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MSNBC is a cable news channel based in the United Statesmarker and available in both the US and Canadamarker. Its name is a combination of "Microsoft" and "NBC".

Msnbc.com, a separate company, is the news website for the NBC News family, featuring interactivity and multimedia plus original stories and video which augment the content from NBC News and partners.

Two partnerships with the names MSNBC and msnbc.com were founded in 1996 by Microsoft and General Electric's NBC unit, which is now NBC Universal. Although Microsoft and NBC shared operations of MSNBC cable at its founding, it was announced on December 23, 2005, that NBC Universal would purchase a majority stake in the television network, which left Microsoft with 18%. The two companies remain 50-50 partners in msnbc.com. MSNBC shares the NBC logo of a rainbow peacock with its sister channels NBC, CNBCmarker and ShopNBC. MSNBC is available in over 78 million households in the United States; and between June 2008 and May 2009, msnbc.com had the most unique visitors among global news and current events websites.

Many observers of the network say that MSNBC has become increasingly politically liberal compared with other networks, particularly in its prime-time lineup.

History

Development

MSNBC was established by NBC executive Tom Rogers. Rogers was instrumental in developing the strategic partnership with Microsoft, which invested $220 million for a 50% share of the cable network. MSNBC and Microsoft would share the cost of a $200 million newsroom in Secaucus, NJ, for msnbc.com. NBC supplied the space with an 18-month-old America's Talking network.

Early history

MSNBC was launched on July 15, 1996. The first show, which was anchored by Jodi Applegate, broadcast a lineup of news, interviews, and opinions. During the day, rolling news coverage continued with The Contributors, a show that featured Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham, as well as interactive programming coordinated by Applegate, John Gibson, and John Seigenthaler. Stories were generally longer and more detailed than the stories running on CNN at the time. NBC also highlighted their broadcast connections by airing stories direct from the NBC network affiliates, along with breaking news coverage from the same sources.

By the start of 2001, MSNBC continued to trail both Fox News and CNN. With the success of Fox News Channel, MSNBC tried to emulate the Fox News Channel's emphasis on opinion hosts. The Project for Excellence in Journalism found in 2007 after a seven year survey of cable networks that "MSNBC is moving to make politics a brand, with a large dose of opinion and personality." In January 2001, Mike Barnicle got a show on MSNBC, but it was canceled in June 2001 due to high production costs. In June, in a sign of continuing trouble of MSNBC, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that he would not have started MSNBC if he knew then what he knows now. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, MSNBC served as an outlet for NBC News to provide up-to-the-minute coverage, in contrast to broadcast NBC's longer stories. CNBC and CNBC Europe, with little financial news to report, ran MSNBC for many hours of the day following the attacks. The year also boosted the profile of Ashleigh Banfield, who had escaped injury while covering the World Trade Center on September 11. Her Region In Conflict program capitalized on her newfound celebrity and showcased exclusive interviews from Afghanistanmarker.

On December 23, 2005, it was announced that NBC Universal would acquire an additional 32% share of the television network from Microsoft, solidifying its control over television operations and allowing NBC to further consolidate MSNBC's backroom operations with NBC News and its other cable properties. Msnbc.com would continue to be 50% owned by both NBC and Microsoft, and its operations would be largely unaffected. NBC would have the option to buy the remaining 18% share from Microsoft after two years. Rumors circulated that the cable network would eventually be rebranded as NBC News Channel, a name currently used for the network's news service to NBC affiliates.

In June 2006, Don Kaplan of the New York Post (owned by News Corporation, which also owns Fox News Channel) wrote a column titled "Do We Need MSNBC?" Addressing MSNBC'S low ratings, Kaplan quoted CNN co-founder Reese Schonfeld, who said that "[e]verybody compares MSNBC to Fox and CNN — when its real competition is Headline News". Schonfeld pointed out that the ratings for MSNBC and Headline News are roughly the same, about 300,000 viewers on average and that "by comparison, Fox and CNN regularly average three or four times as many viewers." In the column Kaplan remarked that "the running joke in TV news is Fox and CNN are news channels with websites, but MSNBC is a website with a cable channel". On June 7, 2006, Rick Kaplan resigned as president of MSNBC, after holding the post for two years. Following the announcement, it was announced on June 12, 2006, that Dan Abrams, a nine-year veteran of MSNBC and NBC News, had been named General Manager of the NBC News 24-hour cable news channel, effective immediately. NBC News Senior Vice President Phil Griffin would oversee MSNBC. Griffin would also continue to oversee NBC News’ Today, and Abrams would report to Griffin.

On June 29, 2006, Abrams announced a revamp to MSNBC's early-primetime and primetime schedule. On July 10, Tucker (formerly The Situation with Tucker Carlson) started airing at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET (taking over Abrams' old timeslot), while Rita Cosby's Live & Direct was taken off the schedule. Cosby was instead given the role of primary anchor for MSNBC Investigates at 10 and 11 p.m. ET, a new program that took over Cosby and Carlson's timeslots. According to the press release, MSNBC Investigates promised to "...complement MSNBC's existing programming by building on [the network's] library of award winning documentaries." The move to taped programming during 10 and 11 p.m. was likely a result of the success that the network saw with their Friday "experiment" of replacing all primetime programming with taped specials. On September 24, 2007, Abrams announced that he would leave the position of General Manager to focus on his 9:00 p.m. ET talk show, "Live With Dan Abrams". Oversight of MSNBC is now provided by Phil Griffin, a senior vice president at NBC.
MSNBC's current studio in NYC
The current MSNBC studio


MSNBC and NBC News launched broadcasts from their new studios at NBC's "30 Rockmarker" complex in New York City on October 22, 2007. After extensive renovations of the associated studios, NBC essentially merged its entire news operation into one building, and all MSNBC broadcasts, as well as the NBC Nightly News program, originate in the new studios. More than 12.5 hours of live television across the NBC News family originate from the New York studios daily. MSNBC is also expected to expand West Coast operations, as the network recently announced new studios near the Universal Studios lot, which will assemble all NBC West Coast news operations in one building. MSNBC's Master Control did not make the move to 30 Rock. It remained in the old Secaucus headquarters until it completed its move to the NBC Universal Network Origination Center located inside the CNBC Global Headquarters building in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, on December 21, 2007. Shortly thereafter, Major League Baseball firmed up a long-term lease of the former MSNBC building to become the home studios of MLB Network, which launched from the facility on January 1, 2009.

Changes since 2008

From mid-2007 to mid-2008, the network received a large increase in its ratings. Primetime viewings increased by 61% over that time. In May 2008, NBC News President Steve Capus said that "It used to be people didn't have to worry about MSNBC because it was an also-ran cable channel.... That's not the case anymore." Tim Russert's sudden death removed what The Wall Street Journal called the "rudder for the network" and has currently led to a period of transition.

During the 2008 Presidential election, the network's coverage was anchored by Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, and David Gregory. The three were widely viewed as the face of the network's political coverage.
During the first three months of the presidential campaign, MSNBC's ratings grew by 158 percent. However, during the election coverage, anchors Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews were criticized by conservatives for expressing left-leaning viewpoints on the network.


After Phil Griffin became the president of MSNBC in July 2008, ratings for the network soared. Audience viewership during the 2008 Presidential election more than doubled from the 2004 Presidential election, and the network topped CNN in ratings for the first time during the last three months of the campaign in the key 25-54 age demographic. However, observers, including conservatives largely criticized the network for having a liberal bias during the campaign coverage.

Carriage issues

MSNBC is currently not available to Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse TV subscribers in portions of New Yorkmarker, northern New Jerseymarker and Connecticutmarker which overlap with Cablevision's cable television territory. The reason for the lack of availability is, in part, due to an exclusive carriage agreement that msnbc entered into with Cablevision, which prohibits competing wired providers from carrying the network. The terms of the agreement (i.e. when the exclusive agreement expires) are not publicly known.

A suit from Verizon to the FCC has recently been filed in order to force the termination of this deal. Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal wrote to new FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, agreeing with Verizon, saying that the deal may be illegal.

msnbc HD

msnbc HD is a 1080i high definition simulcast of msnbc that launched on June 29, 2009. All live programing as well as select long form programs air in HD. During daytime shows, HD viewers see a 4:3 picture on the left side of the screen, with an "info bar" on the right displaying headlines, text, photos, weather information, stock updates and even live video thumbnails of top stories, similar to that of sister channel CNBC HD+.

Cablevision was the only provider to carry msnbc HD at its launch date.

