FAIR has long reported on Fox News “liberals”—who are generally nothing more than conservatives in liberal clothing. The other side of this is not much discussed: conservatives on “liberal” shows are generally very conservative. Take Pat Buchanan’s longtime association with MSNBC.
It was only this year, after 10 years on the network, that MSNBC—that bastion of liberalism that Bill Clinton calls “our version of Fox”—fired the right wing hate monger. Can anyone imagine Fox News employing a similarly extreme pundit from the left? No one can, except for those who want to pretend that Alan Colmes is an extremist. (I like the mild-mannered slightly liberal Colmes, but he is exactly the kind of “liberal” Fox News loves: someone whose views don’t start very far to the left and can be battered rightward still.) So anyone who can equate Buchanan with Colmes (Bill Clinton?) has to be questioned.
Many of the 10 years during which Buchanan was doing his magic on MSNBC, the network was conservative—the “Fox Jr.” years. Still, MSNBC held onto to the bigot long after deciding that it could make a dime being “liberal.” So what was it that caused Buchanan to cross “that line”? It was the publication of his newest book, Suicide of a Superpower—or more to the point, the reaction to its publication.
I have many problems with MSNBC. But these are nothing compared to my anger at the false equivalence of MSNBC and Fox News. The issue isn’t just Pat Buchanan. For three hours every weekday, actual conservative Joe Scarborough has his own show. And everyday S. E. Cupp gets to spew her fatuous conservative banality on The Cycle. (She recently claimed she would not vote for an atheist president because the president should “not represent only 10 to 15 percent of the American populace.” I get it! An atheist is so much more likely to stop people from being Christian than a Christian is to force everyone to be. But what do you expect when it is more important for a TV pundit to have cover-girl looks than college-graduate intelligence?)