By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
We have often noted how NBC, and its cable-news sister network MSNBC, form a virtual arm of the Democratic Party. Now, with the creation of their new “Growing Hope” website, MSNBC has abandoned all pretense of being an actual news network, and has completely joined forces with the Democratic Party. The site operates as a Democrat voter haven, full of positive messages that tout the value of belonging to the Left and decry the faults of being a conservative. Some of these messages are quite explicit.
Lean Forward, an MSNBC motto developed in 2010, morphed into a campaign theme President Obama adopted in his 2012 campaign, and has come to mean, Vote Democratic.
The opening line on the website is, “Growing Hope is MSNBC’s invitation to Americans to share their hopes for change around issues that impact our communities.” It is something the network has taken on the road to various universities, inviting students and others to “engage with the brand and share their hopes for change around issues that impact their communities.” It sounds innocuous enough.
Instead of being a news network, however, NBC, through MSNBC, has transformed itself into part of President Obama’s Organizing for Action, the successor organization to Obama for America and, prior to that, Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. With this new website, MSNBC takes positions on almost every issue, and in seemingly every case, they side with the Democrats, and take shots at Republicans. And as the 2014 mid-term elections near, this partisanship will only get worse.
For example, a visitor to the May 14 web page for Democrats is greeted with the headlines “Bill Clinton stars in new TV ad” and the photo essay “The agenda setters: Senate Democrats.” Clearly, Democrats are the types to “Lean Forward.”
A trip to the Republican MSNBC web page, however, reveals the deep-seated disgust that this news organization has for this party. “The great GOP #fail on women,” assails readers as the headline piece, with the photo essay “GOP tries not to rock the boat at CPAC.” On the sidebar is the story, “Immigration remains ‘nuclear bomb’ for GOP.” MSNBC is trying to drive home the message that, demographically, the GOP can’t win over minorities such Hispanics, or reach out to women.
“And therein lies the problem for the GOP, which has struggled to recruit and elect Republican women for decades,” states the headline story on Republican women. “No women are polling in the top 10 for potential Republican presidential candidates two years after the party identified outreach to women as a weakness.” Is it a coincidence that the Democratic frontrunner is herself a woman?
The source for the piece, a post-doctoral fellow at Duke University, Danielle Thomsen, theorizes that this gender disparity is because the GOP doesn’t want moderate female candidates, they only want conservative ones. “Here are a few graphs to illustrate how ideological extremism in Congress, and particularly in the Republican Party, has influenced the types of state legislators who run for Congress,” states Thomsen on her website. “…because Republican women have historically been to the ideological left of their male counterparts, I suggest that the rightward shift of the GOP has had a disproportionate effect on Republican women,” she writes.
In other words, she argues that the GOP is losing women because it is too conservative. This is an apropos topic for a leftist website looking to instill confidence in its progressive readers.
“As a result, Republican women who do end up running are far more conservative than women candidates were 20 years ago,” writes Jane C. Timm for MSNBC. Timm makes sure to include Todd Akin’s inflammatory abortion comments in the story.
The MSNBC website also has a feature on “Key Senate Democrats to watch.” It offered balance by creating an adjoining page for Republicans. The balance ends there. Predictably, the website authors describe Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) as a “key player on any efforts to revive immigration and gun reform measures,” but note that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) may not be willing to “compromise” on budget and fiscal issues because he is has a primary challenge by a Tea Partier. Again, MSNBC is taking a position on issues: immigration and gun reform causes are good, fiscal austerity is bad.
Where is the news? There is only opinion here. At this point, MSNBC should openly recast itself as a progressive blog like The Huffington Post.
The issue advocacy by MSNBC becomes even more clear in a piece that Ned Reskinoff wrote on climate change, in which he states, “Billions of pounds of food go uneaten each year, even as increasingly harsh food stamp cuts make it more difficult for food insecure populations to buy any of it.”
“Now, a growing body of evidence suggests that climate change could make the situation even more unstable,” he continues. There’s always another reason for MSNBC to bring the “theory” of climate change into the public eye. Not surprisingly, they include “Green” as one of their topic categories.
As the elections near, MSNBC will begin to look much more like an infomercial for the Democratic Party as they predictably cast Republicans as “bad,” and Democrats as “good.” Voters should look elsewhere for their information. The news organization’s “Lean Forward” motto presupposes its own corollary: “Vote Democrat.”