She had appeared regularly on “Hardball” and “All In” on the network.
Later on Saturday night, Ms. Walsh said on Twitter that she would be joining CNN next year. “I am overwhelmed by the support I’ve received today from all of you,” she wrote. “Thanks to everyone who made this happen. A Christmas miracle.” A CNN spokeswoman confirmed late Saturday that Ms. Walsh would be joining the network as a commentator.
Reaction to MSNBC’s decision came swiftly. Among those upset was the longtime news anchor Katie Couric.
“Ugh. Love Listening to Joan,” she wrote on Twitter, adding the hashtag, “#KeepJoanWalsh.”
The network has leaned heavily on opinionated commentators — mostly facilitated by a stable of liberal anchors — and growing interest in the news to foster its rise. MSNBC this year surged into the top spot in prime-time cable news for the first time in 17 years.
Still, Andrew Lack, the chairman of NBC News since 2015, has insisted that the network’s mission is nonpartisan news gathering and has rejected the notion that MSNBC serves as a counterweight to the conservative Fox News.
“I don’t buy it,” he said in a June interview with The New York Times. “I don’t think we’re an alternative to anything. We’re live, breaking news during the day, and the smartest, most insightful opinion space we can create at night.”
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