Bill Clinton says MSNBC is liberal version of Fox News. Is wrong

Bill Clinton delivered an odd jab at MSNBC, essentially mocking it for being a leftist propaganda network by saying the imbalance made him laugh and compared it to the loathed Fox News Channel.

Via Don Irvine of Accuracy in Media notes this part of an Esquire interview with Bill Clinton:

I was just watching MSNBC, and they had a woman that used to work for me and a couple of other people on there, and they were talking about the Republican primary. And I was laughing. I said, “Boy, it really has become our version of Fox.” And I say that because think of the economics of running cable channels. Suppose you and I bought a cable channel, and he [pointing] bought another. You know that to make a living out of it, you’ve got to get about eight hundred thousand viewers for all your major programs. So you can get eight hundred thousand, and you won’t be as wealthy as Fox, but you’ll do okay. And now if you get a slice that’s that small and still viable — and you know it’s not like when we just had NBC, CBS, and ABC. That’s all there was. Everybody had enough market share that they knew would guarantee some comfortable level of profit. And yet there was enough competition that everybody could keep each other honest, and when the Vietnam War came along, they could send fifty-five-year-old reporters to Vietnam for extended stays. They could afford to have correspondents in Europe to report. Correspondents in Asia. All that’s changed now. And so the good news is you can get a lot of information off the Internet for free and in a hurry. But I think the breaking up of the media, which is otherwise kind of healthy, has contributed to less actual reporting and a louder, more contentious, more divisive public discourse, highlighting conflict, sometimes falsely.

Tina Korbe notes:

If by “our version of Fox,” Bill Clinton means MSNBC is a less-trustedlower-rated, liberal attempt to emulate the Fox business model, then he’s right. But if he means to suggest that MSNBC filled a gaping hole in the media as Fox did, then he’s wrong. With its innovative consumer-targeted programming, Fox told a story that the networks didn’t tell. The Fox news crews provided information that wasn’t readily available elsewhere.


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