George F. Will is the latest MSNBC hire that seems just a bit out of place. After all, Mr. Will has spent his career railing against most of the policies that MSNBC seemed to uphold during the past 8 years.
However, ever since Greta Van Susteren opened the door with a successful program a few months back, MSNBC, the Washington Post and even the New York Times are all giving out talking space to career conservatives like it is going out of style.
Megyn Kelly has been perhaps the largest beneficiary of this shift in policy. MSNBC not only gave her a show, but also room to maneuver about in the highest circles of the network. She recently joined Matt Lauer on the Today Show, with gossip rags speculating that Matt may actually be feeling some pressure from the high profile move.
Other pundits that are getting shows include conservative radio jock Hugh Hewitt and former GWB advisor Nicolle Wallace. One might assume that because the Trump administration has blasted left-wing media, liberals have been suffering and are looking for a new direction. Quite the contrary.
MSNBC recently beat CNN in prime time, the New York Times is getting more subscribers than in the past few years, and the Washington Post is enjoying higher web traffic than it was during the final years of the Obama administration.
As a matter of fact, the Times upset many of its hardcore liberal subscribers by hiring Bret Stephens to write a column that was critical of clean energy policies and climate science. So what is the deal?
The Awakening of the Working Class
Whether the news industry likes Trump or not, all of them have to admit that he woke up a sleeping giant in the silent middle American working class. In general, this is the overly white, blue collar population that is too young to watch Fox, whose median age is in the 60s.
This new working class, normally content to let major politics slide by without much of a commercial voice, came out for Trump in droves in the flyover states that coastal publications like MSNBC, the Post and the Times, well…flew over.
Currently, young conservatives run the yard in terms of fresh, new viewership, and they have more overlap than you might initially think. Many of them are quite comfortable watching centrist CNN or even MSNBC as a leftist outlet. You can point to social media as the onus for the more open minded conservatism – it is much more difficult to block out a diverse set of opinions on Facebook than it is on a cable news network.
Liberal networks have caught wind of this overlap, and they are doing their best to step out in front of the trend by showing a viewpoint that these young conservatives will consider credible.
Preparing for the Next Generation
Every network is in the business of future-proofing itself, and the old school media is no exception. As a matter of fact, they have the most reason to try to stay ahead of the curve even in the face of positive results.
Seemingly every online report is detailing the death of “traditional media”, hearkening the mainstreaming of first person online channels that will f take the final breath from gasping television and radio stations. This hasn’t happened yet, and it likely won’t for quite some time, especially since the most forward thinking of traditional outlets have already infiltrated the online space. The online versions of mainstream brands actually top popularity listings.
The next generation of news watchers will be consuming news online, and the CNNs and MSNBCs of the world have the money to ensure that they will always have the lion’s share of promotion in any space they choose to inhabit. As long as the slant that it gives is not too ideologically blind, even the most liberal news outlet has a chance to earn the eyeballs of a young conservative.
Conservative news stations have always destroyed liberal outlets in overall ratings, and liberal outlets may just be looking for a bigger slice of the pie. Fox beats MSNBC consistently in all time slots, and is the number one watched cable channel for news, bar none.
Forget about politics in total – getting some of that expertise on the other side is worth its weight in gold, even if the short term results are not as lucrative.
~ Conservative Zone