Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NBC News Separates Itself From Partisan MSNBC

Expands election night coverage into late night hours

NBC News isn't about to acknowledge this publicly, according to Ed Barkley at

But the "unprecedented" decision to expand its Nov. 2nd mid-term election coverage into late night hours seems like an obvious way to keep both Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw away from an increasingly partisan MSNBC. It's a clear line of demarcation between a broadcast network news division that still touts its objectivity and a cable sister whose new "Lean Forward" promotional campaign is aimed directly at the conservative Fox News Channel.

Williams, the NBC Nightly News anchor, and Brokaw, his predecessor, have crossed over to MSNBC during previous big political events. That's largely because they had no place else to go once NBC News ended its coverage.

But MSNBC increasingly has become an uncomfortable spot to be in -- at least during nighttime hours -- if you're otherwise intent on presenting the news in a reasonably unbiased manner. The recent debut of Lawrence O'Donnell's 9 p.m. (central) program gives MSNBC a quartet of avowedly left-of-center hosts, with Ed Schultz, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow the incumbents. Hardball maestro Chris Matthews is somewhat more even-handed, but not so much lately.

On election night at least, there apparently will be scant mixing and matching. NBC is preempting both The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to give Williams, Brokaw and others a home of their own. They'll be joined by Meet the Press moderator David Gregory, correspondents Andrea Mitchell and Savannah Guthrie, and Washington Bureau chief Mark Whitaker.

According to the NBC News publicity release, just two principal players will be crossing over. Political director/chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd and utility news anchor Lester Holt will be dividing their time between NBC and MSNBC.

MSNBC's all-night election night coverage otherwise will be unto itself, with Matthews, Olbermann, Maddow, O'Donnell, Schultz and contributor Eugene Robinson at the helm.

Read more here.

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