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Bill Clinton: MSNBC 'Has Become Our Version Of Fox'

Bill Clinton

First Posted: 01/18/12 02:59 PM ET Updated: 01/18/12 03:26 PM ET

Bill Clinton had some sharp words for MSNBC in a just-released interview with Esquire.

The former president was speaking to the magazine about "things we can agree on" in a polarized time, and he cited the network as one of the culprits when his interviewer asked, "why does the politics seem so much more caustic now than even [when you were president]?"

Clinton said he thought that "the diffusion of the media has complicated things." He then used MSNBC as an example of this.

"I was just watching MSNBC, and they had a woman that used to work for me and a couple of other people on there, and they were talking about the Republican primary," he said. "And I was laughing. I said, 'Boy, it really has become our version of Fox.'"

Clinton chalked this up to what he called "the economics" of cable news, which he said made it possible for companies to target a niche audience and still make a profit.

His comparison is sure to rankle people on MSNBC, who consistently reject the notion that they are the Democratic-leaning version of Fox News. Recently, the network's most prominent voice, Rachel Maddow, discussed this idea with Slate.

"I think the thing that is under-appreciated about MSNBC is that we...all get to do our own thing," she said. "...There may be liberals on TV at MSNBC, but the network is not operating with a political objective, whereas Fox is operating with a political objective to elect Republican candidates."

Read about Clinton's comments on the Republican primary here, and the full interview at Esquire.

MSNBC's lineup.
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  • 6-9 AM: Morning Joe

  • 9-10 AM: The Daily Rundown

  • 10 AM-11 AM: Jansing And Co.

  • 11 AM-12 AM: Thomas Roberts

  • 12 PM-1 PM: Alex Wagner

  • 1-2 PM: Andrea Mitchell

  • 2-3 PM: NewsNation

  • 3-4 PM: The Cycle

  • 4-5 PM: Martin Bashir

  • 5-6 PM: Hardball with Chris Matthews

  • 6-7 PM: PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton

  • 7-8 PM: Hardball

  • 8-9 PM: The Ed Show

  • 9-10 PM: Rachel Maddow

  • 10-11 PM: The Last Word

  • Weekends with Alex Witt

    7-8 AM (Sat.)/12-2 PM (Sun.): Weekends With Alex Witt

  • Up with Chris Hayes

    8-10 AM (Sat./Sun.): Up with Chris Hayes

  • Melissa Harris-Perry

    10 AM -12 PM (Sat./Sun.): Melissa Harris-Perry

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Filed by Jack Mirkinson  |