Glenn Reynolds calls it "reining in the insane clown posse," and links to this in the New York Times:
MSNBC tried a bold experiment this year by putting two politically incendiary hosts, Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews, in the anchor chair to lead the cable news channel’s coverage of the election.Chortle2.
That experiment appears to be over.
After months of accusations of political bias and simmering animosity between MSNBC and its parent network NBC, the channel decided over the weekend that the NBC News correspondent and MSNBC host David Gregory would anchor news coverage of the coming debates and election night. Mr. Olbermann and Mr. Matthews will remain as analysts during the coverage.
The change -- which comes in the home stretch of the long election cycle -- is a direct result of tensions associated with the channel’s perceived shift to the political left. . .
Mr. Griffin, MSNBC’s president, denies that it has an ideology. "I think ideology means we think one way, and we don’t," he said. Rather than label MSNBC’s prime time as left-leaning, he says it has passion and point of view.
But MSNBC is the cable arm of NBC News, the dispassionate news division of NBC Universal. MSNBC, "Today" and "NBC Nightly News" share some staff members, workspace and content. And some critics are claiming they also share a political affiliation.
The McCain campaign has filed letters of complaint to the news division about its coverage and openly tied MSNBC to it. Tension between the network and the campaign hit an apex the day Mr. McCain announced Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. MSNBC had reported Friday morning that Ms. Palin’s plane was enroute to the announcement and she was likely the pick. But McCain campaign officials warned the network off, with one official going so far as to say that all of the candidates on the short list were on their way -- which MSNBC then reported.
"The fact that it was reported in real time was very embarrassing," said a senior MSNBC official. "We were told, 'No, it’s not Sarah Palin and you don’t know who it is.'"
Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams, the past and present anchors of "NBC Nightly News," have told friends and colleagues that they are finding it tougher and tougher to defend the cable arm of the news division, even while they anchored daytime hours of convention coverage on MSNBC and contributed commentary each evening.
Mickey Kaus: "Does NBC realize that MSNBC has become a freakish joke?"