We progressives have a great disdain for the corporate news media. We see it as a self-serving mouthpiece for the political establishment which treats its fourth estate responsibility – to inform the populace and hold the institutions of power accountable – with as much contempt as we feel towards it. However, we also – as civic-minded citizens – want to keep up with current events. Yes, we don’t need to watch television to get the news as there are plenty of other sources. Indeed, many of us don’t. Though, TV is convenient especially for older folks who spend a lot of time at home. We can watch the news while doing other stuff. Multitasking saves time.
But, you are no longer giving us substantive, comprehensive information about the world. Rather, you are pushing a manufactured “news” product that you hope will generate advertising revenue. It’s tailored to commercialism, not journalism. It appeals to corporate sensibilities, not the general public. Your content is increasingly superficial, trendy, and largely preoccupied with meaningless “horse-race” politics.
America’s progressives don’t care about the current state of the Democratic Party. We care deeply about our nation’s future which we see as existentially threatened, perhaps as severely as before the Civil War.
During the 2014 midterm election season, we noticed you began covering a series of single-issue stories 24/7 at the near exclusion of everything else. First, it was the mock “invasion” of child refugees from Central America. Next, it was the very real racial turmoil in Ferguson, Missouri. Then, it was the contrived ISIS “threat” of world domination. Finally, it was the patently absurd Ebola “crisis” which no one in my community – at least – was at all concerned about. After the election, these stories apparently and suddenly lost their significance.
These stories all had one thing in common, they incited fear in those white Americans having a predisposition against people of color. Right before the election, nothing could have been more fortuitous for Republicans.
While I’m not asserting that you reported these stories inaccurately, I am questioning the sheer amount of coverage devoted to them. In my opinion, that’s not dutiful reporting of the news, it is sensationalism at the very least and exploitation at worst.
Furthermore, we progressives have had quite enough of your parroting rhetorical conservative and liberal talking points. We are concerned with objective realities, empirical facts, and effective strategies to solve the worsening problems facing America and the world. Wealth inequality is becoming economically unsustainable. Political inequality is destroying democracy everywhere. Social inequality is creating dangerous institutional distrust and dividing the people culturally. These fundamental issues are what is important. You treat them as superfluous.
Undoubtedly, there are a host of extremely skilled journalists on your network who would likely relish the opportunity to perform their trade more independently. I don’t believe they have that opportunity at MSNBC or any other corporate news conglomerate. What a waste of talent.
From a former viewer,
Robert A. Vella
Further reading and related stories: