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An intelligent argument for why an intelligent pundit should do well on prime-time TV

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Noah Rothman NAILS IT:

Conservatives should suppress the instinct to dismiss Chris Hayes [above], the new host of MSNBC’s 8 p.m. [EDT] programming slot soon to be vacated by Ed Schultz. Yes, Hayes’ addition to MSNBC’s prime time lineup, serving as the lead-in to the left-leaning cable network’s flagship program, The Rachel Maddow Show, signals the network will continue to represent a brand of liberalism well to the left of the American center. It is also a continuation of another trend that should trouble conservatives: MSNBC branded itself both as a sophisticated and academic debate forum in the weekends and they are moving that format to prime time. What’s more, both Hayes and Maddow know how to make an argument that eschews force of personality and rests on data.

(Snip)

MSNBC’s personalities spend far more of their programming time devoted to understanding electoral politics. Demographic voting patterns, the voting history of individual districts, cities and states, polling data beyond the topline results; these and other elements of electoral politics are the only data points that are even moderately predictive of future electoral results.

It is the internalization of this kind of data that allows rank-and-file progressives and Democratic activists to effectively target states and districts in the traditionally Republican-leaning Southwest, for example, while conservatives dismiss the rising Democratic tide in states like Texas and Arizona as a liberal fantasy. It is the abandonment of this study of the science of politics that permitted viewers to cheer on Karl Rove (who  knew better) as he battled Fox News Channel’s Decision Desk on election night in 2012.

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