MSNBC is a 24-hour cable news channel. Started in 1996, it is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC.
The channel is the lowest rated of the three major cable news channels. In 2002 the network was even regularly beaten in the ratings by CNN Headline News. In June of 2006, Don Kaplan of the New York Post wrote a column titled "Do We Need MSNBC?" Addressing MSNBC'S low ratings, Kaplan quoted CNN co-founder Reese Schoenfeld, who said 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." In the column 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".
MSNBC has received much criticism for its programming and journalistic ethics. The conservative media watchdog group the Media Research Center has found that MSNBC has a very politically liberal slant. The MRC particularly points to liberal Democrat Keith Olbermann's and liberal Democrat Chris Matthews' programs as examples of the network's liberal bias. In the past, MSNBC shows have featured such prominent liberals as Bill Press, Phil Donahue, and Bill Moyers. Although often perceived as being "left leaning," the network does broadcast programs by such conservatives as Joe Scarbourough and Tucker Carlson.
- About Media Research Center www.mediaresearch.org