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MSNBC is an American cable news channel founded in 1996 through a partnership between Microsoft and NBC.

NBCUniversal bought majority control of the channel in 2005.

MSNBC is one of America’s three largest cable news networks, along with Fox News and CNN. Of those three, MSNBC is commonly found to be the most politically liberal, particularly after a shift to the left during former President George W. Bush’s second term. This shift accompanied a shift toward opinion-based, rather than reporting-based, coverage. MSNBC is generally the second-most-watched of the three channels, well behind Fox News and just in front of CNN.

MSNBC’s most prominent personalities are political commentators Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, and Joe Scarborough, as well as political reporter Chuck Todd.

Former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann was suspended in November 2010 for making campaign contributions to Democratic candidates. He resigned in January 2011 after an eight-year run with the channel, moving his show to Current TV.

MSNBC was founded alongside a website, msnbc.com, though that site was corporately separate from the cable channel until 2012, when Microsoft sold its share in the site and msnbc.com was renamed NBCNews.com. NBC relaunched MSNBC.com as a standalone site for MSNBC in 2013. The NBCNews.com Encyclo entry is here.

MSNBC formed a partnership with the digital news data-mining startup Vocativ in 2014 to provide taped video segments for one of its shows.

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Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: March 27, 2014.
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