Can We Blame The Internet For Political Polarization?


It seems logical to blame the internet for our growing political polarization. Some blame “fake news” shared on Twitter and Facebook for the outcome of the 2016 election. And we know tens of millions of Americans get their news from social media.

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MSNBC Super Tuesday Coverage Unexpectedly Terminated

I’ll admit, I’m a night owl, so yes, I was still up shortly before 1:30am on the Wednesday after Super Tuesday when MSNBC decided to abruptly pull the plug on its live Super Tuesday coverage. Okay, I admit, I’m still up writing this damn article. So, MSNBC had their usual coverage team this election season with Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow at the helm. They were on the air all night, announcing poll closures and projected winners. I thought for sure they would end their live coverage at 1AM, which is when I planned to go to bed. But, shock and surprise, they continued their live coverage beyond 1am Eastern. So, being the fool that I am, I stayed up to continue watching. Then at around 1:20ish Brian Williams dispatched us to a commercial break, and when coverage returned, the graphic on the bottom right changed from “Live” to “Earlier,” but otherwise no mention of the end of live coverage. Would it have been so hard for MSNBC to announce that they were ending their live Super Tuesday coverage for the night? I mean, why not just end it at 1AM? Now, this would be totally bizarre, except here’s one small problem, they’ve done this before. If MSNBC is trying to compete with other cable news networks, maybe they need to try to show less contempt for their audience. I mean seriously, as if we wouldn’t notice?

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MSNBC’s New Lean Forward-Less Graphics Package

If you haven’t yet noticed, MSNBC made a major change to their graphics package starting this past weekend. I first noticed it on Up with Steve Kornacki on Saturday 8/15. The revamped graphics package appears to be in use across all live programming on MSNBC. Gone is the show and network branding at the top of the screen. “Lean Forward” is not to be found anywhere. Did they officially retire that slogan? It appears there are no graphics at the top of the screen during shows with the exception of split-screen segments. Also notable, is that show branding is kept to a minimum, only seen for about a second in the lower right corner of the screen at the start of a show and when returning from commercials. That area then morphs into the new MSNBC logo which has returned to all capital letters (the logo had been all lowercase since 2009).

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Chris Christie Administration Says MSNBC Is A Partisan Network: True

New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie is in the middle of two scandals, the bridge lane closing, and use of Hurricane Sandy relief funds for tourism advertisements (where Christie himself was prominently featured while running for re-election). Yesterday MSNBC’s Up with Steve Kornacki broke the news of a third scandal. Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer says the Christie administration has withheld Sandy relief funds because she did not give her approval to a redevelopment plan in the city.

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Ed Schultz Out, Chris Hayes In At 8pm On MSNBC

Chris Hayes - MSNBCLast night Ed Schultz announced he was moving his show to weekends starting in April. It was not a total shock because there was speculation of an 8pm change on MSNBC that included the possibility of Ezra Klein getting the high profile spot. But in a somewhat surprise announcement, MSNBC says Chris Hayes will take over the 8pm time slot up against Bill O’Reilly on Fox News and Anderson Cooper on CNN.

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Current TV Struggles To Find Ratings, Could Be Dropped By Time Warner

Current TV is trying to transform itself into a independent, liberal news commentary network. Countdown with Keith Olbermann at 8pm was the centerpiece to this plan and it was to serve as a springboard to launch a full primetime lineup of progressive commentary (just like MSNBC did over the past decade). During the past six months Current has debuted 7pm and 9pm shows (The Young Turks, The War Room with Jennifer Granholm) to surround ‘Countdown’. Just last week Current debuted a 6 hour block of programming from 6am to 12pm each weekday morning. Full Court Press with Bill Press from 6am to 9am and Talking Liberally with Stephanie Miller from 9am to 12pm. Both shows are simulcasts of existing liberal radio shows.

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