The age of the bad take: how the US liberal media plays to lose

The symbiosis between the media and the Democratic party establishment is a recipe for failure

The opening line in MSNBC host Brian Williams’s daily broadcasts has been exactly the same since January 20th, 2017: “Good evening once again, day 1,347 of this Trump administration, 37 days to go until our presidential election.” Like an inmate counting down each day of their imprisonment as well as the days until their liberation, the opening line serves to prime his audience into equating Trump’s four-year term in office into a prison sentence with no parole. Another one of MSNBC’s highly paid personalities, Rachel Maddow, spent the better part of 2017-19 offering the possibility of such a parole by her obsessive peddling of the Russian interference story that eventually led to Trump’s impeachment. Of course it was destined to fail, as by now it had become all but obvious that a Republican-held Senate would require Republicans to put their country’s interests ahead of that of their party and their president. Only one did so.

Fox News often gets the blame for exemplifying the kind of conservative media brainwashing that has proven so toxic in recent decades, leading to sycophantic levels of support for Trump as well as George W. Bush before him. But much less has been said about the role of the other two networks that form the US’s triumvirate of cable news: CNN and MSNBC. Just as Fox News is unabashedly conservative (notwithstanding its since removed “fair and balanced reporting” motto), CNN and MSNBC supposedly represent the “liberal” side of US politics. And just as the last four years has seen Fox News wage a campaign of apologism and denial over all of Trump’s misdeeds, CNN/MSNBC has basically turned into a 24-hour stream of Trump outrage. And by doing this, has largely turned a blind eye to the structural causes of why Trump won while blindly supporting a Democratic Party establishment that has no intention of addressing them. Continue reading