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Comcast, NBC build a wall between MSNBC website, TV channel

Comcast and NBC draw a line between the liberal commentators of the MSNBC channel and the straight-news MSNBC website. 

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Comcast and NBC have drawn a line between its TV hosts and its online news reporters.

Elise Amendola/AP/File

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NBC News and Comcast Corp. moved on Monday to fix brand confusion between the MSNBC 24-hour cable news show, whose ratings have surged with liberal commentators Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz, and the straight-news MSNBC.com news website.

Comcast and NBC bought out Microsoft’s 50 percent stake in MSNBC.com for a reported $300 million. Readers logging onto MSNBC.com on Monday were redirected to NBCNews.com. NBC officials would not comment on the financial terms of buying out their 16-year partner in the venture.

MSNBC will remain the name of the cable channel, and MSNBC.com will become the cable channel’s exclusive website in 2013, which will insulate the objective news product from the more partisan content on the cable channel.

Microsoft is expected to launch its own news service independent of NBC in the fall.

Both NBC and Microsoft praised the partnership but indicated it was time for both companies to control their digital destinies.

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