Rachel Maddow – Tribal Punditry

My second link to Bob.  This is the introductory piece to what promises to be a multi-day analysis of a single segment hosted by Rachel Maddow on her show last week.  I recommend you follow it along with me.

I will let Bob’s analysis speak for itself but let me make a couple of points as an introduction to this criticism of Maddow.  Many of my friends might blanch at my unflattering view of Maddow.  As far as liberals on TV go, I believe she is the most widely watched and she has been packaged by MSNBC and liberal promoters as the Queen of Integrity.  It will not be easy for some of my friends to accept any other image.

I believe that MSNBC made a business decision, most likely starting with the success of Keith Olbermann’s rants on Countdown, to cater to a niche market consisting of people who were angry about Bush policies and angry at Fox News.  Their business model is what I like to call Tribal News.  It draws upon some of the strengths of the Fox News programming but flips it to cater to MSNBC’s targeted niche market.

The Tribal News business model has two mutually reinforcing goals:

  1. Flatter the audience – as often as possible, make your audience feel clever, tuned-in, hip, in on the joke, morally superior, high-minded, better informed, and an integral part of a progressive tide in history.
  2. Paint the opposition as The Other – as often as possible, make those other guys look stupid, dishonest, bigoted, unethical, corrupt, weird, hypocritical, sexist, out-of-touch, without humor, elitist, and part of a fascist-leaning political movement that only survives by hoodwinking all of its supporters, who are all either ignorant, rich, or racist.

Rachel Maddow is MSNBC’s star performer.  Her talent at accomplishing those goals is bar none the closest thing liberals have to a Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity.

I’ll get into what’s wrong with that approach in later posts and why it ultimately harms liberal interests to play that sort of game.  For now, just go over there to Bob’s website and read his first installment.


Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: