Is NBC News pushing away MSNBC?

posted at 11:21 am on July 12, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Howard Kurtz got a scoop late yesterday that reminded everyone what the “MS” in MSNBC means.  The cable channel and website originally started as a partnership between Microsoft and NBC, but the software giant pulled out of the cable channel not long after its launch. Until now, though, it has remained a partner with NBC News on the MSNBC.com website, but Kurtz reports that NBC has finally bought out its silent partner:

NBC and Microsoft plan to announce a deal to finally part company, with the network buying back the remainder of their hugely popular MSNBC website from the software giant, say people familiar with the matter.

Under the plan, officials will rebrand MSNBC.com, which consistently ranks among the top three in online news sites, as NBCNews.com. The announcement of the corporate divorce is expected within days, although there could always be a last-minute snag.

So why now?  Kurtz talks about NBC’s frustration at not having control of their website:

NBC executives have grown frustrated at not having sole control of the MSNBC website, which does original reporting as well as aggregating content from the AP, Reuters, New York Times and elsewhere. At the same time, as the MSNBC channel has forged a separate identity as the liberal home of Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz and others, the company has worried about the brand confusion caused by its straight-news site bearing the same name. And the cable channel has lacked a site solely devoted to pushing its personalities.

Two years ago, NBC and Microsoft held serious negotiations about changing the name of MSNBC.com to alleviate that confusion. Once Microsoft withdraws, NBC may create a second site with the MSNBC name simply to promote the cable channel’s offerings.

This sounds more like the problem, although I’m sure that the control issue played into it as well.  The partnership with Microsoft forced NBC to use the one platform to push all of its news offerings, not just the cable channel.  The network news division has no website of its own.  That reinforces the impression — actually, the reality — that MSNBC’s highly partisan lineup is part and parcel of its news division, an image that has already created tensions within NBC in the past, specifically during the Keith Olbermann era at MSNBC.  When Ed Schultz and his union income gets promoted on the same level and the same platform as network anchor Brian Williams and the rest of the NBC News division, that goes directly to the perceived credibility and fairness of the entire organization.

With this buyout, NBC can finally split its platform and separate the news division from the cable channel, at least on the Internet.  The new NBCNews.com can promote Williams and its other straight-news offerings, while leaving the cable shows to their own devices.  Regardless of how intellectually honest that might be, it makes good branding sense — and it gives NBC News a way to distance itself from the prime-time progressives that undermine the image of objectivity NBC needs to project.


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“we will get back to you with all of the numbers”

Electrongod on July 12, 2012 at 11:24 AM

Is the domain name LeftWingNutJobsSlobberingAllOverThePlace.com available? If so, they should rebrand it as such.

VinceOfDoom on July 12, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Under the plan, officials will rebrand MSNBC.com, which consistently ranks among the top three in online news sites, as NBCNews.com.

That’s like saying a sprinter consistently ranks among the top 10.

NotCoach on July 12, 2012 at 11:28 AM

So long as MSNBC has “NBC” in their name, that well is poisoned.

Brian Williams, I hope you are comfortable in your role as DNC chief on-air propagandist.

JohnGalt23 on July 12, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Regardless of how intellectually honest that might be, it makes good branding sense — and it gives NBC News a way to distance itself from the prime-time progressives that undermine the image of objectivity NBC needs to project.

Not as long as you have the Today Show editing 911 calls or MSDNC hosts anchoring election coverage.

Doughboy on July 12, 2012 at 11:29 AM

it gives NBC News a way to distance itself from the prime-time progressives that undermine the image of objectivity NBC needs to project

this is a laugh line and a half. There is absolutely no difference between these two. Before Keith Overbite, Dead Schultz, and Rachael Madcow showed up, NBC was blowing up vehicles and promoting every left wing program from abortion to higher taxes. And, least we do not forget that they are the most anti-second amendment “news” organization ever!

skanter on July 12, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Or maybe Comcast has just had enough…?

Akzed on July 12, 2012 at 11:29 AM

So who gets the viewer?

“..and it gives NBC News a way to distance itself from the prime-time progressives that undermine the image of objectivity NBC needs to project.”

Unintended comedy gold? It’s going to take more than jettisoning the progressive trash to restore any semblance of objectivity to NBC.