A Dish Network press release on May 8 indicated that it would be the first satellite service to launch msnbc HD in June. However their launch was postponed to July 8.

Time Warner Cable launched the HD feed on July 22 in the New York area. The feed was made available in late July in Ithaca, NY on Time Warner. It has also been reported that Bright House Networks will add the HD feed in July, with other unnamed providers to follow. Phil Griffin claims msnbc HD will have 11 million viewers by the end of August 2009. Further carriage deals have not been announced.

Broadcasts

The monitors of the MSNBC newsroom are tuned in to various global channels.
MSNBC is shown only in the United States, Canada, parts of Latin America & Africa (see below). In 2001, a Canadian version—MSNBC Canada—was developed; however, it was soon discontinued in 2004, and the American version began airing in Canada.

MSNBC Africa

In Southern Africa, MSNBC is distributed free-to-air on satellite on Free2View TV as MSNBC Africa, a joint venture between Great Media Limited and MSNBC. Free2View airs MSNBC's programming from 4 p.m. to midnight ET in a block that repeats twice (live for the first airing), with local Weather Channel forecasts. Botswana's national television broadcaster, BTV, also provides an un-edited broadcast of MSNBC (including advertisements) after their scheduled programming each evening. BTV is available within Botswana, as well as to Southern Africa viewers on DStv.

Europe and Asia

In Asia and Europe, MSNBC is not shown on a channel of its own. When the network started in 1996 they announced plans to start broadcasting in Europe during 1997. This never happened. However, MSNBC is shown for a few hours a day on the 24 hour news network Orbit News in Europe and the Middle East. During breaking news MSNBC is also shown occasionally on affiliate network CNBC Europe.In the UK, during major US breaking news, the now-closed ITV News Channel (ITN) occasionally showed MSNBC; some of MSNBC's reports appeared in ITV News bulletins.

NTV-MSNBC

In Turkey, NTV-MSNBC is the news network of the Turkish broadcaster NTV Turkey. The network is a joint partnership between the two, although very little Turkish content makes its way onto English MSNBC. English content on MSNBC is translated to Turkish.

Online

MSNBC celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2006
Msnbc.com's main newsroom in Redmond, WA
Msnbc.com's newsroom in NYC


Msnbc.com, a separate company from MSNBC cable, is the online news outlet for the NBC News family, including network shows such as Today, NBC Nightly News, and Dateline NBC, as well as MSNBC TV. In addition to NBC News content and material produced by the site's own staff, msnbc.com also hosts articles and features from several partners, including The Washington Post and Newsweek magazine.

The web site is developed in Redmond, Washingtonmarker, on the Microsoft campus and news content is produced out of newsrooms in Redmond, New York, and London. It is the news provider for MSN, the portal site and online service operated by Microsoft, but it is editorially and financially separate.

On April 2, 2007, msnbc.com launched a new logo and a new slogan, "A Fuller Spectrum of News."

According to Nielsen Online, msnbc.com has risen above Yahoo! News and CNN for the position of top news site from June 2008 through May 2009, measured by unique visitors in the U.S.

