In an interview with Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw said that the network was better off than its rivals because it had a cable news channel, but added that the wide array of choices is a challenge to consumers.
“Listen, we’re better off than (ABC and CBS) because we do have cable,” Brokaw said. “Where it got sticky is when our commentators were anchoring political coverage. Those are, in some ways, incompatible roles. We worked our way through that.”
Cable does allow the network to cover breaking news more quickly, except that in MSNBC’s case it has often resorted to taped programming on the weekends leaving them to lag on some stories. Also with the cable network a distant second to Fox it is questionable as to how much NBC really benefits. After all, with the Olbermann affair the network received plenty of unwanted attention.
Brokaw is right though that using Olbermann or Matthews to anchor election coverage does open up the network to accusations of being biased, versus using the supposedly unbiased evening news anchors.
Maybe what we need is a C-SPAN model on the evening news of just reporting the results without commentary. It might be a little dull but it would probably be less infuriating.