Archive for the MSNBC Category

MSNBC To Launch Streaming Video Hub…

Posted in MSNBC on December 15, 2014 by icn2

Variety’s Brian Steinberg writes about some MSNBC experimentation…

The cable-news outlet best known for progressive commentary from Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes is launching a portal of streaming-video programming that its top executive, Phil Griffin, expects to have a great deal of influence on the cable network in months to come. Through the new digital initiative, known as “Shift by MSNBC,” the network will serve up new topics and introduce new contributors that could gradually make their way to the cable network, Griffin believes – depending on the traction they gain among audiences. “Shift” is expected to launch Monday morning.

“We’ve got to keep evolving,” he explained during a conversation in his office at NBCUniversal’s 30 Rockefeller Center headquarters. “We are going to broaden the aperture, but keep the sensibility. Times change and evolve. We had great success in 2006 to 2012, 2013, with our sensibility, but I think now, with the media exploding, we’ve got to adjust a little bit too, and figure out new ways to grab audiences.” Among the new offerings is “The Briefing,” a political program hosted Monday and Fridays by Luke Russert, and “Code Forward,” a discussion of issues raised by new technology, developed in partnership with the tech-news outlet Re/Code.

The launch comes as MSNBC pushes against the same headwinds rivals are facing: Cable-news ratings have over the long term sunk as viewers turn to mobile devices and digital techniques to get information about their world. Replenishing this crowd with younger viewers becomes tough when millennials and the generation behind them seem more comfortable with streaming video that does not require a subscription to a satellite or cable distributor. Last month, MSNBC saw its total viewership fall 13% and its audience in the demo most favored by advertisers in news programming — people between 25 and 54 — tumble 16%, according to Nielsen. In 2013, the network saw its primetime audience decline 24%, according to analysis from the Pew Research Journalism Project.

Van Susteren vs. Sharpton…

Posted in FNC, MSNBC on December 2, 2014 by icn2

The Wrap’s Jordan Chariton talks to Greta Van Susteren who has a few things to say about Al Sharpton over Ferguson…

“I think Al Sharpton has injected himself way into it, and I think he has poured gasoline on the fire,” Van Susteren told The Wrap. “I’m so disappointed in Al Sharpton because he has the platform to heal, and he hasn’t done that — he actually could have done some good. He certainly hasn’t helped matters.”


“I’m a friend of Rachel Maddow’s, it’s just I’m driving home at night by that time, so I miss her show, but I won’t watch MSNBC because for the life of me, I don’t understand Al Sharpton sticking his nose into it and being part of the story.”

Can’t argue with Greta on this…

Rachel Racusen to Head MSNBC PR…

Posted in MSNBC on November 21, 2014 by icn2

White House Associate Communications Director Rachel Racusen has joined MSNBC and will be its VP of Communications.

Today MSNBC announced the hiring of Rachel Racusen as its new VP of communications.

Racusen, who will handle comms and media strategy while partnering with editorial and business leads at the network, will also serve as MSNBC’s primary spokesperson moving forward.

For those of you wondering if this was an accident or coincidence…it apparently wasn’t

We just heard from an anonymous source who applied for a top media relations job at the network. The source tells us that the planned rebranding played a large role in the interview process and that MSNBC demanded someone with close “White House connections” for the job.

I am very curious how someone with “White House connections” can make a difference in a PR position for a cable network. How will this play out? More outreach to progressive blogs? Bypassing traditional media outlets? What’s going to happen next?

Al Sharpton Organization: Tax Delinquent?

Posted in MSNBC on November 18, 2014 by icn2

The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple writes about a New York Times article on an Al Sharpton organization’s tax problems…

“Mr. Sharpton has regularly sidestepped the sorts of obligations most people see as inevitable, like taxes, rent and other bills,” claims the piece. Even with his tax liabilities, notes the story, Sharpton “traveled first class and collected a sizable salary.”

Though he anchors “Politics Nation” on MSNBC on weeknights, Sharpton is a target of far greater resonance than a cable news host. The longtime rabble-rousing Brooklyn preacher and civil rights activist has become a player of national import under the Obama administration. As explained in an August piece in Politico Magazine by Glenn Thrush, Sharpton had transformed himself into the Obama administration’s “go-to man on race.” After the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August, Sharpton established himself as the “de facto contact and conduit for a jittery White House seeking to negotiate a middle ground between meddling and disengagement.”

All of which makes him a large and fair target for a newspaper investigation.

And then we get to the (relevant to this blog) part of the Wemple’s article…

MSNBC has all but invited this embarrassment. As the Erik Wemple Blog has reported, Sharpton negotiated his contract with MSNBC under the stipulation that his work as an activist would continue. In remarks in D.C. last year, Sharpton recalled what he told MSNBC President Phil Griffin about his status: “I said, well, I’m still going to run NAN, I’m still going to be an activist.” Griffin responded positively. “He said, ‘Put it in the contract. We’d never interfere with what you’re doing, your civil rights work,’” Sharpton quoted Griffin as saying.

