Executives at the channel’s parent company, NBC Universal, had high hopes for MSNBC’s coverage of the political conventions. Instead, the coverage frequently descended into on-air squabbles between the anchors, embarrassing some workers at NBC’s news division, and quite possibly alienating viewers. Although MSNBC nearly doubled its total audience compared with the 2004 conventions, its competitive position did not improve, as it remained in last place among the broadcast and cable news networks. In prime time, the channel averaged 2.2 million viewers during the Democratic convention and 1.7 million viewers during the Republican convention.It was all about ratings, wasn't it? The decision to use this format, the "high hopes," and the pulling of the plug.
The success of the Fox News Channel in the past decade along with the growth of political blogs have convinced many media companies that provocative commentary attracts viewers and lures Web browsers more than straight news delivered dispassionately.
September 8, 2008
"The most disappointing shift is to see the partisan attitude move from prime time into what’s supposed to be straight news programming."
MSNBC is giving up on Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews as co-anchors for election coverage. The quote -- in this NYT article about the decision, comes from Davidson Goldin, who used to be the editorial director of MSNBC. He may be very sad to see news coverage go partisan, but that can't be why MSNBC pulled the plug on Keith and Chris.