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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.

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.”

WATCH:

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Lauren Skowronski Leaving MSNBC

Lauren Skowronski headshotMSNBC’s VP of Media Relations Lauren Skowronski is leaving the network to become VP of Corporate Communications at NBC Universal.

In a press release issued by NBCUniversal today, the network announced Skowronski’s promotion. She’ll report to SVP for corporate communications, Cameron Blanchard, and oversee media and communications for NBCUniversal’s Strategy and Business Insights. She starts August 11.

Skowronski served as MSNBC’s VP of media relations since 2012, when she was promoted after serving as director of media relations for MSNBC. Over the last year, she’s had rapid-response duties dealing with multiple controversies surrounding now-former MSNBC hosts Martin Bashir and Alec Baldwin.

No word yet on Skowronski’s replacement at MSNBC.

Politico’s Dylan Byers first reported the move earlier this week.

Happy Birthday MSNBC

msnbclogo_304x200MSNBC is now able to vote. The NBCU cable channel turns 18 years old today.

MSNBC went on the air July 15, 1996, as a partnership between NBC News and Microsoft. The two companies built a $200 million newsroom in Secaucus, New Jersey for the online and on air operation. On cable, the network took over the 18-month-old America’s Talking, which had been the brainchild of Roger Ailes. Ailes would leave NBC and join News Corp. Three months after MSNBC went on the air, Ailes would flip the switch on Fox News Channel.

MSNBC and Fox News began to chip away at the 24-hour news network monopoly held by CNN. By 2002, Fox News would overtake CNN as the most-watched network. MSNBC shuffled anchors and experimented with various programs throughout the early 2000s and only began to make its mark, as an outlet for progressives 2007: the left’s answer to Fox News. It too, would overtake CNN in the ratings.

In 2005 NBC bought full control of MSNBC TV from Microsoft. Two years later, in October 2007, the network moved across the Hudson River to 30 Rockefeller Plaza where NBC News unveiled a new world headquarters for the combined MSNBC/NBC News.  In 2012, NBC acquired full control of msnbc.com.

MSNBC’s Touré Stops Tweeting

Toure 304Following strong pushback from the Jewish community in May for Twitter comments deemed anti-semitic, MSNBC’s Touré has apparently found his social media solution: stop tweeting.

BuzzFeed’s Dorsey Shaw noticed yesterday that “The Cycle” co-host hasn’t tweeted since May 27, when he penned a tweet apologizing for “using a shorthand that was insensitive and wrong.”

The shorthand was in response to a user describing their family’s experience during and after the Holocaust. “The power of whiteness,” Toure tweeted in response.

“It was Touré’s personal choice to stop tweeting after deciding he has more valuable things to do than be on Twitter,” an MSNBC spokesperson tells TVNewser. “This was not a push or decision made by management.”

José Díaz-Balart: ‘I’m Not an Activist, I’m a Journalist’

JoseDiazBalartPolitics may be the family business, but José Díaz-Balart decided long ago that journalism was his passion. This morning, Díaz-Balart, who anchors Telemundo’s evening news and its Sunday public affairs show, adds another hour of live TV, as host of MSNBC’s 10amET hour. (MSNBC and Telemundo are both owned by NBCU.)

“If you’re going to watch my show to be strictly reaffirmed that your personal opinion is the only good ones, you’re going to have some moments of bitterness,” Díaz-Balart told us in an interview last week. “It really is about opening up lines of dialogue, opening up to other communities, opening up to other thoughts across the board.”

That goes against the grain of most of MSNBC’s afternoon and evening programs, which lean left, toward a progressive audience. Díaz-Balart is the younger brother of republican congressman Mario Díaz-Balart and former GOP Rep. Lincoln Díaz-Balart. The family has strong ties to South Florida’s Cuban community. Díaz-Balart’s aunt was Fidel Castro‘s first wife.

Born in Ft. Lauderdale, Díaz-Balart graduated from New College in Sarasota, where he began his career as a radio reporter. With TV jobs on both sides of the border — as Central American bureau chief for Univision in El Salvador, later reporting for WTVJ in Miami as well as CBS News This Morning — doubling his workload pales in comparison to what the people he reports on, are facing right now.

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Congressman Gets Bumped from MSNBC for LeBron James News

RussertWhile substituting for Andrea Mitchell this afternoon, Luke Russert cut a Congressman’s interview short to cover the big breaking news of the day: LeBron James returning to Cleveland.

Less than a minute into their interview, which started at 12:38pmET, Russert told Rep. Steve Israel, “We’ll have more from you later in the show, I’m sorry though, King James is making his decision known, and that bumps you out, but thank you so much for joining us.” Russert then went to a phoner with Cleveland sports radio host Mark Bishop.

Russert first reported the news of James’ return to the Cleveland Cavaliers at 12:29pmET.

Fox News Harris Faulkner interrupted an “Outnumbered” panel discussion to break the news at 12:27pmET.  CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield broke the news at 12:29pmET.

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