On one level, Sharpton’s various hats carry implications for the ethics of his work at MSNBC. Being an anchor on a news network while also serving as a big shot at the White House and the head of a civil rights group creates a jumble of undiagrammable — and almost unknowable — conflicts of interest.

Yet the other level of concern is precisely what the Times has exposed: Sharpton Inc. is a sprawling concern, clearly more than one overbooked man can handle. By employing Sharpton as a prominent figure in its news rotation, MSNBC must own the failings of his empire. A spokeswoman for MSNBC says the network has no comment on the situation.

Well now we have two cable news networks with increasingly radioactive hosts; CNN with Fareed Zakaria and MSNBC with Al Sharpton. Some will say Sharpton already was radioactive and there is truth in that. However most of Sharpton’s prior baggage has been of the divisive ideological kind…a type of radioactivity that MSNBC was inoculated against because it was craving the demographic Sharpton catered to. But tax troubles and fiscal administration issues are a different kind of radioactivity which crosses ideological boundaries relatively intact.

Phil Griffin on’s One Year Anniversary…

Posted in MSNBC on November 6, 2014 by icn2

The Wrap’s Jordan Chariton, who has quickly stolen the title of “Unofficial Conduit to MSNBC of Choice” from The Hollywood Reporter’s Marisa Guthrie (Three leaks in just one week?!?! A blind man could draw a line connecting those together), gets a hold of…wait for it…another internal memo from Phil Griffin on the one year anniversary of the launch of the new…

“It took a huge amount of work, but we did it. And the results have been amazing,” MSNBC’s president tells staff

A year after launched, network president thanked staff Thursday.

“One year ago we set out to create a true digital home for MSNBC’s passionate community to engage with us and each other,” Giffin said in a memo obtained by TheWrap. “It took a huge amount of work, but we did it. And the results have been amazing.”

MSNBC’s Evolving Strategy…

Posted in MSNBC on November 4, 2014 by icn2

The Wrap’s Jordan Chariton writes about MSNBC’s evolving programming strategy…one that seems to be centered on getting its talent out on the road more often.

And in the heat of summer, MSNBC sent Chris Hayes and anchor Craig Melvin to cover the chaotic scene in Ferguson, Missouri in the aftermath of the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. The duo bunkered down there for a full week of coverage, making news as the victims of rocks being thrown by protestors. Hayes interviewed police officials and protestors on his primetime show throughout the week.

Insiders familiar with that programming decision told TheWrap sending Hayes to Ferguson was simple: it was a story MSNBC should own, and the network couldn’t analyze the issue from the sidelines while its competitors had multiple anchors on the ground, covering the story wall-to-wall.

It also should be noted it was Hayes, one of the more reporter-focused commentators on the network–and not Al Sharpton, a polarizing opinion host at MSNBC most linked with race-related stories–to report on the ground in Ferguson.

Insiders familiar with the network’s strategy told TheWrap the pivot from solely covering the nitty gritty of D.C. politics from studios to thrusting talent into the places most affected by the politics is just a small part of a broader strategy the network is still developing. As speculated, that could include programming and talent changes in the coming months.

Jose Diaz Balart to Anchor Two Hour Daily Rundown…

Posted in MSNBC on October 30, 2014 by icn2

The Wrap’s Jordan Chariton writes that Jose Diaz Balart will get The Daily Rundown which will now air for two hours.

The morning show formerly hosted by Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie will be anchored from Miami starting November

The MSNBC show left behind by Chuck Todd now has a host in the form of José Díaz-Balart, who will anchor an expanded “Daily Rundown” from 9 a.m.-11 a.m., individuals with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.

The Miami-based Díaz-Balart, who debuted on MSNBC at 10 a.m. in July and also anchors an evening newscast on Telemundo, will anchor the morning show that under Todd was based in D.C. and focused on politics.

What gets me is Phil Griffin’s not so internal internal memo that just happened to get leaked to Chariton…this part in particular…

Jose Diaz-Balart joined the msnbc family in July and is already off to a great start. He’s introduced new voices and a fresh perspective to our network. Thanks to his deep experience as an anchor he has the ability and flexibility to deliver dynamic coverage of breaking news events – as they develop.

There are internal memos which are designed for internal consumption and just happen to get leaked. And then there are internal memos which are designed for external consumption and must get leaked in order to be successful. This is the latter.

Griffin is so nakedly obvious in what he’s doing here it’s embarrassing. He writes an internal memo which ticks off all his recent public talking points. You don’t do that for an internal memo you want to send your employees. You do that when you want to send out a press release in the form of an internal memo.


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