MSNBC announced Monday that it has hired George F. Will as a contributor, adding yet another conservative talker to its rapidly expanding roster of them. Two weeks ago, the cable news network gave former George W. Bush adviser Nicolle Wallace a 4 p.m. show. Former Fox News star Greta Van Susteren took over its 6 p.m. slot in January. And it has reportedly offered talk radio host Hugh Hewitt a show, as well. MSNBC is giving out shows to conservative pundits like Oprah giving out G6s.
Remember when the network embraced its liberal reputation with the tagline “Lean Forward”? These days it’s running ads suggesting that people might accuse it of conservative bias—and it’s only half-joking.
MSNBC isn’t the only major media organization that’s tacking rightward lately.
The realignment would make perfect sense if media outlets whose audiences skewed liberal were struggling in the Trump era. But it’s just the opposite. MSNBC just posted its highest-ever quarterly ratings, beating centrist CNN in prime time.
So what’s behind the conservative-commentator craze? Let’s consider the possibilities.
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