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MSNBC

MSNBC is a 24-hour newschannel owned by NBCUniversal, a Comcast company. MSNBC shares a newsroom and studio with NBC News at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Launched on July 15, 1996, MSNBC was originally a joint venture between NBC and Microsoft. MSNBC acquired Microsoft’s stake in MSNBC TV in 2005 and acquired control of msnbc.com from Microsoft in 2012. Reaching more than 95 million households worldwide, MSNBC offers a 24-hour schedule of live news coverage, political opinion programs and documentaries. Phil Griffin is the president of MSNBC.

Here’s What Happens When Networks Outsource Foreign News Coverage

Vocativ MSNBCEarlier this year, our sister site Lost Remote reported on MSNBC’s partnership with digital news startup Vocativ. The partnership debuted on “Ronan Farrow Daily,” which has been airing “deep web” stories shot and produced by the New York-based start-up Vocativ, which includes TV news veterans in its ranks.

Last week, while most cable news coverage was dominated by conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine, Farrow aired a Vocativ report on Libya.

Midway through the segment last Monday, Farrow played a 3-minute Vocativ report on Libya’s rival militia groups. “Thank you to Vocativ for taking a lot of risks to get us that report,” Farrow said coming out of the report. The risks in Libya became dangerously apparent a few days later when, on Saturday, the U.S. evacuated its embassy, rushing embassy employees to Tunisia as fighting between militias intensified around Tripoli.

In late June, Farrow aired another Vocativ report on Libya’s arms market. Just today, the show aired a Vocativ report on Spain’s recreational drug use.

This type of news outsourcing seems to be gaining steam. With so many foreign stories to cover–and only so many correspondents and producers on the ground — networks are leaning on digital start-ups. The trend is also spreading to social media. Earlier this year, CNN partnered with Twitter and Dataminr to gain a leg up on finding and reporting breaking news.

Watch both Vocativ-produced segments after the jump.
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Let’s Play Hardball…in Canada?

MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” is known for a no-nonsense approach to politics, but Funny or Die’s Canadian spoof of the show probably falls into the opposite category.

In a video posted today, the comedy site debuts its “Hardball” Canada version. A Canadian maple leaf replaces the NBC peacock on-screen and a cast of comedians mockingly play Matthews, Ann Coulter, actress Kathleen Turner, embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, and the hit Canadian indie/pop duo of Tegan and Sara. “Frankly, like most people, I know nothing about Canada…” faux Matthews says to open the show.

Shepard Smith Gets Doused, Challenges Rachel Maddow to do the Same

shepwater

Shepard Smith got doused, all for a good cause.

The Fox News anchor was challenged to get two buckets of ice cold water dumped on him to raise money for the Kay Yow Foundation, named for the North Carolina State women’s basketball coach who died of  breast cancer in 2009.

Part of the challenge is to pass it on. So before he got all wet, Smith challenged three others to do the same. They include former Ole Miss and Arizona Diamonbacks star David Dellucci, Detroit Tigers star Joba Chamberlain and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.

If they do it, Smith will give $50 each to the charity. If they don’t, they have to pony up $250. What’s it going to be, Rachel?

Watch the dousing of Shep, after the jump…

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Rula Jebreal on MSNBC Cancellations and ‘Tragic’ Middle East Coverage

Rula Jebreal 304After causing a cable news firestorm earlier this week, former MSNBC contributor Rula Jebreal spoke to TVNewser this morning about her MSNBC appearance cancellations, contract status, and coverage criticisms.

It was your typical cable news booking scenario for Jebreal on Monday. Sitting in the makeup chair before her appearance on “Ronan Farrow Daily,” she says she was approached by producers from another MSNBC daytime show and booked for the following day. But things changed following that fiery exchange with Farrow, during which she criticized MSNBC for uneven coverage of the Israel-Gaza crisis,  specifically calling out Andrea Mitchell.

