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October 6, 2010 7:25 PM   Subscribe

NBC Universal and Microsoft are holding talks about changing the address of MSNBC.com, the third most popular news website on the Internet, as its "strictly objective" news coverage and staff become more differentiated from the television network, which is asking viewers to Lean Forward in a new ad campaign directed by Spike Lee.
posted by l33tpolicywonk (24 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I couldn't tell, but the first ad appears to feature a gay wedding among several other images.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 7:26 PM on October 6, 2010


Perhaps corporate parent Comcast will merge it with their one of their other holdings: E! Entertainment Television.

They could replace Olbermann with Talk Soup.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:35 PM on October 6, 2010


I'm a big fan of Mr. Lee's work but this I just really don't get.
posted by Mister_A at 7:36 PM on October 6, 2010


Why hasn't Microsoft sought to exit this, as it has every other content business?
posted by Yakuman at 7:43 PM on October 6, 2010


They're clearly correct about this being a major problem of brand confusion. I had no idea that MSNBC and msnbc.com were supposed to be entirely separate and are different companies. And if I don't know that, the vast majority of the general public doesn't know it either since I watch MSNBC all the time.
posted by Justinian at 7:48 PM on October 6, 2010 [11 favorites]


They could replace Olbermann with Talk Soup.

Or they could leverage the brand recognition of Talk Soup with the venemous retorts of Keith Olbermann to create a show where they show Hollywood clips and Olbermann provides biting sarcasm as commentary.

Why does this feel like deja vu?
posted by Talez at 7:56 PM on October 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, Fox News has solved the problem of brand confusion among their internet properties by simply setting up two websites: FoxNews.com for the news with a conservative bias, and TheFoxNation.com for the news with a ridiculously shameless conservative bias.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:08 PM on October 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


FOX
NATION
AMERICAS TALKING™
ALL OPINIONS WELCOME
ALL FACTS IGNORED
posted by Sys Rq at 8:17 PM on October 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


I had no idea that they were separate properties either. I also had no idea that MSNBC was officially "liberal," since it seems pretty middle-of-the-road corporate, with a slightly higher dose of sanity than usual on cable news networks. Olberman's no further left than Murrow — the overall media sphere has simply largely abandoned its duty to be independent and critical. It's similar to how everyone acts like NPR is all super liberal, when Pacifica is much closer to what a liberal/progressive/left radio network would sound like.
posted by klangklangston at 8:44 PM on October 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


I've been writing for the Entertainment Section of MSNBC.com since '03 (where I wrote about Twitter feeds becoming TV shows just today, he shamelessly self-linked) and I have NEVER been introduced to Keith Olbermann, not even via email. And a few months ago, some parts of the site, including mine, were semi-rebranded to "TodayShow.com" as a primary address and I haven't been introduced to Al Roker either! (Also, I can see the antenna tower of the local NBC affiliate from my front porch and I haven't met any of them either) Even the editor I've worked with all this time, MeFi's Own GaelFC, has gotten her face on MSNBC-TV only a few times, and not in the last couple years (unless she's keeping secrets from me).

I've been thinking some wholesale rebranding was overdue. The name has served well to semi-insulate NBC News from the more opinionated people on the channel, but what does Microsoft think of it? Does Steve Ballmer approve of what Rachel Maddow's saying? Or, for that matter, 'token conservative' Joe Scarborough, who has a THREE hour show outside of prime time?

If they are looking for a new url, I registered NEWSLEEK.COM* several years ago and will gladly let them have it for a most reasonable price.
*for a satirical site like The Onion. Get it? Leek? Onion?
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:56 PM on October 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


Now that I've actually read the post and the link, I realize they're talking about rebranding the site which I think is totally backwards... rename the channel, then use MSNBC.com as an umbrella for NBCNews.com, TodayShow.com, CrazyLiberalChannel.com and maybe CNBC.com. But then, I'm nobody.

And does anybody else get the subtext in the "Lean Forward" slogan? It's FORWARD, as opposed to BECK-WARD.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:15 PM on October 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess I would take this time to ask what Microsoft is doing in there anyway, at all, ever. Originally this had some token connection to MSN, too, you know.

It's really sort of a strange, clunky relationship to begin with, and the cable network has always had an odd there-but-not-there relationship with the website. The ABCNews site has similar integration, but it's much more clearly fit together. CBS never bothered to go in that direction, really.

