Less than two weeks ago, MSNBC president Phil Griffin was still defending the network's anchor team to Politico, despite reports of turmoil behind-the-scenes and on-air squabbles. At the time, a high-ranking MSNBC journalist told me the network was "about to blow up."
Well, here's the blow up! The NY Times reports tonight that Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann will no longer anchor during upcoming political news events, as network insiders reveal more about what's been happening.
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.
And there's more.
In interviews, 10 current and former staff members said that long-simmering tensions between MSNBC and NBC reached a boiling point during the conventions. “MSNBC is behaving like a heroin addict,” one senior staff member observed. “They’re living from fix to fix and swearing they’ll go into rehab the next week.”
The Times also reports that "Jeff Zucker, chief executive of NBC Universal, and Steve Capus, president of NBC News, considered flying to the Republican convention in Minnesota last week to address the lingering tensions."