The Real Problem With Progressive Media

Without question, conservative media dominates radio, television, web, and print. The comparison is disheartening. Progressive talk radio is all but defunct. Since Randi Rhodes left the scene, there has been nothing but a gaping hole where liberal hearts used to bleed. MSNBC is in decline with a bevy of host turnovers that shows that no one has yet to fill the void of Keith Olbermann. All that really remains is the ever consistent internet radio hosts and the standard bearers of terrestrial air such as Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartman, and Bill Press.

Progressive TV — read MSNBC — is all but abysmal. Often times, watching MSNBC can be like watching paint dry. The conversations and approaches are –at times — too cerebral: and this is coming from a PhD student who enjoys reading dense journal articles and having my brain hurt from grappling with grandiose ideas. But, that’s just it: When I want a lecture, I go to class; When I want the news, I read a combination of news papers; When I consume progressive media, I am looking for a counterbalance to the monstrosity that is conservative media. This is not to belittle the purpose of progressive media. No! When you consider that the majority of America trusts Fox News over any other source, you should understand the urgent need for an aggressive and relentless progressive, liberal network.

The problem with progressive media is that they are afraid to be labeled “angry” and they are afraid to be “liberal.” And if you think about it, that is what Randi Rhodes and Keith Olbermann had in common. They were both loud, brash, and proud to be liberal– and we ate it up. This tepid and timid frothiness that makes up progressive media today is entirely too weak to stand against the machines of Limbaugh, Hannity, and O’Reilly. Even firebrands like Ed Schultz and Chris Matthews are suffering in ratings. Perhaps Ed focuses too much on niche, although important, topics while Christ Matthews umpires the inside baseball of D.C. politics.

I laugh when I think about the fact that MSNBC has Chris Hayes on at the same time as Bill O’Reilly. Seriously? Even though Chris beat out Anderson Cooper 360 in overall ratings last week, he came in last place in the coveted 25-54 demographic. Chris was perfect for Saturday mornings for the same reason Melissa Harris-Perry is great for Saturday mornings — only the true political geeks are consuming news then. So the highly cerebral conversations are exactly what we are looking for. But at prime-time on weeknights?  Nothing short of a Cenk Uygur could hope to beat Bill O’Reilly– and we know how that story ended. This should tell you everything you need to know about why progressive media is dying.

Unfortunately for progressive media, the loud voices on radio have yet to be converted into television success. Progressive talk show hosts like Randi Rhodes, while highly successful on radio, never found their way onto television. Despite this amazing exchange with Janet Parshall on C-Span, Randi never made her way into a regular broadcast. She was both cerebral and fearless. And now she’s gone off the air. Read More

Written by Benjamin Dixon

Benjamin Dixon

Good guy gone bad...sorta.

Benjamin Dixon is the Editor in Chief of Progressive Army and a member of its Editorial Board.

Host of The Benjamin Dixon Show, which airs Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 9pm ET and Wednesdays at 8pm ET on YouTube and Spreaker.

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