What's the Better News Channel: CNN or MSNBC?

Ladies and gentlemen, BLOW OUT isn't just a canceled Bravo reality series. Congratulations to...

The competition wasn't even close. Even though IFC gets a fraction of the ratings Bravo does, it's clear that the people do NOT approve of its programming. These commenters know what I'm talking about:

prettyedy: "Bravo went from Art House to an overflowing Outhouse of stinky 'reality' shows. My vote is for IFC. I love Portlandia and the IFC awards."

withoutcanseco: "Delete all Real Housewives shows on sight! IFC!"

herropreez14: "I dont watch tv, it ruins ur mind."

Umm okay! Anyway, speaking of rotten minds, let's talk about cable news!

This week's showdown will be super serious, VERY important and feature more on-screen chyrons than anyone can possibly bear!

Background: Noted granddaddy of cable television Ted Turner created the Cable News Network back in 1980, making it the first ever 24-hour news channel in the nation. Originally a homegrown Atlanta production co-anchored by a married couple (paging Tim and Eric!) CNN now reaches over 100 million international viewers, has spawned a major spin-off in Headline News, has made stars of many of its on-air personalities, and remains one of the most high-profile news outlets in any medium.

Original Programming: CNN runs a fairly typical schedule of hard news during the daytime (Early Start, Starting Point, CNN Newsroom) while airing punditry and/or talk shows in the evening (Piers Morgan Tonight, Anderson Cooper 360°) and more specialized programming on weekends (Sanjay Gupta MD, Reliable Sources, State of the Union with Candy Crowley). Other stalwarts have included the recently retired Larry King Live and Crossfire, which was famously canceled after Jon Stewart repeatedly shamed its crass sensationalism on The Daily Show.

Reruns: CNN's reruns are limited to rebroadcasts of its news shows as well as the occasional CNN special from its huge archive of single-topic documentary series.

Why It's The Best: In the face of, let's say, slightly sensationalistic competition, CNN remains admirably restrained in tone and relatively trustworthy (for cable news). Plus it has Anderson Cooper.

Why It's The Worst: Fox News Channel's success is basically CNN's fault. Due to what was perceived as CNN's pronounced left-wing bias, the Fox News Channel rose up to provide an outlet for a decidedly right-wing interpretation of current events (the wildly ironic "We report, you decide" catchphrase is essentially a middle finger pointed directly at CNN). So thanks A LOT for that, CNN.


Background: MSNBC was founded in 1996 during the cable news explosion of the mid-'90s that also wrought the Fox News Channel. Originally a collaborative partnership between NBC News and Microsoft and intended to report thoughtful, serious news, it floundered in irrelevance for about ten years before fully embracing the bias-and-punditry model with which Fox News had struck ratings gold. After Microsoft sold its stake back to NBC, MSNBC was and still is fully owned and operated by NBC News and is now viewed as a legitimate force in primetime cable news ratings, frequently attracting more viewers than even CNN.

Original Programming: Most of MSNBC's weekday schedule is broken up into personality-centric blocks of news reporting and commentary. The network's most notable on-air personalities include conservative Joe Scarborough, dreamy Thomas Roberts, possibly insane Martin Bashir, and the genuinely entertaining Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow. Most of these shows have similar formats: The host reports a headline, then throws to a disembodied head in a floating box for an opinion. Hard news!

Reruns: Because MSNBC is part of the NBC News family, it has an extraordinary archive of documentaries and specials to air on weekends and during off-hours. Things like Lockup, Dateline NBC and To Catch a Predator benefit from frequent repeats.

Why It's the Best: Remember when Deep Impact came out right after MSNBC first existed and the main reporter lady worked for MSNBC and got all the important scoops? That was hilarious. I LOVE Deep Impact.

Why It's the Worst: The less cable news I watch, the longer my life will be? Medical fact.

Official TV.com Verdict
I personally detest cable news more than anything else on television, but CNN gets a +1 for employing Anderson Cooper.

But now it's your turn! COMMENT BELOW and tell us your verdict: CNN or MSNBC? And make your case! What do you love or hate about each channel?

Click below to see the full tournament bracket:

Note: Because we started with an odd number of channels, we gave some of the bigger channels a first-round bye.

Want to catch up on past battles? Head over to the America's Got Cable archives.

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