MSNBC Profitability…

Under the general theme of MSNBC’s profitability The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz interviews NBC News President Steve Capus and NBCU President Jeff Zucker in an article that’s as much a profile of Capus as it is a review of MSNBC. It’s a must read for some of the quotes in the article. Like this back and forth concerning MSNBC and FNC. Kurtz managed to snag an ultra rare Brian Lewis quote!!!

Fox News, he adds, is “trying to brand us” as a liberal broadcast network because of MSNBC. “It’s a classic political tactic–they don’t like Keith Olbermann, they’re going to come after us. It’s annoying.”

Fox Executive Vice President Brian Lewis responds that “NBC, and especially MSNBC, is not even a blip on our radar screen. We don’t care what they do. Capus must be confusing us with CNN” as a close competitor. (Fox host Bill O’Reilly, for his part, regularly describes NBC as a left-wing network, at one point slamming “Capus and his character assassins.”)

Dan Abrams may bristle at this sentence though…

Capus attributes the turnaround to the channel branding itself “the place for politics,” giving it a long-sought focus after so many short-lived programs with the likes of Alan Keyes, Phil Donahue, Dan Abrams and John Hockenberry.

Update: Eagle eyed Fritz3 notes in the comments that Abrams’ name has been scrubbed from the above sentence! The new sentence…

Capus attributes the turnaround to the channel branding itself “the place for politics,” giving it a long-sought focus after so many short-lived programs with the likes of Alan Keyes, Phil Donahue and John Hockenberry.

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28 Responses to “MSNBC Profitability…”

  1. John Hockenberry? I must have missed that one..

  2. ^ My thought exactly. Musta been really good.

  3. Hey Spud I just read the Kurtz article and Dan Abrams name is gone from the quote you site above. You must have been right about Abrams bristling at his name being used in that context. :-)

  4. Nice catch Fritz!

  5. “It’s a classic political tactic–they don’t like Keith Olbermann, they’re going to come after us. It’s annoying.”

    Is he serious? Let me answer that one… no, he’s not.

    A line like that is so ridiculous that there’s no way Capus didn’t know what he was saying.

    First off, he’s stating it’s “annoying” that FNC goes after them, while never really saying who, when, or what they’ve said. Second, stating that the “tactic of attacking another network” is “annoying” is foolish, especially when everyone knows (and agrees) that attacking FNC and O’Reilly has been KO’s ratings strategy (I believe he called it, “punching up”). Third, he knows that KO is only one of the left-wing opinionater hosts on the network… Ed, Matthews, Maddow, the West Wing guy, etc… so singling out KO as “the reason” is disingenuous at best.

    But he knows all this, and (IMO) the quote was designed to be a finger to all his critics… especially on the right. He knows he can get away with saying that and playing innocent, because nobody’s going to call him on it. He knows the network has made a sharp leftward turn, but as long as people are watching (albeit only 11 or 12 people), he doesn’t care. Really sleazy stuff… and IMO, (and more importantly) not a long term strategy. You can only blame FNC for everything, and deflect to them anytime someone asks you a question for so long. The “FNC boogeyman” is tired and old, and stinks of left-wing desperation and denial.

    Come on, Capus… who are you trying to fool?

  6. Come on, Capus… who are you trying to fool?

    Nobody. Libs get a kick out of it; FNCers have a fit; libs get another kick. Everybody’s happy. ;-)

  7. I’m surprised Spud didn’t pull this portion out and comment:

    NBC, MSNBC and CNBC are on track to have their most profitable years ever, generating about three-quarters of a billion dollars in combined profits. Roughly a third of that comes from MSNBC.

    Roughly? When did MSNBC make the leap from $149M in profit (2009) to supposedly doing “roughly” $250M this year? They haven’t seen an affiliate fee increase. Their ratings are down substantially.

    Why are they shortchanging CNBC’s contributions especially? They were supposed to have profits of around $370M last year. Granted, their ratings have dropped as well, but its CNBC thats pulling the profit ranks for NBC. MSNBC is a blip and it will remain so.

    And he can talk about “morning joe” being a talked about breakfast show but he doesn’t mention how Robin Meade has crushed them in the “Key Demo” for 9 or 10 months straight now. Heck, MJ barely broke 100K in the demo in August.