Less than an hour after the Farrow appearance, she received an email from a producer cancelling her next-day booking. She would only say it was an MSNBC show with a female host. “I told the anchor I would not mention her name because I like her personally,” Jebreal told TVNewser. “She was not the person emailing me; her producers emailed me. And we talked in the evening when she found out what happened on social media, and she was very upset about it… actually she’s one of the people I admire and respect deeply.”

Jebreal responded to the email, asking if the cancellation decision was due to her on-air criticism, but didn’t receive a response. Yesterday, MSNBC issued a statement on Jebreal’s cancellations, claiming her Tuesday daytime appearances were cancelled to re-air parts of Chris Hayes‘ Monday night exclusive interview with a 15-year-old Palestinian American beaten by Israeli forces.  We reached out to MSNBC for this story, but did not hear back.

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David Gregory’s ‘Meet the Press’ Seat Continues Getting Hotter

david gregory_304x200Another new report suggests David Gregory‘s run as “Meet the Press” moderator is drawing to a close.

The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove expands on a New York Post report, writing that Gregory is “toast,” with either Chuck Todd or the Joe Scarborough-Mika Brzezinski tandem in line to replace him.

In multiple conversations that I had with people inside and outside NBC after the [Page Six] item appeared, it was taken as a given that Gregory is toast. According to my sources, Scarborough, 51, a Washington-savvy former Republican congressman from Florida, and Brzezinski, 47, the supremely well-connected daughter of former White House national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, have been aggressively angling for the job in the event of Gregory’s all-but-certain demise. The 42-year-old Todd, who has occasionally clashed with Scarborough on the air, leading some to believe that there’s little love lost between them, has slimmed down in recent weeks to fighting trim. Todd, who wears a goatee, is also deeply knowledgeable about politics and Washington folkways.

This afternoon, Scarborough addressed the rumors on Twitter.

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MSNBC Responds to Rula Jebreal’s Claims of Cancellations, Uncertain Contract Status

Hayes RulaAfter criticizing MSNBC’s Gaza coverage on-air Monday, Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal says she’s unsure of her future with the network.

“I have no idea…I still don’t know” she said on “Democracy Now” today when asked if she’s lost her job as an MSNBC contributor (watch after the jump).

“My contract is up, and we’re negotiating still,” she continued, also claiming that following her heated interview with Ronan Farrow Monday, where she criticized Andrea Mitchell‘s coverage in particular, producers cancelled her upcoming appearances.

This afternoon, MSNBC issued a statement on Jebreal’s contract status and cancellation claims.

Regarding the claim of cancelled appearances: Jebreal’s pre-booked daytime appearance on Tuesday was bumped to accommodate the re-airing of Chris Hayes’ exclusive interview with Tariq Abu Khdeir, a 15 year old Palestinian American beaten by Israeli forces. Jebreal was a guest on “All In” with Chris Hayes on Tuesday night. While we don’t publicly discuss contract specifics, Jebreal’s contributor deal with MSNBC officially ended last month when she said she wanted to pursue new opportunities. We’ve welcomed her back on MSNBC several times since. Her voice is one of many Palestinian voices on MSNBC.

On why Jebreal was labeled an MSNBC contributor during Monday’s interview with Farrow if her contract ended last month, MSNBC tells TVNewser: “She was labeled incorrectly on Monday’s show due to a production error and we corrected that for Tuesday’s ‘All In’ appearance.”

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‘Pimped Out’ Returns. New Clinton Book Details Old Cable News Firestorm

shuster“Clinton Inc.,” another new book about the former, and perhaps future, White House occupants dredges up a cable news moment that regular readers of this site will recall.

In February 2008, as the Democratic primary for president was heating up, then-MSNBC anchor David Shuster waded into the debate about the Clinton family dynamic and how it plays out on the campaign trail. “Doesn’t it seem like Chelsea’s sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?,” Shuster asked.

