin cast the rebranding as just one more stage in MSNBC’s “evolution.”
Griffin then noted that a network anniversary is fast approaching — what better time to announce change.
“MSNBC will turn 20 this year on July 15,” he said. “There have been so many evolutions, and look if you don’t evolve, in any medium, you’re going to lose. So I think we’ve been in a process of evolution and I feel very good about what we’re doing.”
But with much of the network’s recent success attributed to Trump-friendly coverage, it could be too late after all. Trump tweeted this about MSNBC’s popular morning show just this morning:
I don't watch or do @Morning_Joe anymore. Small audience, low ratings! I hear Mika has gone wild with hate. Joe is Joe. They lost their way!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2016
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