When State Department employees tuned in Thursday to watch President Obama's U.N. speech, a few of them noticed something amiss. The internal channel that broadcasts MSNBC inside the State Department's Foggy Bottom complex was, for some reason, tuned to FOX News!
"I wanted to watch Obama's speech on MSNBC but I couldn't find it. I still can't find it," one civil servant complained to The Cable Friday morning, saying that many in the building were "hoping to catch a few minutes of the president's speech to the U.N. without post-snark analysis from Fox."
What seemed even more odd was that FOX News was already being broadcast on another channel on the State Department's television system, meaning that there were two FOX broadcasts and no MSNBC to be found. Employees could watch two C-Spans, three CNNs, and three Arabic language stations including Al-Jazeera -- but not Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann.
Your humble Cable guy decided to dig into the situation and find out the truth. After some initial calls to the technical staff and an e-mail to the State Department's public affairs shop Friday afternoon, Channel 11, the station in question, went dead.
About an hour later, MSNBC was restored to Channel 11. State Department spokesman Mark Toner responded to our request with an explanation.
Apparently, there were various interruptions in service by the State Department's cable provider, Capital Connections, on Thursday. The State Department's technical services department worked to correct the cable feeds for some time before they realized the problem lay with the provider. Capital Connections had thought they appropriately restored service, but instead accidentally had created two channels of Fox News.
So to all you State Department employees who like MSNBC, we're happy to announce your choices for news at work are now again, um, fair and balanced. Enjoy!
John Hudson reports on national security and foreign policy from the Pentagon to Foggy Bottom, the White House to Embassy Row, for The Cable.