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In case you haven't guessed, this is their logo.
You gotta spin it to win it
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Stop the presses!
We want pictures
of Spider-Man!
Extra! Extra!
MSNBC, we’re told all the time, is the liberal Fox News. That’s reductive and stupid...for two very important reasons: It usually demonstrates a greater respect for the truth than Fox News, and it’s not as good as Fox News.
—Alex Pareene[1]
Hillary Clinton was more experienced, prepared, and qualified, and yet she was the one who [Matt] Lauer chose to admonish, cut off, and grill. Meanwhile, Trump skated in and out of that thing like the captain of a high school football team cheating on a Home Ec exam. Oh, did I mention that Trump used to have a show on Lauer's network? How interesting.
—Drew Magary[2]

MSNBC is a website and basic cable news network sitting as the more political side of NBC News. It is sometimes seen as the Democratic response to Fox News, though not an apt analogy.[note 1] It gets far fewer viewers than Fox on a consistent basis.[3]

The site sometimes sometimes spouts incorrect information, such as at one point erroneously labeling racist segregationist senators James EastlandWikipedia and Herman TalmadgeWikipedia as "Republicans" when they were Democrats, which they later corrected.[4]

Its beginnings[edit]

MSNBC was born out of a Microsoft (MS)/NBC partnership in 1996, and it was born out of the corpse of little-watched but cult-followed America's Talking (founded 2 years earlier). Interestingly, this channel was headed by Roger Ailes just before he went on to Fox News (so he kinda created both American cable news monsters).

The liberal response[edit]

In one Daily Show segment, Jon Stewart demonstrated how many MSNBC anchors seem to parallel those over at Fox Noise (Chris Matthews being their Bill O'Reilly and Lawrence O'Donnell being Sean Hannity, minus the connection to a neo-Nazi[5]). But the biggest difference between MSNBC and Fox News is that, while Fox has the nerve to call themselves "Fair and Balanced," MSNBC makes no attempt to hide the fact that it's run by liberals.[note 2] As if their current slogan "Lean Forward" isn't enough. It has to be said though that positions that are considered "out there" and "far left" in the US are par for the course and centrist in most of continental Europe.


MSNBC lagged behind CNN and Fox in ratings for several years, but has received a major boost in ratings with the hiring of a new president Phil Griffin (incidentally from CNN), Barack Obama's election in 2008, and the adoption of The Rachel Maddow Show. In 2017 with the Trump presidency, MSNBC began to soar in ratings again, going from #8 in cable to #2 (no hints as to who #1 is).[6]

News personalities[edit]

The positions of the network are often described as liberal, though it would be more accurate to describe it as representative of the chaotic nature of the Democratic Party, with the hosts having a wider range of views than is seen on the more ideologically pure Fox News.


  • Rachel Maddow - Self-identifies as an "Eisenhower Republican," meaning she's socially liberal, fiscally moderately conservative, and a bit of a hawk on foreign policy, albeit with strong criticisms of the military-industrial complex. Basically, a New Democrat centrist, though unlike most centrists she doesn't care much for Barack Obama. Has confessed on the air that she does, in fact feel the Bern. Whether this was meant seriously remains to be seen, but she does have tendency to criticize the "beltway press" for failing to report on Sanders and the huge crowds he draws. Currently the top rated show on MSNBC and crushing the 9PM (ET) timeslot.
  • Joe Scarborough - Former Republican congressman who represents the right-leaning independents and Republicans who are willing to vote Democratic if the occasion calls for it. Talked up Trump during his show until turning away from him in disgust when he realized he could not control the spirits he had called.
  • Rev. Al Sharpton - Social justice advocate representing the Christian Left.
  • Lawrence O'Donnell - Representative of the so-called 'left-wing faction' of the Democratic Party (if it has one), self-described as "practical European socialist."
  • Joy Reid - Host of The Reid Out, inherited Chris Matthew's timeslot, primarily focuses on race issues
  • Chris Hayes - Editor-at-large of The Nation. Received a dumb backlash when he admitted that it's sometimes incompatible to equate "heroism" with the military.
  • Steve Kornacki - Represents those who vote for the Democratic Party mainly because of agreement on social issues. Absolute data nerd.


  • Dan Abrams - Hosted The Abrams ReportWikipedia which concentrated on crime and tabloid issues.
  • Alec Baldwin - At least MSNBC knows when to turf universally-recognized assholes.
  • Martin Bashir - And again.
  • Pat Buchanan - Was the paleoconservative co-host of Buchanan & PressWikipedia. He was cut for opposing the Iraq War.[7]
  • Ann Coulter - Fired in 1997
  • Tucker Carlson
  • Phil Donahue - Had a short lived show from 2002-2003. He was cut for opposing the Iraq War.[8]
  • Alan Keyes - Had a short-lived show, Alan Keyes Is Making Sense, back in 2002.
  • Keith Olbermann - Was an anchor on MSNBC for eight years before they parted ways and Olbermann became the "chief news officer" for Current TV (which then got bought out by Al Jazeera). He returned to sportscasting and served ESPN for a time before his contract ended. Moved on to GQ to rant about politics for about a year (which was a joy to watch) for charity. Now focused on getting endangered pit bulls to be adopted through Twitter.
  • Melissa Harris-Perry - Meh.
  • Chris Matthews - Center-right, and more or less a perfect example of a Blue Dog Democrat, as seen by his constant fawning over Ronald Reagan.
  • Bill Press - Was the liberal co-host of Buchanan & PressWikipedia. He was also cut for opposing the Iraq War.[9]
  • Dylan Ratigan - His highly rated show concentrated on cronyism in the US government.
  • Michael Savage - Hosted a weekend call-in show The Savage Nation in 2003 before being fired for telling a crank caller "get AIDS and die".[10]
  • Ed Schultz - Left-leaning populist.
  • Greta van Susteren, was there only less than six months after leaving Fox.[11]
  • Cenk Uygur - The Young Turks YouTube host also had an MSNBC show form 2010 to 2011. He claims he left MSNBC due to creative clashes with management.[12]
  • Jesse Ventura - Had a short lived show.

(Yes, there was a time when MSNBC hired rabid right wing hosts, regarding the inclusions of Keyes and Savage.)

Any alternatives?[edit]

NBC News, it's far less political.[13]

If you do watch the political programs sticking with Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes is safe, but one should avoid Chris Matthews, or go with him for a second opinion/some grounding.


  1. At least as far as blatant partisan bias goes, it is.
  2. This is despite the fact that the morning show is actually hosted by Joe Scarborough, who's basically their Alan Colmes by his tendency to criticize others on the right. And despite the fact that Pat Buchanan used to be a recurring guest on many of the shows for a long time.