Current programming

ET Program Hosts Description
5am-5.30am
First Look
Dan Kloeffler, Christina Brown MSNBC's early morning program providing a quick look at the news of the day. Sister program to NBC's Early Today.
5.30am-6am
Way Too Early with Willie Geist
Willie Geist The second early morning newscast on MSNBC, replaced the repeat of First Look.
6am-9am
Morning Joe
Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, and Willie Geist MSNBC's morning news talk show with analysis, commentaries and the headlines of the day.
9am-11am
Morning Meeting
Dylan Ratigan, w/ Contessa Brewer MSNBC's daily late morning show. The show emphasizes the economic situation and financial markets, which is Ratigan's area of expertise.
11am-12pm
MSNBC Live
Tamron Hall, Monica Novotny, Alex Witt Features the news of the day, including interviews and breaking news coverage.
12pm-1pm
Dr. Nancy
Nancy Snyderman MSNBC's daily health program, focusing on news of the day as well as topics related to health and politics, NBC Chief Medical Correspondent Nancy Snyderman, M.D.
1pm-2pm
Andrea Mitchell Reports
Andrea Mitchell NBC's Andrea Mitchell hosts an all political hour from 1 p.m. EST to 2 p.m. EST, Monday — Friday on MSNBC Dayside. The show features in depth interviews with high profiled figures and constant news updates.
2pm-3pm Mondays & Wednesdays
MSNBC Live
Contessa Brewer Features the news of the day, including interviews and breaking news coverage.
2pm-3pm Tuesdays & Thursdays
It's The Economy
Contessa Brewer and Melissa Francis Issues dealing with the day's economic situation. Also includes frequent news updates.
2pm-3pm Fridays
The New York Times Edition
Norah O'Donnell and John Harwood News headlines, spotlighting on issues in conjunction with The New York Times
3pm-5pm
The Big Picture
Tamron Hall and David Shuster Hard news programming and analysis, focusing on news of the day, with the segments Hypocrisy Watch, CNBC Market Wrap, and weather from meteorologists of The Weather Channel and more.
5pm-6pm
Hardball with Chris Matthews
Chris Matthews Hosted by Chris Matthews, Political opinion program.Replays at 7pm, 12am, 5am (Saturdays), and 7am (Sundays)
6pm-7pm
The Ed Show
Ed Schultz The show, which premiered April 6, focuses on working class values and issues relating to the everyday worker.
Replays at 3am
8pm-9pm
Countdown with Keith Olbermann
Keith Olbermann Political opinion program. Replays at 10pm, 1am, and 4am
9pm-10pm
The Rachel Maddow Show
Rachel Maddow Political opinion program. Replays at 11pm and 2am

Weekends

ET Program Hosts Description
Various
MSNBC Documentaries
MSNBC and NBC News caught one-hour documentary, including Headliners and Legends, Lockup, Dateline NBC and special editions of To Catch a Predator
Various
MSNBC Live
Alex Witt Weekend aired at 7am-12pm (on Saturdays) and 8am-12pm (on Sundays)
7.30am-8am Sundays
Your Business
JJ Ramberg News and analysis about small business.
Replays at 5.30am Saturdays
5pm-6pm Sundays
Meet the Press
David Gregory Same day re-air of the weekly Sunday morning talk show carried on the NBC network.
Replays at 2am and 5am (Monday morning)


MSNBC/NBC news anchors and correspondents

MSNBC's former NJ HQ Studio
MSNBC's current NYC HQ studio
MSNBC's current NYC HQ studio


Criticism and controversy

Accusations of liberal bias

Many have described MSNBC as having a bias towards the political left or Democratic Party. In November 2007, a New York Times article stated that MSNBC's prime-time lineup is tilting more to the left. Washington Post media analyst Howard Kurtz has stated that the network's evening lineup "has clearly gravitated to the left in recent years and often seems to regard itself as the antithesis of Fox News." In reference to the channel's evening programming, senior vice president of NBC News Phil Griffin has said that "It happened naturally. There isn’t a dogma we’re putting through. There is a ‘Go for it.’”

In the February 2008 issue of Men's Journal magazine, a MSNBC interviewee quoted a senior executive who said that commentator Keith Olbermann "runs MSNBC" and that "because of his success, he's in charge" of the network. The New York Times has called Olbermann the network's "most recognizable face". In September 2008, MSNBC stated that they were removing both Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews as live political event anchors, and replacing them with David Gregory, due to growing criticism that they were "too opinionated to be seen as neutral in the heat of the presidential campaign." However, Olbermann continued to broadcast Countdown both before and after the presidential and vice-presidential debates, and both Matthews and Olbermann joined Gregory on the network's election night coverage. In September 2009, a Pew Research Poll showed that Democrats were much more likely than Republicans to rate the network favorably and Republicans were much more likely than Democrats to see MSNBC unfavorably.

On November 13, 2009, in the days leading up to Palin's book "Going Rogue", Dylan Ratigan used photoshopped pictures of Palin to "have some fun" with her". Ratigan apologized a few days later stating, "I want to apologize to Governor Palin and all of our viewers. On Friday, in a very misguided attempt to have some fun in advance of Sarah Palin’s upcoming book Going Rogue, our staff mistakenly used some clearly photoshopped images of Ms. Palin without any acknowledgment."

