MSNBC is a cable news channel based in the United States and available in both the US and Canada.
name is a combination of "Microsoft
, a separate company, is the news
website for the NBC News
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
. 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.
shares the NBC logo of a rainbow peacock
with its sister channels NBC, CNBC 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
MSNBC was established by NBC
executive Tom Rogers
Rogers was instrumental in developing the strategic partnership
, 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,
. NBC supplied the space with
an 18-month-old America's
MSNBC was launched on July 15, 1996. The first show, which was
anchored by Jodi Applegate
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
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
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
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
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 Afghanistan.
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
(owned by News
, which also owns Fox
) 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
its real competition is Headline
". 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
, 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
On June 29, 2006, Abrams announced a revamp to MSNBC's
early-primetime and primetime schedule. On July 10, Tucker
Situation with Tucker Carlson
) started airing at 4 p.m. and 6
p.m. ET (taking over Abrams' old timeslot), while Rita Cosby's
was taken off the schedule. Cosby was instead given
the role of primary anchor for MSNBC Investigates
and 11 p.m. ET, a new program that took over Cosby and Carlson's
timeslots. According to the press release, MSNBC
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
NBC News launched broadcasts from their new studios at NBC's
Rock" complex in New York City on October 22,
The current MSNBC studio
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
. 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
called the "rudder
network" and has currently led to a period of transition.
During the 2008 Presidential
, 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
, 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.
currently not available to Verizon FiOS
and AT&T U-verse TV subscribers
in portions of New
York, northern New Jersey and Connecticut 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.
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
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
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
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.
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
however, it was soon discontinued in 2004, and the American version
began airing in Canada.
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
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
occasionally showed MSNBC; some of MSNBC's reports appeared in ITV
In Turkey, NTV-MSNBC is the news network of the Turkish broadcaster
. 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.
MSNBC celebrated its 10th anniversary
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
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
site is developed in Redmond, Washington, 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
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!
position of top news site from June 2008 through May 2009, measured
by unique visitors in the U.S.
||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.
Early with Willie Geist
||The second early morning newscast on MSNBC, replaced the repeat
of First Look.
||Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, and Willie Geist
||MSNBC's morning news talk show with analysis, commentaries and
the headlines of the day.
||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
||Tamron Hall, Monica Novotny, Alex
||Features the news of the day, including interviews and breaking
||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.
||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
||Features the news of the day, including interviews and breaking
2pm-3pm Tuesdays & Thursdays
||Contessa Brewer and Melissa Francis
||Issues dealing with the day's economic situation. Also includes
frequent news updates.
The New York
||Norah O'Donnell and John Harwood
||News headlines, spotlighting on issues in conjunction with
The New York Times
||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.
||Hosted by Chris Matthews,
Political opinion program.Replays at 7pm, 12am, 5am
(Saturdays), and 7am (Sundays)
The Ed Show
||The show, which premiered April 6, focuses on working class
values and issues relating to the everyday worker.
Replays at 3am
with Keith Olbermann
||Political opinion program. Replays at 10pm, 1am, and
Rachel Maddow Show
||Political opinion program. Replays at 11pm and
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
media analyst Howard
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
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
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
Accusations of pro-Obama bias
Democratic Party supporters, most notably Pennsylvania 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
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
(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
, 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
. While promoting the documentary, he got in an on-air
fight with MSNBC news anchor Contessa
, on how the media, especially MSNBC, had portrayed
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
was simulcast on MSNBC, made comments about the
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
- Acronym Finder - MSNBC
- Cable Channel Nods to Ratings and Leans Left.
Times. Published November 6, 2007. Accessed August 24,
- Jodi Jodi Applegate WNYW biography
- The State of the News Media 2007: Public
Attitudes. Project for Excellence
- E! Online, Bits and Pieces, June 26, 2001.
- Ballmer: Would not launch MSNBC again. CNET News.Com,
June 7, 2001.
- , New York Post Columnist Asks 'Do We Need
- MSNBC Anchors' Fights Go Live.
Wall Street Journal. Published
August 28, 2008. Accessed August 28, 2008.
- Inside Cable News :: Cablevision has exclusive
carriage deal with msnbc... :: February :: 2007
- Broadcasting & Cable June 28, 2009 msnbc's
Hi-Def Retrofit - 30 Rock control room, Washington D.C. studio get
major HD overhaul
- Broadcasting & Cable June 23, 2009 Cablevision
Continues HD Expansion
- Dish Network Press Release May 8, 2009 DISH
Network(R) Introduces New National HD Channels
- Multichannel News Dish, Time Warner Cable In New
York Next For msnbc HD - Rollouts Will Continue In July For HD
Version Of News Service
- 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
- Top 30 news sites for May— Editor &
- Rendell: Obama coverage was embarrassing.
Published August 24, 2008. Accessed August 24, 2008.
- Dangerous Liaison. The New
Republic Published May 27, 2008. Accessed August 24,
- MSNBC drops simulcast of Don Imus show. msnbc.com. 11