The MSNBC reporter struggled to come up with a reason, seemingly oblivious to the obvious: MSNBC and Fox News both started in 1996.
For years, MSNBC in prime time was geared toward bashing Fox News as an arm of the GOP, its reporters as boobs, and its viewers as uneducated and uninformed. It took Donald Trump’s insults for MSNBC reporters to actually refer to Fox’s Megyn Kelly as a journalist.
At the same time, Fox News blasted MSNBC as an elitist, socialist, politically correct tool of the far left.
Each network’s non-prime-time “newscasts” have anchors who (with few exceptions), barely hide the fact that they are just as biased as their prime-time, opinion-show counterparts. The vitriol and hatred spewed by Fox News toward Barack Obama and the Clintons has only been matched by the vitriol and hatred previously spewed by MSNBC toward George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
MSNBC and Fox News viewers are presented with opposite realities on a daily basis — alternate universes, if you will. Pretend-news websites, such as The Huffington Post on the left and Breitbart News on the right (or alt-right), are often even more extreme. The problem is, a lot of people see them not just as legitimate sources of news, but often as their only source of news. No wonder the two parties and their constituents dislike one another more than ever. Rather than seeking real, objective, fact-based news (was there ever such a thing?), many only look for media that validate their own biases.
Donald Trump is presented in the MSNBC/Huffington Post world as a racist, fraudulent businessman, a con artist. This gives their audience permission to hate him and his supporters. After all, racists, and business frauds are groups it is still very acceptable to publicly hate.
When Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, she had an approval rating of roughly 70% — around 50% among Republicans — and the Clinton Foundation was widely hailed as a force for good around the world. As soon as she started running for President, Fox News and conservative Web sites started labeling both her and the foundation as secretive, lying, corrupt criminal enterprises — giving their audience permission to hate her and her supporters (lying, corrupt criminals are also OK to publicly hate).
CNN, on the other hand, pretends to be neutral, but it’s really just afraid to offend anyone or call anyone out for lying. The network mistake false equivalency with fairness.
No matter how absurd one side of any given discussion is, CNN will give them equal time to make their point, often normalizing some crazy views. If CNN put on a well-known astronomer to explain how scientists discovered the earth was not flat, the anchor would say, “Just to be fair, we found this guy who thinks the world is flat.” Then they would give him an equal amount of time to make his ridiculous point. The banner on the bottom of the screen would likely read, “The debate rages on as to whether the earth is flat.” CNN does not seem to understand that every issue does not have two equally valid sides.
Here’s an experiment: No matter your political leaning, try switching back and forth between MSNBC and Fox News for an hour or so. If your head doesn’t explode, you’ll be shocked at the two different versions of reality presented. Just check each network’s post-debate coverage, for example.
But you’ll start to understand why the country is so divided. Or, you can just watch CNN for a similar effect.
If you want real news, try Reuters, PBS, or BBC (not perfect, but beacons of objectivity when compared to cable news).