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MSNBC is an American liberal pay television network that provides news coverage and political commentary from NBC News on current events. MSNBC is owned by the NBCUniversal News Group, a unit of the NBCUniversal Television Group division of NBCUniversal (all of which are ultimately owned by Comcast). MSNBC and its website were founded in 1996 under a partnership between Microsoft and General Electric’s NBC unit, hence the network’s naming. Although they had the same name, msnbc.com and MSNBC maintained separate corporate structures and news operations. msnbc.com was headquartered on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington, while MSNBC operated out of NBC’s headquarters in New York City. Microsoft divested itself of its stakes in the MSNBC channel in 2005 and in msnbc.com in July 2012. The general news site was rebranded as NBCNews.com, and a new msnbc.com was created as the online home of the cable channel.
In the late summer of 2015, MSNBC revamped its programming; the moves were in sharp contrast to previous programming decisions at the network. MSNBC sought to sharpen its news image by entering into a dual editorial relationship with its organizational parent NBC News. MSNBC Live, the network’s flagship daytime news platform, was expanded to cover over eight hours of the day.
Phil Griffin is the president and director of day-to-day operations at MSNBC. Pat Burkey, Janelle Rodriguez, and Jonathan Wald oversee programming and news operations, with Brian Williams serving as the channel’s chief anchor of breaking news coverage. As of February 2015, approximately 94,531,000 households in the United States (81.2 percent of those with television) were receiving MSNBC.
Commentators have described MSNBC as having a bias towards left-leaning politics and the Democratic Party. In November 2007, a New York Times article stated that MSNBC’s prime time lineup is tilting more to the left. Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz, while previously in the same role at The Washington Post, stated that the channel’s evening lineup “has clearly gravitated to the left in recent years and often seems to regard itself as the antithesis of Fox News”.