That line set off a firestorm from the Clinton camp to the highest levels of NBC and even its corporate parent at the time. Politico reports on an excerpt from the book by Daniel Halper:

According to a source close to the situation, the Clintons called people on the board of NBC’s parent company General Electric to say, “Well, this is outrageous, how NBC News and MSNBC are handling this, and we need to do something about it.” Before long, GE’s chairman Jeffrey Immelt was on the phone with Jeff Zucker, the president and CEO of NBC Universal at the time, and (former NBC News president) Steve Capus asking, “What the hell is going on over there? Why are my board members talking about the reporter, and why is your reporter referring to Chelsea as a prostitute?”

Shuster was suspended for the remark. His employment with MSNBC came to an abrupt end in April 2010 when it was revealed that he took part in the taping of a pilot for CNN. Shuster had been with MSNBC since 2002 following a six-year run at Fox News Channel. He is now an anchor with Al Jazeera America. Ironically, Chelsea Clinton would go on to work as a special correspondent for NBC News.

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MSNBC Contributor Slams Media, Andrea Mitchell, for ‘Disgustingly Biased’ Coverage

Rula Jebreal 304During a segment on “Ronan Farrow Daily,” MSNBC contributor and Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal took on the media–and MSNBC–for “disgustingly biased” Middle East coverage.

“We are ridiculous. We are disgustingly biased when it comes to this issue,” Jebreal said, noting she thinks biased media coverage has helped U.S. officials stay silent when they’re opposed to some of Israel’s actions.

“Look at how much airtime Netanyahu and his folks have on air on a daily basis. Andrea Mitchell, and others–I’ve never seen one Palestinian being interviewed on these same issues,” Jebreal continued. When Farrow pushed back that MSNBC has had Palestinians on-air, Jebreal said “maybe for 30 seconds, and then you have 25 minutes for Bibi Netanyahu.”

She then brought up NBC’s decision to pull foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin last week from Gaza, suggesting that because he was “covering the Palestinian side” in a “too pro-Palestinian” way, he was pulled from Gaza, and only reinserted because of social media pushback. Farrow again pushed back that Mohyeldin is now back on-air, and that MSNBC was currently offering airtime to her.

We reached out to MSNBC for Mitchell’s response to accusations of bias, but haven’t heard back.

Cable News Stars Wheel and Deal

Mika Sam

Some real estate wheeling and dealing among cable news talent, as Mika Brzezinski recently put down roots in DC and Sam Champion continues to try and exit New York for good.

The Washington Post reports Brzezinski recently bought a Georgetown two-bedroom, two bathroom condo for close to $1 million. Brzezinski co-hosts “Morning Joe” from New York City and lives in New York, so the new DC digs must be for the weekends.

Meanwhile, Champion, who moved to Atlanta upon his arrival at The Weather Channel, is trying to make the forecast sunnier for prospective buyers of his NYC penthouse. He reportedly lowered the asking price for his Upper West Side condo another $1 million; the price slash now makes his asking price $2 million less than when he first listed the swanky pad in 2011.

‘Eyewitness’ Guest Tells Krystal Ball Plane Shot Down by ‘Wind From Howard Stern’s Ass’

BallAn unfortunate breaking news blunder this afternoon for MSNBC, as the network was tricked into giving airtime to a prankster posing as an eyewitness to downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.  But Krystal Ball soon found out that wasn’t the case.

At 3:24pmET, Ball introduced an “exclusive” with U.S. Staff Sgt. Michael Boyd.

The man claiming to be Boyd called in saying he was at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, where he saw the plane shot down earlier.  “I saw a projectile flying through the sky, and it would appear the plane was shot down by a blast of wind from Howard Stern‘s ass,” the prankster said.

After this, Ball followed up with another question, asking “Boyd” if he could detail the type of missile system the projectile could have come from. “Well, you’re a dumb ass aren’t you?” the prankster said.

“I’m sorry sir?” Ball asked, seeming to not have heard what he said. She then went to commercial break. We’ve reached out to MSNBC to see how the prankster made it on-air, but haven’t heard back yet.

>>Update
: An MSNBC spokesperson tells TVNewser “this was an unfortunate incident and we immediately clarified for our viewers.”

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