MSNBC is a liberal 24-hour cable news channel. MSNBC is considered by many to be one of the most liberal cable news channels of all the mainstream media. It is the lowest rated of the other 2 major cable news channels: Fox News and CNN. It typically garners ratings that are just one-third those of the Fox News Channel, and half of CNN.
The MSNBC channel was started in 1996 as a joint venture between Microsoft and NBC. On December 23, 2005, ending a partnership that had soured long before, Microsoft and NBC announced that they would dissolve their joint ownership of the cable news channel, with NBC taking control. NBC completed a deal to assume majority control of the channel, with an 82% stake.
In 2010, parent company General Electric reached a tentative agreement with the French media conglomerate Vivendi that clears the way for the sale of NBC-Universal, including the flagship NBC network, to Comcast, America’s largest cable operator.  Some liberals fear that Comcast would make MSNBC more conservative. They fear that Comcast would fire all their beloved liberal voices on MSNBC.  
The MSNBC network has perennially had very low ratings. In 2002, the network was regularly beaten in the ratings by CNN Headline News. The CEO of Microsoft once even admitted that he wouldn't have started MSNBC knowing what he knew later. In June of 2006, CNN co-founder Reese Schoenfeld told journalist Don Kaplan that "Everybody compares MSNBC to Fox and CNN - when its real competition is Headline News". Schoenfeld 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." Kaplan even joked 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".
Shock jock Don Imus's radio show Imus in the Morning was simulcast on MSNBC for over ten years. During this time, the program become well-known for displaying offensive commentary. However, MSNBC continued to support the show. In April of 2007, the network sparked outrage when during a broadcast of Imus in the Morning, Don Imus and another MSNBC staff member made remarks about the Rutgers University women's basketball team, considered to be both racist and sexist. Initially, MSNBC refused to cancel the show. After sponsors started withdrawing their advertisements from the show, MSNBC canceled the simulcast of Imus in the Morning.
MSNBC has been criticized regarding the channel's liberal slant. The media watchdog group the Media Research Center has cited MSNBC shows by Keith Olbermann, Dan Abrams and Chris Matthews in its criticism of the network's bias reporting.
Olbermann has denounced President Bush and the Republican Party, calling the latter a "terrorist organization". He has called on President Bush and Vice President] Cheney to resign. Olbermann has conducted post-debate interviews of Republican presidential candidates and led live coverage of presidential primaries. In the February 2008 issue of Men's Journal magazine, a senior executive at MSNBC stated that Olbermann "runs MSNBC" and that "because of his success, he's in charge" of the network.
The left-wing advocacy group Media Matters for America has criticized the MSNBC's commitment to promoting a left-wing agenda since the channel has had shows hosted by left-libertarian Tucker Carlson and former moderate Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough. Ironically, on August 16, 2007 Scarborough revealed an incident in which people in the MSNBC newsroom ceaselessly booed President Bush during a State of the Union address.
In the past, MSNBC shows have featured Mitch Albom, Ann Coulter, Phil Donahue, Bill Moyers, Maury Povich, and Michael Savage, among others. That varied programming was gradually reduced as MSNBC veered more leftist in its point-of-view. Among MSNBC's 2008 lineup, Patrick Buchanan was perhaps the most conservative voice.
In 2003, in an apparent effort to appear more balanced, MSNBC fired talk-show host Phil Donahue. An internal memo read, in part, "Donahue represents a difficult public face for NBC in a time of war. At the same time, our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity."   
On November 5, 2007, the New York Times reported that the cable news channel was in serious discussions with Rosie O'Donnell to have a prime-time show on the network. Under one scenario, O'Donnell would be given the 9 p.m. slot where she would compete with Larry King Live on CNN and Hannity & Colmes on the Fox News Channel. Her show would replace Live with Dan Abrams, a low-rated program that only recently replaced Scarborough Country. The deal later fell through as O'Donnell leaked information about the agreement without MSNBC's permission.
Later in November of 2007, the president of MSNBC, Phil Griffin, flat out admitted that the network has a left-wing liberal bias. In a New York Times article, he said that "it happened naturally" and that "there is a Go for it" mentality when it comes to pushing the liberal agenda among the MSNBC staff.
Continuing its offensive against the Bush administration and its reposition as a left-wing "news" outlet, in December of 2007, the network ran a series titled Bush League Justice with the explicit purpose of attacking the U.S. Justice Department under the presidency of George W. Bush.
In October 2010, MSNBC has publicly acknowleged its liberalism in October 2010 while launching a marketing campaign with the tagline "Lean Forward,"     following several years in which many observers noted a leftward shift in the channel's programming   . As a result, the more non-partisan msnbc.com, a separate company, is considering changing its name to prevent confusion with the television network, MSNBC . Some of the NBC network correspondents and producers, who attempt to be straightforward reporters, say they are embarrassed to be associated with the liberal cable outlet and fear being “tainted” by association with it . The situation became more apparent when NBC News decided to keep Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw away from MSNBC during the November 2, 2010 midterm election coverage .
MSNBC currently has 13 hours of explicitly liberal opinion programming each weekday starting with Dylan Ratigan at 4:00 P.M; then Chris Matthews at 5:00 P.M and 7:00 P.M; Ed Shultz at 6:00 P.M and 4:00 A.M; Keith Olbermann at 8:00 P.M, 11:00 P.M, and 2:00 A.M; Rachel Maddow at 9:00 PM and 12:00 AM; and finally Lawrence O'Donnell at 10:00 P.M and 1:00 A.M; making it the most liberal news outlet in the U.S The 11 hours of "real news" that they have are corrupted by liberals like Contessa Brewer, Chris Jansing, Mika Brezezinski, and the very moderate Republican, Joe Scarborough.
- Official Site
- Photos of the MSNBC studio
- MSNBC President Admits: Lineup Tilts Leftward
- Cable Channel Nods to Ratings and Leans Left
- New York Times; With Deal, G.E. Clears Path to Sale of NBC
- Sarasota Herald-Tribune; Corporate Report
- About Media Research Center www.mediaresearch.org
- Media Matters for America homepage www.mediamatters.org