Why MSNBC gets accused of being fake – Media Activism in action

Is MSNBC fake news? That ain’t an easy question. But there is a lot we can uncover through exploring. MSNBC is an American based 24 hour paid cable news channel, established on July,15,1996. The Channel covers news stories under NBC News with its own political commentary on current affairs with a technology twist.

MSNBC was launched as a collaborative project of National Broadcasting Corporation and Microsoft with 50% shares.

NBC was the U.S oldest radio station, established by Radio Corporation America in 1926. After few years of its creation, the National Broadcasting corporation announced its first television broadcasting in 1939.

With persistent efforts and hard work, NBC became the most-watched Television channel in a short time interval. In 1996, it became the most influential and number one TV network, while Microsoft was the most powerful technology company at that time.

So, both companies decided to launch a joint project under the name of MSNBC News and the website msnbc.com. Mark Harrington was appointed as the first president of MSNBC, while in 2008, Phil Griffin became its new president. 

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Despite having the same name, the news channel and its website are operated from different sites. MSNBC, owned by NBC Universal News Group, is operated from New York Headquarters while msnbc. com’s headquarters is located on Microsoft campus, Washington.

Working under the umbrella of the world’s powerful companies, MSNBC gained popularity in a short time and became a prominent news channel in the world. One of the unique features of MSNBC is that it delivered NBC News stories by using Microsoft technology for content delivery and communication.

In 2007 and 2008, the Channel focused on politics and opinions in prime time (8-11p.m), which was almost an end to Microsoft and NBC’s online collaboration. But after a few years, the channel attempted to improve its image worldwide by launching a dual editorial relationship with its parent NBC in 2015.

The relationship proved quite beneficial for the channel is expanding its prime-time broadcasting to eight daytime hours.

On June 29, 2015, the president of MSNBC, Phil Griffin, announced the channel telecasts in 1080 High Definition

MSNBC is in the best competitive place it’s ever been, beating CNN in primetime last month and continuing incredible growth. Broadcasting in HD is only going to help us build on the great success we’ve had so far this year, and will give viewers what they’ve been asking for, a full high definition broadcast of MSNBC
Phil Griffin

In July 2017, for the first time in the last 21 years, MSNBC defeated its competitor, Fox News, and became the most-watched news network in weekend prime time.

Its first program was an interview and opinion-based, hosted by Jodi Applegate on July 15, 1996. In the beginning, MSNBC failed to make a prominent place in the News industry due to its internal disputes and low rating. However, the Channel led the era of its success by breaking the TWA FLIGHT 800 crash in the Atlantic ocean, about eight minutes before CNN.

MSNBC Criticisms

MSNBC is continuously subjected to controversies from different media and political figures for its unfair, biased, and Democrat-leaning reporting. Let’s glance over the existing facts to conclude whether these criticisms are fair or just plots against MSNBC. 

MSNBC’s silent policy of supporting their financial supporters

MSNBC is frequently accused of favoring candidates who support them financially while neglecting others. In other words, it is based on the silent policy of ignoring the news that threatens their financial abettors.

Besides, it is criticized for covering news favoring Barack Obama. The study conducted by Project for Excellence in Journalism also confirmed this notion. The study’s result suggested that it covers 14% less negative stories for Obama than other networks. During the 2008 presidential elections, the MSNBC slogan “The Power of Change” was criticized for its similarity with Obama’s slogan of ‘Change.’

Did MSNBC remove Andrew Yang from their polls and graphs?

Recently, MSNBC has received immense criticism for its reporting of Andrew Yang, competing for the 2020 presidential elections but later dropped out of the race. The news network consistently removed Yang from its election coverage and polling graphs.

Just consider the example of a poll conducted by RealClearPolitics. MSNBC cited the survey results and covered all other presidential candidates except Andrew even though he was at number eight. Not only in a single poll, but MSNBC also pursued the same policy in a poll cited on November 18, 2019. CNN conducted the poll, and Yang was ranked at 6th position among the list of total 11 candidates. When MSNBC cited the poll, Andrew was not viewed on the report.

Why MSNBC is convicted for unfair reporting when it comes to Bernie Sanders?

Not only, Andrew Yang, but MSNBC is also convicted for its biased reporting against Bernie Sanders. In recent elections, the network’s hostility towards Sanders could not restrain it from distorting Bernie’s figures. It was not the first time MSNBC targeted Sanders as the network has repeatedly reported false figures and polls about him. Unfortunately, it never retracted and apologized for inauthentic reporting.

You don’t need to recollect examples from the past as MSNBC continued its unfair reporting in the 2020 elections. On July 7, 2020, the network reported a poll’s results, showing descending order of candidates polling numbers except for Bernie Sanders. According to the polling number, Sander’s votes were higher than Warren’s and Harris’s, and he had to be placed at the second number in the graph. However, the network did not hesitate in distorting the facts and placed Sanders at number four.

Democratic influence over MSNBC-leading cause of its controversies

MSNBC is believed to be influenced by Democrats, and many times, the network has been seen supporting Hillary Clinton bluntly. The network’s biased reporting is repeatedly slammed, but MSNBC never exonerated its name from such allegations. 

In March 2020, a journalist Yashar Ali alleged the managing editor of MSNBC, Dafna Linzer, for giving editorial control to the Democratic National Committee. According to Ali, when he decided to announce the DNC debate’s location, he received a call from Linzer, who tried to deter him from the announcement. He said Dafna used unethical and inappropriate words for him on behalf of DNC and said, “let them make few phone calls,” referring to party leaders.

However, these are just a few glimpses of MSNBC’s inclination towards the Democrats and how it alters the facts for its own financial interests.


Despite all their achievements, MSNBC is considered fake or biased for covering news favoring the Democrats, specifically Barack Obama. The study conducted by Project for Excellence in Journalism also confirmed this notion. The study’s result suggested that it covers 14% less negative stories for Obama than other networks. During the 2008 presidential elections, the MSNBC slogan “The Power of Change” was criticized for its similarity with Obama’s slogan of ‘Change.’

Another main reason for criticism is its inclination towards opinions rather than maintaining a balance between news stories and opinions.

What are your thoughts on MSNBC?