Accusations of pro-Obama bias

Some Democratic Party supporters, most notably Pennsylvaniamarker Governor Ed Rendell, criticized MSNBC during and after the 2008 Democratic Primaries, as covering Barack Obama more favorably than Hillary Clinton. A study done by the Project for Excellence in Journalism showed that MSNBC had less negative coverage of Obama (14% of stories vs. 29% in the press overall) and more negative stories about Republican presidential candidate John McCain (73% of its coverage vs. 57% in the press overall). MSNBC's on-air slogan during the week of the 2008 presidential election, "The Power of Change", was criticized as being overtly similar to Obama's campaign slogan of "Change." Following the 2008 presidential election, conservative talk-show host, John Ziegler worked on a documentary called Media Malpractice.... How Obama Got Elected, which was very critical of the media, especially MSNBC's role, in the 2008 Presidential Election. While promoting the documentary, he got in an on-air fight with MSNBC news anchor Contessa Brewer, on how the media, especially MSNBC, had portrayed Sarah Palin.

Michael Savage dismissal

During the spring and early summer of 2003, MSNBC featured a weekend talk show hosted by conservative radio host Michael Savage. In July of that year, Savage snapped at a prank caller on his show, calling him a "pig" and a "sodomite," telling him that he "should get AIDS and die," and to "go eat a sausage and choke on it." Savage's show was cancelled shortly afterward and Savage himself was fired from the network.

Don Imus controversy

In early April 2007, Don Imus, whose radio show Imus in the Morning was simulcast on MSNBC, made comments about the Rutgers University women's basketball team. The comments sparked outrage, as many individuals considered the comments to be both racist and sexist. After an initial two-week suspension of Imus' program, MSNBC canceled the simulcast as sponsors started withdrawing their advertisements from the show. Imus, as well as NBC News, apologized to the Rutgers Basketball team for the remarks.

See also



Competitors



References

  1. Acronym Finder - MSNBC
  2. http://www.nbc.com/nbc/NBC_Universal_Cable_Networks/
  3. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/msnbccom-rides-partnerships-video-to-top-ranking
  4. Cable Channel Nods to Ratings and Leans Left. New York Times. Published November 6, 2007. Accessed August 24, 2008.
  5. http://people-press.org/report/?pageid=1353
  6. http://people-press.org/reports/pdf/467.pdf
  7. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/30/study-nbc-news-doesnt-fol_n_139162.html
  8. Jodi Jodi Applegate WNYW biography
  9. The State of the News Media 2007: Public Attitudes. Project for Excellence in Journalism.
  10. E! Online, Bits and Pieces, June 26, 2001.
  11. Ballmer: Would not launch MSNBC again. CNET News.Com, June 7, 2001.
  12. [1], New York Post Columnist Asks 'Do We Need MSNBC?'
  13. MSNBC Anchors' Fights Go Live. Wall Street Journal. Published August 28, 2008. Accessed August 28, 2008.
  14. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/11/24/business/marketwatch/main4628803.shtml
  15. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/15/arts/television/15netw.html
  16. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/08/business/media/08msnbc.html?pagewanted=1&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink
  17. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/06/business/media/06msnb.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin
  18. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/08/business/media/08msnbc.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink
  19. Inside Cable News :: Cablevision has exclusive carriage deal with msnbc... :: February :: 2007
  20. [2]
  21. Broadcasting & Cable June 28, 2009 msnbc's Hi-Def Retrofit - 30 Rock control room, Washington D.C. studio get major HD overhaul
  22. Broadcasting & Cable June 23, 2009 Cablevision Continues HD Expansion
  23. Dish Network Press Release May 8, 2009 DISH Network(R) Introduces New National HD Channels
  24. Multichannel News Dish, Time Warner Cable In New York Next For msnbc HD - Rollouts Will Continue In July For HD Version Of News Service
  25. Broadcasting and Cable June 28, 2009 msnbc Aims to Raise Profile with HD - Hi-def rollout part of bid to boost name recognition with viewers
  26. Top 30 news sites for May— Editor & Publisher
  27. http://blogs.ajc.com/jay-bookman-blog/2009/11/16/msnbc-apologizes-for-showing-fake-palin-photos/?cxntfid=blogs_jay_bookman_blog
  28. Rendell: Obama coverage was embarrassing. Politico.com. Published August 24, 2008. Accessed August 24, 2008.
  29. Dangerous Liaison. The New Republic Published May 27, 2008. Accessed August 24, 2008.
  30. http://www.journalism.org/node/13436
  31. MSNBC drops simulcast of Don Imus show. msnbc.com. 11 April 2007.


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