The Strange New MSNBC/Kos Line: Conservative Media Want to Lose for Their Own Selfish Ends

Rob Lewis at the Daily Kos loves the new false and trouble-making line that the conservative media from Rush to Drudge are secret traitors who want Republicans to keep losing to exploit their own victimization narratives. “The Real War Within the GOP” is between people who want to win and those who apparently profit from losses.

He started with David Frum’s comments on Morning Joe about the “conservative entertainment complex” lying with "lupine smiles"  to the Republican base. (Oh, did Joe Scarborough love that one.) Then he added in Steve Kornacki’s line on Monday’s Last Word on MSNBC:

KORNACKI: The problem is in today`s Republican universe, there are powerful incentives for opinion shapers like Limbaugh not to win elections. You know, Rush Limbaugh did not need Mitt Romney to win in order to have influence, to have clout, and to make money. In fact, he might have more influence, more clout, and make more money if Mitt Romney loses.

Lewis also turned to a “brilliant monologue” from Chris Hayes on Saturday:

The beating heart of modern conservatism is its visceral appeal to anxieties and fears of white Christians. This is a different statement than saying the beating heart of modern conservatism is white racism or white supremacy. It`s not or not principally. It is simply white identity politics with all the pathos and ugliness that implies. And if you don`t believe that, go read some conservative comment threads or click over to the Drudge Report or Fox News...Once you understand this, then you can see that the Republican Party`s problems are deeper than, say, opposition to comprehensive immigration reform or even the far less controversial Dream Act.

That policy opposition is a symptom of the problem, not the cause. The deeper issue is that for conservative politicians and conservative networks and conservative websites, there is simply too much to be gained by feeding the sense of persecution and siege that many white Christians feel down to their toes. I`m not sure what is going to shift those incentives, because that insecurity as an emotional fact is real and it isn`t going away.

Perhaps MSNBC could have brought a hidden camera into NewsBusters HQ on election night if he wanted to see what really happened with conservative websites. They would have found black humor, dismay, and disgust at how the media dragged Obama over the finish line. There were no cynical high fives.

But Lewis the Kosmonaut just adored this theory: "So it appears that the most important split in the Republican party isn't between the base and the moderates—it's between the party (that wants to win elections) and their media stars (who actually do better when they lose). In the contest between ideology and filthy lucre, lucre always wins (if you're a Republican)."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis