Launched in July 1996 as a merger of the Microsoft network (MSN) and the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), MSNBC (get it?) was meant to unite the growing influence of the Internet with the power of television. All it became was just another news channel.
Quite frankly, I don't know why MSNBC deserves to be celebrated for its entire twenty-year history. For a good chunk of these past twenty years, MSNBC's programming has been haphazard and unfocused, changing identities on-air personalities faster than I change my socks; its attempt to become a liberal alternative to Fox News foundered when the ratings did, and the channel's disentanglement with Microsoft made its initials as meaningless as they are superfluous. And no one ever did figure out how the marriage of the Internet and television in news gathering was supposed to be so unique to MSNBC when every cable news channel has a Web site, as well as a presence on social media.
MSNBC started out with a baptism by fire when, shortly after its launch, Trans World Airlines Flight 800 went down over Long Island; soon after that, Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta was bombed during the Summer Olympics. (More about that story later.) Brian Williams - who had not yet replaced Tom Brokaw as anchor of NBC's weeknightly newscast on the main broadcast channel - handled breaking news back then. Ironically, MSNBC has been busy these past few days with a lot of breaking news, and lo and behold, there's ex-NBC anchor Brian Williams handling breaking news again, his demotion from "NBC Nightly News" the result of telling fake war stories.
Although I vowed never to watch MSNBC again after Ed Schultz lost his show on the network, but I have since stopped listening to his podcast and refused to watch his RT America show because of the nasty comments he made about my original choice for President. Now I'm watching MSNBC again. Why, you ask? Because my mother doesn't like CNN, and neither one of us would ever watch Fox News.
But I still can't stand Chuck Todd.