So to my mind reviewing the fundamental basis of the branding in the first place is in order, no matter how they work it out between the two brands.
posted by dhartung at 9:19 PM on October 6, 2010


I also had no idea that MSNBC was officially "liberal," since it seems pretty middle-of-the-road corporate, with a slightly higher dose of sanity than usual on cable news networks.

MSNBC has Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, Dylan Ratigan, and just recently Lawrence O'Donnell. It's safe to say all of those people are not conservative or right-wing. Personally, I would call all of them liberals, but not as a pejorative (it's lame that "liberal" can be inferred as such), but as a badge of honor. These commentators are proudly left-of-center, though I suppose for those even further left, they would be seen as centrist. But I can't imagine even the leftiest Marxist hippie tree hugger would call any of them conservative.

The right claims that MSNBC is the opposite, the analogue, of FOX News. The liberal FOX News. It's true that MSNBC has unapologetic liberal viewpoints set forth quite often, but to say it's the opposite of FOX misses the point. FOX News has no opposite. That network is so far off the rails of responsible commentary and opinion that it boggles the mind. MSNBC commentators, do, I think, get overly worked up with hyperbole; Ed Shultz comes to mind and I can't really watch him for too long. But any hyperbole on MSNBC still comes from a basis in facts and solid reportage. FOX News commentators, on the other hand, just make shit up. And unabashedly so. Because they know their viewers by and large won't bother to fact check and won't change their mind even if the facts are forced upon them.

Besides, MSNBC has Joe Scarborough, not at all liberal, a conservative that has a few centrist opinions. The only equivalent of a liberal commentator on FOX was Allen Colmes and he was as weak and ineffective as Rupert Murdoch wanted to fill that slot. Shepard Smith occasionally lets out some steam--on the left side--but he's kept on a tight leash and doesn't seem to do much past news reportage.
posted by zardoz at 9:28 PM on October 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


which is asking viewers to Lean Forward in a new ad campaign directed by Spike Lee.

I'm a big fan of Mr. Lee's work but this I just really don't get.

I think Spike is trying to get off the D train and someone is blocking the door.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:32 PM on October 6, 2010


Ed Shultz comes to mind and I can't really watch him for too long.

I doubt it will be a problem soon.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:33 PM on October 6, 2010


FoxNation.com Headlines:
Beck: We Are Lambs Being Led to Slaughter
O'Reilly: Pres. Obama 'Not In Sync With White Working Class Values'
VIRAL VIDEO: 'The Socialist'
Survey: Race Relations Deteriorating Under Pres. Obama
They are one upping Colbert on accident. Holy shit.
posted by notion at 9:37 PM on October 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


Wow foxnation is some scary shit.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:32 PM on October 6, 2010


The whole arrangement was pretty bizzare to begin with. Why is Microsoft doing TV? Legacy of crazy-ass dot-com mania. Tune in for NBC's new network: FacebookBC, featuring news for farmers and other people in the agricultural industry
posted by delmoi at 11:34 PM on October 6, 2010


AElfwine Evenstar: "Wow foxnation is some scary shit."

From just below the fold: First Shot Fired in War on Christmas (seems like it starts a little earlier every year, don't it?)

Note that the "article" is taken verbatim from the Richmond Times-Dispatch (original headline: "Dominion Foundation to sponsor holiday parade"). This seems to be Fox Nation's M.O., and indeed their entire reason for existing: crib articles word-for-word from other sources and re-publish them with the most incendiary headline possible. I guess it's a lot easier to rebrand existing news as bullshit instead of coming up with all the bullshit yourself. At least it's easier on the eyes than Drudge.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:33 AM on October 7, 2010


Let's see: So many failed Microsoft web properties to choose from. I can see why they're having such a difficult time with it.

But zunenbc.com has a nice ring to it, I have to admit.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 1:56 AM on October 7, 2010


Foxnation? They just want their own thing, like you do. At least they don't act like they are better than anybody else.
posted by Student of Man at 4:49 AM on October 7, 2010


You're thinking of Foxnation, the Minnesota tribal group. This is Foxnation, the Fox News antisocial-networking site.
posted by box at 5:05 AM on October 7, 2010


They're clearly correct about this being a major problem of brand confusion. I had no idea that MSNBC and msnbc.com were supposed to be entirely separate

I'm still not convinced that they are "entirely separate." MSNBC.com hosts video clips from MSNBC the TV channel -- and not just objective news but shows like Hardball. (For instance, the clip embedded here.)
posted by John Cohen at 2:27 PM on October 7, 2010


www.clippynbc.com
posted by Sys Rq at 6:26 PM on October 7, 2010


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