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MSNBC Criticized For Staying in Taped Programming During Iran Breaking News

The LATimes’ Scott Collins lays in to MSNBC for its lack of Iran coverage last weekend, writing that the channel “has a precedent for giving short shrift to major stories that have erupted on weekends.”

Over the weekend, with its cable rivals devoting generous airtime to demonstrations convulsing Tehran and online viewers transfixed by amateur video of a young woman apparently felled by a sniper’s bullet, MSNBC stuck to its usual diet of taped documentaries…

“We were monitoring the situation closely and decided that we would cover the situation with hourly updates,” MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines tells Collins. “We had an anchor and crew standing by.”

About the documentaries, Gaines says, “these programs generate higher viewership for us on weekends.” In fact, MSNBC came in first in the primetime demo Sunday night, but third in Total Viewers.

“I was surprised they did not break into their air for Iran coverage,” said Marvin Kalb, a former CBS newsman and a senior fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center at Harvard University. “It’s one of the great stories of our time, and something the American people need to know about.”

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