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Monday, July 16, 2012

MSNBC Renamed To NBCNews As Microsoft Sells It's 50% Stake In Venture

By Susan Duclos

MSNBC and Microsoft signed their divorce papers last Friday when an agreement was finally reached for Comcast, the company that controls NBC, to aqcuire Microsoft's 50 percent stake for roughly $300 million.

The Website is now

Interestingly enough and perhaps indicative of the direction the newly named NBCNews  will be heading in the future is the identity of  chief digital officer for NBC News, who happens to be Vivian Schiller, who was forced to resign from NPR back in March 2011, after controversies surrounded NPR under her watch.

According to, Microsoft will be launching it's own news service in the fall.


At first, will retain sections for MSNBC’s political programs like “The Rachel Maddow Show” and “Morning Joe.” But those will be moved onto a new early next year, further splintering traffic.

Last Thursday, The American Spectator pointed to a Daily Beast piece which had some interesting information:

The details of the divorce are reported by Daily Beast media columnist Howard Kurtz.
In the traditional style of liberal journalism, the real story was buried deep inside the Kurtz piece and revealed this way: 
…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.
Catch that?

There were worries at corporate about "brand confusion" between "the liberal home of Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz and others" with the so-called "straight-news site bearing the same name."

So the obvious question.

Why in the world would NBC be worried about "brand confusion" with a cable version of itself?
That's right. Because there was nothing "straight-news" about what has evolved at MSNBC.

The Spectator piece takes readers on a stroll down memory lane, so well worth clicking over and reading the entire article.

[Update] MediaIte points to one particular portion of the MSNBC announcement:

In recent years, MSNBC TV has shifted toward political commentary favorable to Democratic and liberal causes, creating a potential clash between that mission and the website’s goal of producing a nonpartisan news report.
This is noteworthy because MSNBC TV certainly does not officially characterize or promote itself that way. The network has been adamant about describing itself as a sometime (but not at all hours) opinionated network, but one that is a fair and factual news network overall, and certainly not one devoted to simply “favoring liberal causes.” In fact, a Politico report from March of this year highlighted the difference between the network’s straight news and “point of view” programming, specifically noting that “MSNBC considers everything from 3 p.m. into primetime to be ‘point of view’ shows.” (It’s worth noting that Mediaite had previously questioned this particular divide in the network’s programming.)

That said, MSNBC president Phil Griffin has also described the network as “really the place to go for progressives.” In an interview with Mediaite, Griffin later said that while the network’s audience “has a progressive point of view,” it’s ultimately “not an ideology, because we differ often in how we get there, but it’s challenging all the status quo and trying to figure out how to make the world better. It’s challenging what’s going on in Washington. We’ve got smart people, and they do their research. But yes, we do have a sensibility and we embrace it, but we’re about ideas.”

“We come from a progressive stance,” he had told us, “but that’s a wide berth.”