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Bieber Coverage Proves That MSNBC Is Back In The Breaking News Business

The cable network's overlords at NBC News seem to be winning the war over programming.

Posted on January 24, 2014, at 12:07 p.m. ET

Fusion labeled the Bieber story "Insignificant Breaking News."

Fusion labeled the Bieber story "Insignificant Breaking News."

While fledgling cable news outlets like Al Jazeera America and Fusion very publicly declared that they had no interest in covering the Justin Bieber arrest saga, the big three — Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC — waded knee deep into the story.

As recently as June 2013, MSNBC President Phil Griffin famously said that his network was "not the place" for breaking news. The pushback from NBCUniversal News Group Chair Patricia Fili-Krushel seems to have worked.

A perfect example of MSNBC's dedication to the Bieber story happened when NBC News veteran Andrea Mitchell, who also anchors the 1 p.m. hour at the network, was forced to interrupt a conversation with former Congresswoman Jane Harmon about National Security Agency spying to inform her viewers that Justin Bieber was about to go before a judge.

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Even with that hilariously awkward transition, MSNBC still trailed both CNN and Fox News in total minutes dedicated to covering the Bieber story on Thursday, but the network's total coverage for the day was not far behind Fox:

CNN, a network that has made no secret of its shift to more entertainment news, was on top with 103 minutes, despite only two primetime programs reporting on the story.

Fox News came in second place, with 57 minutes of Bieber coverage. Every one of the network's primetime shows dedicated at least one segment to the story.

MSNBC trailed Fox News by only 11 minutes of Bieber coverage, proving that they are indeed in the business of covering breaking news again.