If you've ever wondered what the MS in MSNBC stands for, it's short for Microsoft. Yes, that Microsoft. MSNBC began in 1996 as a joint venture between the computer giant and the broadcasting network, but in 2005, NBC purchased the majority of Microsoft's stake in the channel, becoming sole owner and operator by 2007. Since then, MSNBC has transformed into a liberal alternative to the conservative FOX News Channel. Hosts like Rachel Maddow, Lawerence O'Donnell, Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz, and the now gone Keith Olbermann, helped establish MSNBC as a true counterpoint to the political opinions expressed on FOX's marquee programs such as The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity. While the ratings battle has always been clearly dominated by FOX, MSNBC easily outstrips all other non-FOX cable news channels.
MSNBC.com on the other hand has always remained a joint venture, and is a more general news site. The fiery liberal opinions found on the network are almost completely absent. Rumors even circulated a few years back about the site possibly changing its name, in an effort to separate itself entirely from the MSNBC identity. Now that Comcast owns NBC Universal, that stance seems to be changing. Comcast execs are very interested in having MSNBC on-air personalities like Maddow, Matthews, Schultz and O'Donnell more directly involved with website content, and would like to make MSNBC.com a more clearly left-leaning web news source.
One thing that benefits MSNBC.com is its prominent placement on the MSN portal. Obviously, kicking out Microsoft would endanger this status. Thus the new deal is expected to include some kind of provision that would enable the website to maintain its optimum placement on MSN.
Do you think making MSNBC.com into a liberal political portal would be a good move? Or should the website retain its status as a more neutral source for news?
Source: Ad Week