  8. joeremi Says:
    September 20, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Succinctly put, Joe.

    But don’t you find that pretty slimy? Capus openly lies, everyone knows he’s lying… but, nobody in the MSM calls him on it. Is that the position you want the head of your news department taking… a proud liar?

  9. I don’t really care, Blue. He’s obviously reacting to the Brian Williams/David Gregory NBC-network side being lumped in with MSNBC’s opinionators, and he has a point. NBC News is not blatantly liberal, but conservatives will continue to accuse anybody not called Fox of being so, anyway, so he might as well get pissy about it.

  10. …but he doesn’t mention how Robin Meade has crushed them in the “Key Demo” for 9 or 10 months straight now.

    What’s to mention? Guys are watching headlines from a hot chick with big cans on their way out the door in the morning. Not much of an accomplishment on HLN’s part..not much to discuss.

  11. joeremi Says:
    September 20, 2010 at 9:36 am

    I’ll grant you that, Joe… NBC News is not the same as MSNBC… although, recent cost cutting measures have strongly blurred the lines between the two.

    Of course, FNC haters have continually associated any local FOX affiliate with FNC when it suits them. Let’s not forget how FOX, FNC, and NewsCorp are considered one entity when it fits the “right-wing network” narrative (the NewsCorp donation story is a good example of that, as well as the “FOX News sues to lie” story which was neither about a lie nor about FNC, but a Florida affiliate).

  12. Of course, FNC haters have continually associated any local FOX affiliate with FNC when it suits them.

    My local affiliate used a Peter Doocy piece about COD last night, and regularly runs FNC stuff, so that’s not entirely inappropriate.

  13. a fox station is a fox station. guilty by association. plus YES fox stations do air FOX ‘News’ packages.

  14. “He knows he can get away with saying that and playing innocent, because nobody’s going to call him on it.”
    You just did blue. I know Howie will have a correction up as soon as he sees your comment.

  15. LOOK, the question isn’t whether Fox affiliates and NBC are connected to their cable outlets, but whether they have the same biases. Neither NBC News, nor Fox KTVU in San Francisco, do.

  16. joeremi Says:
    September 20, 2010 at 10:01 am

    And you’ve never seen an NBC News package on MSNBC? You missed the stories about how they were consolidating resources, so you’d seem more cross over?

    If we’re going to play this game, it cuts both ways.

    harry1420 Says:
    September 20, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Then NBC News is the same kind of “guilty” as MSNBC, right? We can all say that NBC News is a left-wing advancement broadcast network? Yes?

    Apply the same standards, and see if you like the results.

    fritz3 Says:
    September 20, 2010 at 10:25 am

    You just did blue. I know Howie will have a correction up as soon as he sees your comment.

    Wow! I had no idea I was so influential. Millions of people, and hundreds of news organizations won’t make a comment about an overt lie and misdirection… but you know, some guy on a blog will comment and that’s good enough. How powerful I must be!

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here. Is it all okay because I pointed it out? Is my comment incorrect? Was it okay for the MSM to play dumb, and for Howie to have ignored the obvious misstatements? What’s your point?

  17. And you’ve never seen an NBC News package on MSNBC?

    See my previous comment. You meandered into “guilt by association”, which isn’t the same as affiliates/broadcast-networks sharing their cable-news relations’ biases. Confused yet?

  18. The article read like a plea from Zucker to allow him to stay on after the merger – perhaps overseeing the news ops, since clearly he and Capus seem to have a decent relationship.

  19. joeremi Says:
    September 20, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Confused yet?

    Indeed.

  20. Blue: It’s OK for Capus to be annoyed just as it’s OK for Lewis to make snide comments. Both coments have some value as FNC does ‘try and brand them as a liberal network’ just as MSNBC tries to brand FNC as a conservative network.
    Capus says he annoyed by that and Lewis made a snarky comment and tries to pretend NBC doesn’t matter.
    MSNBC is liberal and Fox is conservative. So what. It’s no big deal.

  21. MSNBC is liberal and Fox is conservative.

    And CNN is…boring..

  22. Nothing get’s by INB. When he’s offended by something MSNBC says (what he baselessly claims a lie), he will beat that dead horse until everybody agrees with him and submits into his theories.

