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MSNBC Sticks to Plan, Skips Live Lieberman Coverage

Aug 9, 2006  •  Post A Comment

MSNBC last night stuck to its plan to run a block of documentaries from 10 p.m. til midnight, even as arguably the biggest political story of the year was taking place with Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman conceding in the primary to Ned Lamont.

Instead of covering the Lieberman loss, MSNBC aired virtually without any interruption two “MSNBC Investigates” documentaries, one “The Vampire Killings” and another “The Runaways.” The channel put a graphic on the screen announcing Lieberman’s loss and suggesting viewers go to the MSNBC “Hardball” Web site for information.

Rivals Fox News Channel and CNN covered the political upset with break-in segments and special reports. C-Span covered Sen. Lieberman’s concession speech, in which he promised to run in the general election as an independent.

MSNBC had made a determination earlier that it would announce the results of the primary on an MSNBC.com Webcast and then do wrap-up on “Hardball” later, a network spokeswoman said. MSNBC news executives weighed the news value of the story and decided a Web update and live show later in the evening would be sufficient coverage, she said.

The network began relying more heavily on documentary programming after Dan Abrams, a former NBC legal affairs correspondent and show host, took over running the channel in June, replacing Rick Kaplan.

CNN aired part of Sen. Lieberman’s concession speech during “Anderson Cooper 360” and quickly switched back to Mr. Cooper reporting from the Middle East. Fox News Channel, airing a repeat of The O’Reilly Factor, broke in to air extensive coverage of the speech and analysis. MSNBC aired virtually without interruption two “MSNBC Investigates” documentaries: “The Vampire Killings” and “The Runaways.”