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.

Comments (91)
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Anything that is not Fox news.
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CNN has gotten too bland ... I go with MSNBC for personality ..
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No personal attacks pls.
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Quixel, I delete comments with personal attacks. Surely you can make your point without insulting people, right?
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You're on the wrong website. Thanks.
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Yikes. No thanks.
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CNN. I'm a liberal, so why would I watch conservative news? Though to be completely honest I get 95% of my news from the Daily Show and The Onion, so maybe I'm not the best judge "reputable" news sources...
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I like the whole cable tournament bracket thing, but it kinda reminds me of those Slowski turtles from the Comcast commercials. Seriously, 9 months in and we're only in the 2nd round? By the time there's a winner some of these channels won't even exist anymore!
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Not gonna lie, this whole exercise seems like it'll never end.
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When I think brackets I think March Madness and college basket ball, so lets hope we're at least done by March ;)
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For personalities, the win goes to CNN. I hate Blitzer, but enjoy just about everyone else, so if I'm just looking for a generic recap of the day, I'll hit up CNN. But for actual news coverage on bigger, longer events like elections, I go to Msnbc.
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cnn ftw
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Price Peterson is a left wing elitist. To call MSNBC fair is a joke.
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Thanks for reading the piece. Maybe you missed the part where I wrote MSNBC "fully embraced the bias-and-punditry model"?
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I watch MSNBC for the election coverage.
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cnn derp
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probably that only
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I Think that they're all bad, I do say Anderson is probably that only highlight for cnn, and I do like rachel maddow. But when it comes down to it Fox news tell right wing lies, MSNBC tell left wing spin, and CNN likes to dumb down the news. The only thing that they all have in common is that they do thing to protect corporations. The fact that none of them covered SOPA and PIPA until the internet black out day occurred proved it.
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Stop mentioning Fox News, they are the worst and the most biased news channel that I have ever seen. They are worst than the North Korean state media... :)



My vote goes to CNN (or BBC world news, yes, yes, I know it's not on the list)...
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MSNBC
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CNN because at least it tries to not be biased MSNBC and FOX News
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cnn news
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Fox News is the best!



CNN MSNBC are the worst!
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CNN...
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Actually Price, I think you're forgetting Anderson Cooper gets two bonus points...one for each of his eyes...



Also, maybe next time you should split the cable news networks and have them battle against different types of networks obviously a cable news network is not going to be the last man standing and this debate is getting a little too heated for me.
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Great point. Believe me I didn't want to include cable news at all. It makes people so mad!
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What's the better news channel? Neither one.

What's the BEST news channel? Fox News.
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So I can't respond with Seth Meyer's SNL news coverage?There is no way of answering this question without it veering towards the political and I approach news along the lines of....I'm misinformed when I watch and I'm uninformed if I don't. What's the lesser of two evils? If I had to choose between getting run over by a car or falling off a cliff...I choose the car. CNN. It has Anderson Cooper and sometime he's fun to look at.
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careful your morals (or lack thereof) are showing
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A recent survey by PPP showed that most rightwingers get their "news" from Fox, while normal people get their news and opinion from a variety of sources.



Which do you think is healthier?
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Rachel Maddow is great. She tells the truth. Period.



But what's wrong with Anderson Cooper? Yes, he can be a centrist bobblehead at times, but otherwise I think he's pretty cool.
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It's not rocket science.



If you prefer straight news, mixed with center-right opinion shows, you choose CNN.



If you prefer progressive center-left opinion shows, mixed with some straight news, you choose MSNBC.
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I vote MSNBC
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I choose CNN because they don't get into extremism, they have good documentaries and their female anchors are really pretty.
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MSNBC.
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CNN.
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I will give it to CNN, it is the more neutral of all three cable news (CNN, Fox News, MSNBC). With the other two networks, CNN truely does come out close to the middle. It has positive and occassionally intelligent left and right winged politicians and commentors (though it is not hard to see it leans more left than right). I am more center/right winged and I will even admit that MSNBC gives me a headache, Fox News makes my head explode.
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Two words: Rachel. Maddow. I don't see CNN putting on an anchor who also happens to be a Rhodes scholar.

Also, Morning Joe is the most entertaining morning show on any network, and it's fun to watch Lawrence O'Donnell try to pick fights with Donald Trump just so Trump will mention him.

Now if we could just get the smarmy out of Martin Bashir and get a filter (and maybe a brain) into Chris Matthews, MSNBC would be cable news perfection (granted, that isn't saying much).
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Calling Bashir "smarmy" sounds a bit racist, even if you didn't intend it that way.



I was not a fan until I saw him on the Bill Maher show a couple days ago.
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Did you mistake "smarmy" for "swarthy"? Only one of those can be construed as racist. Unless it's racism against British people, which I'm not even sure I've ever heard of.
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Smarmy is in no way racist. It means: revealing or marked by a smug, ingratiating, or false earnestness (merriam-webster).

Please be careful before accusing someone of "sound[ing] a bit racist", I understand you're probably well intentioned but it could start an ugly conversation that nobody really wants.



As I'm the only one replying to this comment so far I do see the slight hint of irony in that last sentence, but hopefully people will see this the way I intend it; solely to clear the word smarmy from any kind of racist connection.



(Why do I feel like I'm digging myself a breat big hole?)
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Sorry if my post came out wrong. I just meant that he often comes off as smug and condescending, especially when he seems to be trying to unfairly entrap a guest (there was a particularly egregious incident last week where he was interviewing a congressman and out of left field basically accused him of being a deadbeat dad).

The only part of his show I like is the final 30 seconds when he tosses to Dylan Ratigan. The two of them routinely have some of the day's best banter.
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Wow how incredibly bigoted you are PRice Phistiyourass



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 event



hmm ca you be any more obvious for your hatred and bigotry and your so slightly(lol)leftist bent...ok your EXTREME LIBERAL BENT i just have to say thaks Ted Trer you robber/land barron crook for giving us such a dasterdly ad brazenly left wing CNN ad it's eve more evil twin MSNBC...Please oe of the 2 of you take back your dog Price,you must have let him out of his cage to spew his bigotry!!
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This one I'll leave up so that people can see why I've deleted all the rest. Sorry quixel, this may not be the website for you.
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It's nice that you have such a strong opinion, but your numerous posts are barely readable. English being your second language is only a valid excuse when you're not being so childish.
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CNN is a joke now and has become so unprofessional just like FOX Spews. The CNN debates are a clown super bowl.

MSNBC has the best, most informed hosts that report facts and real news.
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Tough choice. Let's see, do I prefer leprosy or syphillis?

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go with leprosy
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I don't know at least you get a little pleasure out of contracting Syphilis first.
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LOL
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I'm surprising myself with this but my vote goes to MSNBC. MSNBC has Rachel Maddow, plus I can't in good faith vote for the network that employs Anderson Cooper.
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CNN,
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I watch Fox News Channel.
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i just want move this along real fast so...CNN
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I love CNN for the headlines but MSNBC is more entertaining
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Since Olberman left MSNBC, I'm not that concerned but I'd take MSNBC over CNN. Anything mainstream is more right wing propaganda / "popaganda" so it's best to go FSTV / LINKTV for the truth.
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CNN gets the win. I'm a conservative, so if I have to watch any TV news it usually is FOX news, but then CNN and then MSNBC. Normally, though, I read the BBC, NY Times, and Der Spiegel (I can read German). I find that international news sources report more unbiased fact on America than any American channels/publications (I read the NY Times to get A native perspective and the crossword). But that's just me.
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I love MSNBC's reruns, and I hate CNN's Zany Morning Show with Bite, but I feel obligated to pick CNN. They're the worldwide leader in politics.
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It all depends on what you're looking for. If you're a typical liberal than CNN is your news source. If you're a full fledged American hating, communist loving, occupy wall street criminal admiring leftist than MSNBC is your news channel.
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ridiculous
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Frankly, all the cable news channels are bad. Why? Because the fact that they are 24-hours. Nothing important happens every hour. I'm only voting for CNN because its the "best". Can' wait to see it get beaten the crap out of in the eleite eight.
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CNN is ridiculous. Holograms, prank calls..come on. How can people take it seriously? I vote Science Channel
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do i have to choose? because the real answer is niether
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"niether"



?
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CNN. I don't watch either one, but I did enjoy seeing Anderson Cooper with a case of the giggles last year :)
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CNN because it is not biased. Never was. That's just something people on the right say. They say it about NPR, they say it about higher education. They'd say it about the BBC if it were on their radar. They're very consistent about the way they try to move the political center in America further right. MSNBC is the thing Fox always claimed CNN was, and I don't want my news delivered with spin from either side. I hate news, and if I'm watching it it's because I want plain old ordinary unbiased facts. Honestly though, TV is a crap medium for news.. If I want news, I want it on demand and I'm going to get it off the Internet. It's like asking which foods make the best toilet paper. I guess you could wipe with a piece of bread, but why would you?
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