    By the way, INB also points out that Capus didn’t specifically point out what FNC has said about MSNBC. Are you denying FNC has never attacked them? And has he never watched O’Reilly complain about MSNBC and Media Matters claiming they smear him, without EVER pointing out a single example? He just baselessly says they lie and smear. That’s it… zero examples.

    Plus, if anybody has pointed out the lies FNC has told about MSNBC, it’s Keith Olbermann. The proof is in the pudding, INB. All the videos are on Youtube… check them out sometime. And you act like Capus is playing innocent like he did nothing wrong? Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?

  23. I’m surprised Spud didn’t pull this portion out and comment:

    Well I can’t quote the whole article but the passage you cited did catch my attention but I wasn’t sure just how off Kurtz was.

  24. ProgLib Says:
    September 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Nothing get’s by INB. When he’s offended by something MSNBC says (what he baselessly claims a lie), he will beat that dead horse until everybody agrees with him and submits into his theories.

    Darn me for being passionate about my opinions, and willing to argue them. Oh, for shame… I should just give up when someone like ProgLib says I should! Oh, the horrors.

    Feh.

    By the way, INB also points out that Capus didn’t specifically point out what FNC has said about MSNBC. Are you denying FNC has never attacked them?

    Did I say that? But I would like to know what FNC –the organization– said to convey that message. Apparently, he’s upset about something… and I’d like to know what it was.

    And has he never watched O’Reilly complain about MSNBC and Media Matters claiming they smear him, without EVER pointing out a single example? He just baselessly says they lie and smear. That’s it… zero examples.

    Well, that’s not true at all. He has spoken about MSNBC and MM numerous times, but frequently displays what they’ve said, versus what actually happened. I’m sorry, but you’re making things up.

    Plus, if anybody has pointed out the lies FNC has told about MSNBC, it’s Keith Olbermann.

    Except for when Keith is lying about it himself, making things up, demonstrating his own hypocrisy, and leading the easily led to believe his nonsense.

    My favorite KO story is still the time he was upset that some folks on the right had called Obama a “fascist,” and Howard Dean told him that kind of language didn’t belong in the political dialogue. Of course, a quick YouTube search pulled up KO yelling at GWB for being a “fascist,” but you know… he’s allowed to make the rules up as he goes along.

    The proof is in the pudding, INB. All the videos are on Youtube… check them out sometime.

    Yes, we’ve all seen the poorly edited videos, and cropped comments which appear to help the far left attack FNC… but I don’t think too many educated folks believe them anymore.

    And you act like Capus is playing innocent like he did nothing wrong? Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?

    Let’s imagine for a moment it is… tell me (you won’t, I’ve spoken with you across a few websites and know you’re a dodge writer… you’ll make a comment, put forth some half-truth, and then dodge when someone asks a follow-up… but perhaps today will be different), if Capus is doing the same thing that FNC does… and you constantly complain about FNC… why is it okay for Capus? Why is it okay for MSNBC? Why aren’t you complaining now?

  25. In defense of KO – something you won’t get from me very often – he admitted the “fascist” stuff against Bush when it was flung back at him.
    It’s not fair to remember the charge, but not the rebuttal.

    And yes, FNC has legitimately, uneditedly, presented some ridiculous stuff in their time. The most recent one that went unchallenged by anybody – including the left – was Crazy Sharia Law The Muslims Are Coming Pamela Geller telling Hannity that the President of the United States is anti-Semitic. That particularly revolting and baseless charge was answered with numerous return appearances by the psychotic little b****.

  26. – he admitted the “fascist” stuff against Bush when it was flung back at him. —

    Um, so? He should get credit for owning-up to something that’s plainly obvious? Something that would have prevented any sane person from raising the issue to begin with? Okey.

  27. ^ I just explained that. KO has had to admit to “overdoing it” several times – because he goes crazy and screams his head off (I know the feeling) – and it’s not fair to regurgitate some apparently hypocritical thing he said without addressing that he addressed it.

  28. [...]  ICN reports the sentence in the above first paragraph lumping Alan Keyes, Phil Donahue and John Hocke….” Abrams has turned into an Internet mogul of sorts with the TV news gossip site Mediaite. [...]

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