Skip to comments.Democratic Party Has an ‘MSNBC Problem’
Posted on 05/17/2018 10:43:12 AM PDT by ethom
Eager to move a message that focuses on things like minimum wage hikes and health care premiums, [Democrats] have been overtaken by a steady stream of stories of Russian meddling, porn star payoffs, and shady Trump-world figures. Ultimately, many offices and aides have come to the conclusion that they should simply give up on trying to break through on cable news at all.
Its impossible, said one Senate aide, unless you want to talk about Russia.
[N]umerous other aides echoed this point, sharing stories of fruitless calls and emails to bookers and abrupt cancellations on pre-existing bookings. Jessica Post, executive director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, said she was bumped three times from a prime-time MSNBC show due to Trump scandals.
It is not MSNBCs job to promote the Democratic Partys economic message. And the Mueller investigation is an important and fascinating story thats tailor-made for television news. It would not be realistic for Democrats to expect any for-profit media company to prioritize conveying its preferred political narratives over covering the most sensational events of the day.
And yet, Republicans do get that courtesy from the nations most-watched cable news channel. Fox News puts the GOPs messaging needs ahead of maximizing eyeballs: When big breaking news about the Mueller investigation reflects poorly on the Republican president, Fox lets its competitors own the days top story.
This puts Democrats at a profound structural disadvantage especially in the war for the hearts and minds of working-class white voters in the deindustrializing Midwest.
A significant percentage of such voters are cross-pressured: Their class identities and often, family history of union membership leave them receptive to Democratic messages that paint Republicans as the party of bosses and big business. But their regional and racial identities make them similarly receptive to the GOPs charge that Democrats as the party of condescending coastal snobs and mooching (largely nonwhite) layabouts.
Fox News promotes the latter narrative on a near-constant basis. By contrast, Rachel Maddow devotes more air time to Trump-Russia developments than to all other issues let alone to those most likely to raise the class-consciousness of Obama-to-Trump voters in Macomb County.
The benefits that this gives the GOP can be gleaned from both a recent focus group with Obama-to-Trump voters conducted by Democratic consultant Stan Greenberg, and a series of interviews with marginal Trump supporters in the Rust Belt published by the Washington Post last weekend. Both items demonstrate that a class-centered critique of the Republican agenda could help Democrats win a larger share of working-class whites (especially, female ones). But they also show that cable news is making it much harder for that message to get through. Fox News perpetually poisons the Democratic brand in the minds of many white working-class voters, while MSNBCs persistent focus on Trumps scandals and personal unfitness for office leaves other Obama-to-Trumpers feeling defensive, disrespected, or else, simply like they arent hearing a positive case for the Democratic Party.
As Greenberg observes in his writeup of the focus group:
A healthy diet of Fox News is feeding the white working class men fending off the challenges of Trumps opponents, including those within their own families They continue to appreciate how he speaks his mind, unlike a typical politician.
Trump voters complain that there is no respect for President Trump or for people like them who voted for him. One older white working class woman from Macomb recalled when she first started voting there was so much respect for the president. And I dont care what he did, or what he said, there was always respect. It was always Mr. President. And now, it disgusts me.
But this anger at the medias disrespect of Trump, as a president, is not matched by reverence for his signature legislative achievement, as a policy.
When it comes to the Trump voters, the tax cut is not the call to arms Trump and Republican congressional leaders hope it will be. The Trump voters are constantly looking for evidence that they cast the right vote, yet the tax cut barely came up when talking about good things about Trump.
Voters do not start the conversation about the tax cut with passionate views, but they end in a very different place with just a little information. Simply introducing a list of negative facts about the tax cut produced a powerful reaction among the African American, college graduate and younger white working class women. Many requested to take their copy home so they could use it to inform their neighbors and organize against it With this new information in hand, the anti-Trump voters were energized and ready for a fight and the white working class Obama-Trump women were demoralized, and several even peeled away from the president.
Similarly, multiple marginal Trump voters who spoke with the Post expressed a sense of alienation or grievance at the mainstream medias incessant coverage of Trumps gaffes and scandals but also, a fondness for organized labor and a belief that the economy is not organized to benefit working people.
Alas, no cable news network will ever be able to promote a progressive, working-class identity among its viewers the way that Fox News cultivates a reactionary, white one among its audience. It is quite easy for a cable network to hire news anchors who belong to the same race as white working-class voters, and who can give authentic-sounding voice to their racial and cultural resentments. But it is definitionally impossible for a cable news channel to feature anchors who belong to the same economic class as such Americans and financially inadvisable for such a network to cultivate their hatred of the one percent. Stoking populist rage at undocumented immigrants does not threaten the pecuniary interests of a major media companys owners; stoking populist rage at the economic elite does.
To be sure, MSNBC does engage in a bit of the latter, on occasion. And when The Ed Show was still on air, the network actually had a program ostensibly designed to appeal to the class identities of Rust Belt whites. But the channel has never focused on left-wing populist themes with the intensity and frequency that Fox News does on right-wing populist ones and, assuming some bizarro-world, socialist Rupert Murdoch doesnt buy the network and turn it into the Pravda of Bernie Sanderss political revolution, it never will.
Democrats recognize this reality. The party has given up on trying to get its message to voters over cable news, and begun encouraging its members to reach out to local outlets or to livestream their speeches and events over social media instead. Between these efforts, paid advertising, and retail campaigning, Democrats should be able to get their message to many of the voters theyd like to reach.
But the best way for Democrats to counter the rights cable news advantage especially, as it relates to white, Rust Belt voters may be to promote local organizations that provide working people with alternative, class-centric sources of information and political education
The Ed Show.
They hate us, the dumb and under educated deploreables, don’t they?
The Democrats are the Party Of Russia, Porn And Free Jobs.
Except the first two drown out the third.
Trying to distance themselves from the Russia story.
they don’t even mention the hari kari that CNN is doing to their shareholders..
and the liberals wonder why Trump’s polls keep on rising!
They have to be ejakaded the rite way.
it amuses me to no end that the liberals now cant even get booked on their own network
The problem for Democrats is NOT that they can not get their message out. The problem is everyone knows what their message is.
Open borders, higher taxes, abortion on demand, no religion in public square, homosexual rights above all others and so on.
Many Americans do not agree with those goals and it annoys them when they are demonized for not embracing the UTOPIAN view of the left.
For many President Trump is a hero and for others just the lesser of two evils. Either way the Democrats have their core supporters and don’t seem to be winning over the mushy middle.
The mid terms will be interesting
And Trump controls the ball on this as at any moment he is able to tweet something that will send them off the deep end.
Fox is just better at what they do! PERIOD
“It is not MSNBCs job to promote the Democratic Partys economic message.”
its CNN’s job to do that! (sarcasm button off)
or the attorney/ pimp Avanetti
You left out impeaching Trump.
There's a reason for that. Increasingly the public has realized that the Democrat Party's programs are all proven failures actually counter to personal freedom. Because of that, the Democrat Party's programs do not excite the public. They are not news.
Main stream media aligned with the Democrat Party, but I repeat myself, needs exciting stories to survive. So they turn to promoting bogus scandals. That practice actually has a silver lining for America. The public is increasingly becoming fed up with fake news. And it is noting which political party's media supporters are treating them as morons. In turn, that encourages an increasingly rational public to shift away from both the Democrat Party and the MSM.
"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time. But you can't fool all of the people all of the time." Both the Democrat Party and its MSM allies are now suffering the effects from drinking their own Kool-Aid.
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