I stopped watching MSNBC's Liberal-leaning evening shows (Sharpton, Ed, Rachel, Lawrence, etc.) a couple of months ago. I also cut down my listening of so-called progressive radio shows by what I estimate to be 90% or so. Sometimes I listen to Norman Goldman, or Mike Malloy, but rarely so.
You see, what happened is that at one point I realized that these stations being owned by what I consider to be neo-Fascist corporate media conglomerates, of course they were being used as propaganda, and what they were doing was even more insidious that the outright, in-your-face propaganda you get from FoxNoise.
Yes, once in a while Rachel exposes important stuff with reports on ALEC, or that bat-shit crazy "Church" house used by congressmen in Washington, D.C., or the Koch brothers. But the overall format of their programming is extremely formulaic, and I would argue, damaging to the intellectual growth of the progressive movement (such as it is).
When I was torturing my mind, back then, and I watched the main shows (Ed, Rachel, Lawrence) back-to-back, all three were basically talking about the same things. An almost cult-like obsession with everything Republican, with their politicians, with their extremism, with their stupidity. They made fun of them (and the right wing miscreants in general); they analysed them; they quoted them.
I noticed the same with most of the so-called progressive radio programming. And then I went, "a-hah; I get it now!" This is all about tribalism, about teams, about us vs. them, but focusing on sensationalism, on prurient stuff. What is the end result of it all? The weakened, trembling, and demoralized remnants of progressives are manipulated into focusing on utter bullshit reporting of mostly sensational, scandalous, or unimportant stuff about the right wing nut-jobs.
It feels good; it makes you feel intellectually superior to the neanderthal-like right-wingers. And even though the programming is different than the utterly fascistic propaganda crap that emanates from FoxNoise, since, after all, progressives are indeed smarter than the average conservative, the effect is very similar: The corporatist-led manipulation of the progressive audience.
I do think progressives are smart, so I'll save some space by skipping the narrative about how that valuable air time could be used, if we have a true free media.
Suffice it to say, at least for this media consumer, since I basically stopped watching that type of TV (in favor of more brainy stuff, like Bill Moyers and similar programs), and started reading more, from different sources, I actually think I'm much better informed. In addition, I did notice the difference in not being exposed to emotionally-charged manipulative programming. It's like not being exposed to "mental pollution."
Yes, I get it... You have to worry about ratings; you have to keep things interesting and appealing, and given the degradation of the intellect of the viewing public, sensationalism may have to be part of the equation. But even with those "market demands" these media outlets could do much better in truly informing the audience.
And for any person out there associated with these TV programs, who may take umbrage at my assertions here, feel free to contact me and I'll be glad to give you plenty of feedback and suggestions...
The other day, after about three months without watching one single minute of those programs, I decided to take a peek and see if anything had changed... It took me about five minutes before I turned off the TV!