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MSNBC Sounding A Little FOXesque

I noticed something strange (and subtle) on MSNBC last week. Something reminiscent of FOX News. I may be jumping the gun in being an alarmist, but I believe these things are important to point out and watch closely.

I heard both Maddow and Olbermann refer to Eric Cantor as the speaker of the house last week. This was odd since his taking over as leader of republicans in the house is far from a foregone conclusion. He did announce his intention to run for the position but as far as I know, Boehner isn’t voluntarily stepping down. Cantor just announced his intention to go after the position of speaker last Wednesday, so there’s no chance of having inside information on how the vote is going to come out this early in the game.

This may seem innocuous at first glance, but two commentators on the same network making the same statement is not a coincidence. Are they both just making an assumption? Or are they attempting to create a well crafted narrative a la Fox?

There has been a back and forth lately between MSNBC (and the “professional left”) and Jon Stewart over the Rally To Restore Sanity that Stewart and Stephen Colbert held in DC two weeks ago. Left leaning pundits are upset that Stewart seemed to imply an equivocation between the angry left and the loony right. Olbermann (among others) took exception to that equivocation by asserting that Fox just flat out makes shit up while MSNBC “enthusiastically” comments on reality based issues. Bill Maher threw his two cents in on Friday. You can watch it here.

I mostly agree with Olbermann and Maher. There is a big difference between expressing outrage over something that is happening and making shit up in order to manufacture outrage. When Countdown is on, the only thing that Olbermann makes up is his opinion of the topic he’s discussing. When anyone at Fox News is on, they make up insane bullshit like…oh, let me see if I can come up with something…oh, got it…The president is going to India and he’s taking one tenth of our navy and 200 million dollars (a day) with him. There is a very clear difference between the two sides.

I wandered off into bringing all of that up because I don’t believe that Fox started off with “death panel” and “34 navy ship” whoppers. I believe they started small by creating seemingly innocuous narratives. When those stuck, they began to snowball until they managed to create an alternate reality for their viewers.

This “Speaker Cantor” thing on MSNBC isn’t nothing. It feels like the start of something. At the very least, it’s worth watching MSNBC with a slightly more critical eye.

I would hate for MSNBC to turn into Fox’s counterpart. And I would hate to watch the creation of a “loony left”, worked up by false narratives fed to them by people that were once trustworthy.

Your credibility is on the line here, MSNBC. Please don’t go down this bad road.


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