MSNBC President: “Our brand is not” breaking news.

by Greg Pollowitz

Here’s MSNBC president Phil Griffin in an interview with the New York Times

At MSNBC they view it as rooting against death and destruction: the last thing the channel wants is more months like the last two, filled with terror bombings, tornadoes and plant accidents.

It’s not all altruism. The destruction MSNBC also wants to avoid is the havoc such news has been wreaking on its competitive standing.

In May, MSNBC, which generally runs second to the dominant leader, Fox News, among cable news channels, plunged all the way to fourth place, dropping behind not only its closest rival, CNN, but also that network’s sister channel, HLN (formerly Headline News).

At a time of intensely high interest in news, MSNBC’s ratings declined from the same period a year ago by about 20 percent. The explanation, in the network’s own analysis, comes down to this: breaking news is not really what MSNBC does.

“We’re not the place for that,” said Phil Griffin, the channel’s president, in reference to covering breaking events as CNN does. “Our brand is not that.”

This has to be one of the stupider things I’ve ever heard, especially after NBC and MSNBC were praised for getting their coverage of the Boston manhunt correct while CNN botched it.

When will MSNBC get it that “progressive talk” fails?(Air America, anyone?) Blaming “breaking news” is a cop-out because Griffin doesn’t want to address the reality that viewers just don’t like the channel’s on-air talent. Oh, and remember this bull from above when MSNBC goes all-in with breaking-news coverage from the George Zimmerman trial.



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