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Where There is Opinion, There is Revenue

In Brian Stelter‘s NYTimes profile of Rachel Maddow, which focuses on how the MSNBC host and her colleagues are ramping up their criticism of Pres. Obama, there is this conclusion about why opinion on a news channel is good business.

MSNBC is projected to take in $365 million in revenue this year, roughly the same amount as last year, when the presidential election bolstered its bottom line. Three years ago, before making a left turn, it had revenue of about $270 million a year.

Gary Carr the executive director of national broadcast for the media buying agency TargetCast, said the opinions matter less than the ratings they earn. With cable’s prime-time opinion shows, “you’re reaching a lot of people,” he said.

As for the criticism of Pres. Obama, Anita Dunn, the outing White House communications director, calls Maddow, and her lead-in Keith Olbermann, “progressive but not partisan.” Maddow tells Stelter that apart from that off-the-record meeting with the president last month, “she has heard little from the White House.”

MSNBC president Phil Griffin says, “We heard a whole lot more from the Bush White House.”

• Check out the whole story here for more on Maddow’s mission and why she doesn’t think she has a “constituency” like some other cable news hosts.

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