HumpBot Salvation on July 12, 2012 at 11:30 AM

it gives NBC News a way to distance itself from the prime-time progressives that undermine the image of objectivity NBC needs to project

this is a laugh line and a half. There is absolutely no difference between these two. Before Keith Overbite, Dead Schultz, and Rachael Madcow showed up, NBC was blowing up vehicles and promoting every left wing program from abortion to higher taxes. And, least we do not forget that they are the most anti-second amendment “news” organization ever!

skanter on July 12, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Ed Schultz, the most paranoid of all.

Speakup on July 12, 2012 at 11:31 AM

LSDNews.com was not available?

How sad.

WhatNot on July 12, 2012 at 11:33 AM

this is strictly about money not a big deal

gerrym51 on July 12, 2012 at 11:34 AM

We know the truth…. both are liberal hacks

cmsinaz on July 12, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Does anyone other than the overly-excitable-when-not-on-their-meds, reality-challenged, pay any attention at all to MSNBC?

…I mean, when was the last time anyone took that site seriously?

…or, ever?

davisbr on July 12, 2012 at 11:35 AM

OT – Eerie pic of the Preezy on Drudge. The starkness of the B&W pics is artsy and thought-provoking.

Fallon on July 12, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Man the harpoons!

Akzed on July 12, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Under the plan, officials will rebrand MSNBC.com, which consistently ranks among the top three in online news sites, as NBCNews.com.

And what of the audience? Will they now flock to NBC.com?
I doubt it.
This was a marriage in hell from the gitgo. I hope they both continue to decline.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on July 12, 2012 at 11:36 AM

The new NBCNews.com can promote Williams and its other straight-news offerings,

Uh, straight news?

This would be the Brian Williams who pompously drones that man made global warming is microwaving the planet and demands that we use green energy to save the planet?

And lets not even talk about David Gregory.

CorporatePiggy on July 12, 2012 at 11:37 AM

I understand why this is news, but I can’t help thinking, who cares?

tbrickert on July 12, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Ed Schultz: The other white meat.

Akzed on July 12, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Uh, straight news?

This would be the Brian Williams who pompously drones that man made global warming is microwaving the planet and demands that we use green energy to save the planet?

CorporatePiggy on July 12, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Don’t forget that back in 2009 he also bowed to Obama at the end of their interview.

Doughboy on July 12, 2012 at 11:39 AM

The new NBCNews.com can promote Williams and its other straight-news offerings,

Nah, rumor has it that they’re going after Anderson Cooper to do the straight news.

Akzed on July 12, 2012 at 11:39 AM

…one is a prostitute for the DNC…and the other a slut!…SO?

KOOLAID2 on July 12, 2012 at 11:40 AM

it gives NBC News a way to distance itself from the prime-time progressives that undermine the image of objectivity NBC needs to project.

That ship sailed a long, long time ago. NBC is MS-DNC. Always will be.

Rational Thought on July 12, 2012 at 11:46 AM

They can go from MSNBC to BSNBC to be more descriptive of their product.

KenInIL on July 12, 2012 at 11:46 AM

undermine the image of objectivity NBC needs to project.

A network that employs a news anchor for their evening news who literally bowed to the boy king is never going to project an “image of objectivity.”

Flora Duh on July 12, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Cool!

Maybe Ed Schultz will threaten to

“take an effing torch to this place” again.

ToddPA on July 12, 2012 at 11:47 AM

I wish I was the official psychiatrist for MSNBC. I’d make a fortune. Mental Illness Central.

kbTexan on July 12, 2012 at 11:48 AM

That reinforces the impression — actually, the reality — that MSNBC’s highly partisan lineup is part and parcel of its news division, an image that has already created tensions within NBC in the past, specifically during the Keith Olbermann era at MSNBC.

Yeah, and now NBC can take the cloak of MSNBC off. Now they can just be open and honest and proud of their full-out leftist Democrat rantings they call news.

It’s always good to be honest with yourself, even in the news business.

oldroy on July 12, 2012 at 11:52 AM

OT – Eerie pic of the Preezy on Drudge. The starkness of the B&W pics is artsy and thought-provoking.

Fallon on July 12, 2012 at 11:35 AM

I love new B&W Drudge…

OmahaConservative on July 12, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Yes, they’re buying back their stock from Microsoft. Apparently even Microsoft can’t tolerate the putrid stench of NBC.

rplat on July 12, 2012 at 11:53 AM

undermine the image of objectivity NBC needs to project.

I nominate Ed for QOTD tonight.

hillsoftx on July 12, 2012 at 11:54 AM

Brian Williams is “straight news?” LOL!

It’s 20 minutes of pro Obama propaganda.

“Texas ranks last among those who have completed high school. There are only eight other states with more living in poverty. No other state has more working at or below the minimum wage. So, is that the kind of answer all Americans are looking for?” Brian Williams to Gov. Rick Perry

“What do you make of that dynamic that just happened here? The mention of the execution of 234 people drew applause,” asked an incredulous Williams.

kevinkristy on July 12, 2012 at 11:55 AM

If MSNBC went away tomorrow, would anyone but their eight viewers and their hired, on-camera Obummer cheerleaders notice?

Tim_CA on July 12, 2012 at 11:56 AM

With this buyout, NBC can finally split its platform and separate the news division from the cable channel, at least on the Internet. The new NBCNews.com can promote Williams and its other straight-news offerings, while leaving the cable shows to their own devices. Regardless of how intellectually honest that might be, it makes good branding sense — and it gives NBC News a way to distance itself from the prime-time progressives that undermine the image of objectivity NBC needs to project.

You can’t separate incredible (MSNBC) from uncredible (NBC) and end up with credible (neither).

BKennedy on July 12, 2012 at 11:57 AM

OT B&W pics

Fallon on July 12, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Preezy is, after all, B&W, (and RED all over)

ziggyville on July 12, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Maybe Microsoft is tired of paying for crap news.

William Amos on July 12, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Other than James Earl Jones, I am very hard pressed to finding anyone who actually watches this bucket of bilge known as MSNBC.

pilamaye on July 12, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Is the domain name LeftWingNutJobsSlobberingAllOverThePlace.com available? If so, they should rebrand it as such.

VinceOfDoom on July 12, 2012 at 11:28 AM

I’m sure it’s still available but since the words anarchy, hate, race, socialism or welfare aren’t included in the domain name, the average viewer will forget hot to spell it very quickly.

Kingfisher on July 12, 2012 at 12:04 PM

When Ed Schultz and his union income gets promoted on the same level and the same platform as network anchor Brian Williams and the rest of the NBC News division, that goes directly to the perceived credibility and fairness of the entire organization

You cannot claim what you never had and “credibility” has been thin on the ground at NBC for years. Remember the crash test segment that had been staged? When was that 20 or more years ago? The last NBC person I liked was Gene Shalit and he was the movie critic. Brian Williams is just Rachel Maddow with less testosterone.

neyney on July 12, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Using “objectivity” and “NBC” in the same sentence is not possible. I never bother with network news sites. CEO of Comcast is an Obama supporter so don’t expect any pressure for change from that end.

Bob in VA on July 12, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Whatever happens, NBC won’t be able to shake off the true meaning of its acronym: Nothing But Crap.

Kingfisher on July 12, 2012 at 12:08 PM

The new NBCNews.com can promote Williams and its other straight-news offerings, while leaving the cable shows to their own devices.

Seriously, is there really that much of a difference? Isn’t much of NBC’s “straight-news” still slanted liberal BS?

Rovin on July 12, 2012 at 12:09 PM

Regardless of how intellectually honest that might be, it makes good branding sense — and it gives NBC News a way to distance itself from the prime-time progressives that undermine the image of objectivity NBC needs to project.

I have never understood why MSNBC wasn’t sold off, re tooled, and re branded.

There are now 3 left leaning cable news outlets CNN, MSNBC, and Current, they are splitting the smallest demographic of cable news viewers between them. Leaving Fox News with no real competition for the rest of cable news demographic consumers.

All I can deduce is that CNN, MSNBC and CURRENT are hobbyist news channels. There is no expectation for high ratings, they exist solely to promote the democrat party’s agenda. In exchange I guess Time Warner, and Comcast get access to the “Democrat Political Machine”. Apparently Al Gore’s Current TV is for progressive spillage – Gore hires the MSNBC fires.

Fox News is the only cable news channel using a business model to run their network.

Dr Evil on July 12, 2012 at 12:12 PM

NBC is looking for plausible deniability. They think that they can say that ‘those radicals over on the cable channel don’t represent the views or opinions of NBC NEWS.’ We’re not meant to connect the radical progressive satellite to the mother ship. I think that the political winds are shifting and the reign of the uber progressive is coming to a close. NBC wants to be able to pretend that there’s a difference between THEIR ideological underpinnings and those of the cable channel. The days when the main stream media could pretend that corporate verticalization didn’t matter are over. No one buys it anymore.

thatsafactjack on July 12, 2012 at 12:13 PM

“hugely popular”

Excuse me? I mean, better than CNN maybe, but that’s not saying much.

worldtvlr on July 12, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Is BarkingMoonbat.com taken?

trigon on July 12, 2012 at 12:24 PM

thatsafactjack on July 12, 2012 at 12:13 PM

Comcast no doubt donates to Politicians

Comcast Corp $201,606 Yep here they are donating to President Obama’s Presidential Re election campaign. Number #7 on the list of top donors to Barack Obama’s campaign. Microsoft is number #1.

This table lists the top donors to this candidate in the 2012 election cycle. The organizations themselves did not donate , rather the money came from the organizations’ PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals’ immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.

Microsoft Corp $387,395
University of California $330,258
DLA Piper $306,727
Google Inc $271,300
Sidley Austin LLP $257,296
Harvard University $232,158
Comcast Corp $201,606
Stanford University $188,290
Time Warner $183,614
Skadden, Arps et al $169,753
US Government $149,458
US Dept of State $147,917
Kaiser Permanente $139,507
National Amusements Inc $138,955
Morgan & Morgan $135,145
Columbia University $134,497
Wells Fargo $127,807
University of Chicago $127,507
Wilmerhale Llp $117,661
Kirkland & Ellis $113,77

Dr Evil on July 12, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Comcast took over NBCU parent company of MSNBC.

Time Warner is the parent company of CNN.

This is about pandering for access to power. What happens if Romney wins in November?

Dr Evil on July 12, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Dr Evil on July 12, 2012 at 12:32 PM

This means if you subscribe to Comcast, you are supporting MSNBC.

slickwillie2001 on July 12, 2012 at 12:34 PM

…and it gives NBC News a way to distance itself from the prime-time progressives that undermine the image of objectivity NBC needs to project.

I guess projection is everything.

BacaDog on July 12, 2012 at 12:36 PM

Please, the only difference between NBC News and MSNBC is that the latter is more blatant with their bias. NBC News has the same agenda and is easily the most biased of the three networks.

Daemonocracy on July 12, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Good luck peddling the fantasy that there is a difference between the three parties.

Jaibones on July 12, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Dr Evil on July 12, 2012 at 12:32 PM

This means if you subscribe to Comcast, you are supporting MSNBC.

slickwillie2001 on July 12, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Comcast and Time Warner are two of the major cable tv providers.

Time Warner is the parent company of HBO and CNN so in a way when you watch CNN you are supporting Bill Maher LOL!

Dr Evil on July 12, 2012 at 12:40 PM

…one is a prostitute for the DNC…and the other a slut!…SO?

KOOLAID2 on July 12, 2012 at 11:40 AM

For the Win!

MikeHu on July 12, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Please, the only difference between NBC News and MSNBC is that the latter is more blatant with their bias. NBC News has the same agenda and is easily the most biased of the three networks.

Daemonocracy on July 12, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Out of NBC, ABC and CBS, it’s a tough call, but CBS is probably the least “blatantly” biased.

MSNBC is hands down is lefty progressive propaganda central.

Dr Evil on July 12, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Under the plan, officials will rebrand MSNBC.com, which consistently ranks among the top three in online news sites, as NBCNews.com.

Because it’s the default IE home page when you install Windows, and a lot of people aren’t bright enough to change it. I wonder where it’ll rank after this deal is done and MS changes the default homepage on Windows 8 to Bing.

crazy_legs on July 12, 2012 at 12:44 PM

Yeah, that’ll work, ‘cuz Brian Williams is so fair and balanced.

The Rogue Tomato on July 12, 2012 at 12:48 PM

I don’t know what the problem is. David Gregory is every bit the fawning loon Schultz is. he just is not as loud and has slightly better manners.

pat on July 12, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Regardless of how intellectually honest that might be, it makes good branding sense — and it gives NBC News a way to distance itself from the prime-time progressives that undermine the image of objectivity NBC needs to project.

And eventually sell MSNBC to a HuffPo/Current/Soros conglomerate.

Which is coming.

Within a year.

Getting rid of other stakeholders is prepping a sale. Clear the books so the final deal is clean.

ComCast then keeps NBC/CNBC as “legit” news while the new HuffPo/Current works “in partnership”, much like the ABC/CNN relationship.

budfox on July 12, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Brian Williams is “straight news?” LOL!

It’s 20 minutes of pro Obama propaganda.

Don’t forget – “That’s a goooooooooood dooooooooooog!!”

crazy_legs on July 12, 2012 at 12:51 PM

So what is NBC News going to do with Andrea Mitchell?

Pic of the Day: Comrades in Arms

http://predicthistunpredictpast.blogspot.com/2012/07/pic-of-day-comrades-in-arms.html

M2RB: Barry White, live at the Midnight Special

Resist We Much on July 12, 2012 at 12:52 PM

ComCast then keeps NBC/CNBC as “legit” news while the new HuffPo/Current works “in partnership”, much like the ABC/CNN relationship.

budfox on July 12, 2012 at 12:49 PM

It doesn’t seem like either ABC or CBS is interested in expanding to cable news market.

Dr Evil on July 12, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Too late…

d1carter on July 12, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Under the plan, officials will rebrand MSNBC.com,…

Rebrand it as DNC.com so the new name will reflect reality.

patch on July 12, 2012 at 1:02 PM

as the MSNBC channel has forged a separate identity as the liberal home of Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz and others, the company has worried about the brand confusion caused by its straight-news site bearing the same name.

LMAOROTF!

Confusion? Really? Like they’re not cut from the same cloth? “Straight news”????

GarandFan on July 12, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Regardless of how intellectually honest that might be, it makes good branding sense — and it gives NBC News a way to distance itself from the prime-time progressives that undermine the image of objectivity NBC needs to project.

Branding, schmanding, ain’t going to work. Information travels at the speed of light nowadays, you can’t hide the truth anymore. The mainstream media made its choice to run biased newsrooms with a left-wing agenda and have gotten away with it for decades, until now.

The only way to get their credibility back is to be credible. Right-wing media should take note because Fox News and some talk show hosts are getting more and more difficult to watch and listen to anymore.

lea on July 12, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Ed,
How can you say that Brian Williams reports straight news? He has no credibility as an objective reporter. This is not your best Hot Air day! More like a bad hair day for the girls!

tomshup on July 12, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Imagine the absurdity of our times

Schadenfreude on July 12, 2012 at 1:21 PM

Brian Williams is just Rachel Maddow with less testosterone.

neyney on July 12, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Comment of the Day.

Williams and David Gregory should do a comedy routine together; all they’d have to do is walk out on stage and stand there for 30 minutes or so. It would bring down the house.

hillbillyjim on July 12, 2012 at 1:26 PM

…. that goes directly to the perceived credibility and fairness of the entire organization.

This is so cute.

Sir Napsalot on July 12, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Regardless of how intellectually honest that might be, it makes good branding sense — and it gives NBC News a way to distance itself from the prime-time progressives that undermine the image of objectivity NBC needs to project.

lol oh come on Ed..NBC is just as super liberal as MSNBC..they hardly even try to hide it

sadsushi on July 12, 2012 at 1:37 PM

“hugely popular”

Excuse me? I mean, better than CNN maybe, but that’s not saying much.

worldtvlr on July 12, 2012 at 12:23 PM

You stole my comment. “hugely popular”? In what alternate
universe? The one with unicorns and fairy dust? Please, “Hugely popular” my a$$

E9RET on July 12, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Regardless of how intellectually honest that might be, it makes good branding sense — and it gives NBC News a way to distance itself from the prime-time progressives that undermine the image of objectivity NBC needs to project.

Let’s see – fuel tanks rigged to explode, doctored 911 tapes, Mrs. Alan Greenspan butchering quotes to push an agenda, David Gregory, the ghost of Contessa Brewer – yeah, NBC News is objective…NOT!

Steve Eggleston on July 12, 2012 at 4:51 PM

Doesn’t matter what they call it, it will be an Obama (and all things far left) cheerleader.

californiacitizen on July 12, 2012 at 5:06 PM

NBC and Microsoft plan to announce a deal to finally part company, with the network buying back the remainder of their hugely popular MSNBC website from the software giant…

MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

timberline on July 12, 2012 at 7:51 PM

The new NBCNews.com can promote Williams and its other straight-news offerings, while leaving the cable shows to their own devices. Regardless of how intellectually honest that might be, it makes good branding sense — and it gives NBC News a way to distance itself from the prime-time progressives that undermine the image of objectivity NBC needs to project.

Like Williams is not a prime-time progressive? So this is about becoming deceitful about their left-leaning drivel?

Christian Conservative on July 12, 2012 at 9:53 PM

Two words: Brian Williams. NBC’s rep as a branch of the DNC is safe.

waelse1 on July 12, 2012 at 11:47 PM