Poll: Among cable-news networks, MSNBC trusted by … 12%

In an otherwise serious poll from Politico and George Washington University, the survey also asks respondents which cable-news network they access most for political news.  The results aren’t terribly surprising, as they more or less mirror the ratings, but are still noteworthy for one network’s almost-total marginalization.  While Fox News Channel sailed to an impressive 42% and CNN got a substantial if unimpressive 30%, MSNBC got …

More people are getting their news about the upcoming election from cable television than any other source, and from Fox News more than any other cable channel, according to a POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Poll released Monday.

The poll found that 81 percent of those polled get their news about the midterm elections from cable channels, like Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, or their websites, compared with 71 percent from national network news channels, such as ABC, NBC or CBS, and their websites.

Among cable news channels, Fox was the clear winner, with 42 percent of respondents saying it is their main source, compared with 30 percent who cited CNN and 12 percent who rely on MSNBC.

How did it get to this state?  After all, NBC had a long history in television news, starting decades before CNN and even longer than Fox.  Its partnership with Microsoft should have given the cable news network a distinct advantage in the New Media world.  Their roster of news anchors, present and future, should have immediately challenged CNN for primacy and marginalized Fox, who may have had cash but relatively fewer newsgathering resources in the US when it launched.

Under the direction of GE’s Jeff Immelt, though, NBC’s cable network went for the full-insane demographic.  Fox took CNN’s talking-head format and simply reversed the bias, although Fox rightly argues that it presents more opposing viewpoints than CNN did as part of their establishment talent and not just occasional guests and party spinmeisters.  NBC decided to emulate Air America with its cable lineup instead, perhaps seeing some opportunity in the last Bush term to capitalize on his unpopularity and become a center of opposition opinion.

Rather than accomplish that, the decision by NBC and its parent GE has not just destroyed MSNBC’s credibility but also NBC’s as well.  With the exception of Joe Scarborough, who is hard to pigeonhole but certainly isn’t a hard-Left hysteric, the entire lineup is exactly what one would find on the failed libtalker radio network.  It’s no coincidence that two of its featured hosts come straight out of Air America, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz.  Maddow has, at least, produced a watchable show, albeit with a hard-Left tilt that clearly is out of touch with the mainstream, but Schultz is barely coherent.  Top that off with a daily “news” broadcast from Keith Olbermann that almost literally consists of a Two Minute Hate (Olbermann’s WPIW lists), and it’s a recipe for the kind of disaster that only political hacks could love.  The wonder is that GE and NBC apparently seem content to alienate 88% of the viewing audience with its trainwreck theater.

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David Strom 9:21 PM on March 24, 2023