Speaking of Ron's take on the sixth or seventh column of right-wing news media, here's an interesting take from Soundbitten. The Artist Formerly Known As St. Huck continues to come up with solutions for MSNBC that are more promising and creative than what the network itself is managing. Last month he drew a simple solution that I'm amazed America's News Channel hasn't come up with on its own:
Become as aggressively liberal as Fox News is conservative. Give Michael Moore his own show. Start developing The Streisand Factor. Conservatives always complain about the left-wing bias of television news, but the truth is no network or channel actually tries to market its left-wing bias (in part, of course, because such biases don't exist as much as conservatives claim they do). By hiring Phil Donahue, MSNBC took steps in this direction, but the channel is still fairly covert about its sentiments. Everyone's always talking about how the Left is adrift, and the Left lacks leaders, and the Left has lost its way—but imagine how an aggressively liberal cable network could exploit that leadership vacuum by promoting its own TV personalities, ideological causes, etc. MSNBC is already capitalizing on the imminent war against Iraq with a nightly show devoted to it, but why not go the next step and turn the show into ground central for the anti-war movement? Politics aside, it's just good business—it would give MSNBC a mission, a crusade, a purpose—and that's much more interesting to watch than centrist news or centrist news analysis.
That suggestion was thrown in with a bunch of others that are pretty funny. In today's update Beato, who is nothing if not Machiavellian, shows how the exact opposite approach could also work:
Go Fox News one better, and become the Conservative News Network that's boldly proclaims itself as "Biased, but right." Hire Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and other conservative pundits who proudly identify themselves as such and battle Fox News head on. While MSNBC's main problem may simply be that not that many people want to watch news analysis during prime-time, it's quite clear that at least 2 million of them want to watch Fox News. Produce an even more conservative version of what it already delivers, and you could steal half its audience.
Again, this one is accompanied by another comical but not unpersuasive pitch, and both are well worth the read.