For years, it seemed MSNBC had absolutely no intention of even pretending to be unbiased in its news coverage. But as its already-abysmal ratings continued to slip even further, the network's top brass finally decided a change was needed.
Out: Melissa Harris-Perry (who claims the network mistreated her) and Ed Schultz.
Demoted: Al Sharpton, Ronan Farrow, Ari Melber and Joy Reid.
In: NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd and former NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams.
And now, the network has launched a new ad campaign, which will target conservative audiences, that promotes its library of right-of-center commentators, such as former RNC Chairman Michael Steele, nationally syndicated talk radio host Hugh Hewitt, and former George W. Bush communications director Nicolle Wallace. The campaign's tag-line probably isn't too far from the truth, given the network's generally hard-left audience: "People might start accusing us of leaning too far to the right."
MSNBC President Phil Griffin, noting the network will celebrate its 20th anniversary next month, told Politico this week, "There have been so many evolutions, and look if you don't evolve, in any medium, you're going to lose. So I think we've been in a process of evolution and I feel very good about what we're doing. ...
"The great thing about MSNBC is we cover the big stories the way no one else really does. Not only from every side—from the political angle, business angle, legal angle—but that we take you there and we give it a fuller understanding.
"We like to say we connect the dots around here. I think we've done a far better job in the last year of really making sure we maybe do fewer stories but give fuller understanding to them."
MSNBC is going to try to pull of its evolution, however, without getting rid of its biggest draw: left-wing commentator Rachel Maddow. The rest of the network's "prime time" lineup—which includes other left-of-center pundits Chris Hayes, Lawrence O'Donnell, and Chris Matthews—will remain untouched, as well.
So that begs the question of whether or not it's really an evolution, or just a rebranding of its existing left-of-center ideology that has been frustrating conservatives and Christians for years.
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