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The reelection of President Barack Obama was certainly a gratifying victory for Democrats and supporters of a moderate path forward for America. However, it also seems to have been a victory for the left-of-center cable news network, MSNBC.

MSNBC Crushing Fox

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News Corpse
The Internet's Chronicle Of Media Decay

Fox News has been dominating the cable news ratings for about a decade. The primary reason for that is their having corralled all of the right-wing viewers while everyone else is scattered amongst the other networks. Nevertheless, that distinction gives them bragging rights and an over-sized reputation.

However, for the days (two, so far) that have followed the election, MSNBC has usurped the leader's crown and ascended to become the number one network in cable news for primetime. In fact, on Thursday MSNBC beat Fox for the whole broadcast day. MSNBC performed well above their third quarter averages for their primetime programming, which had already outperformed their 2011 third quarter by more than twenty percent.

Almost every primetime program on MSNBC beat their Fox competition. The only exception was Ed Schultz who is up against Fox's highest rated show, the O'Reilly Factor. Schultz, however, did increase his own ratings considerably, just not enough to surpass O'Reilly.

The standouts were Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell who trounced Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren, respectively. Maddow exceeded Hannity by 27% on Wednesday and a whopping 75% on Thursday. O'Donnell dunked Van Susteren on Wednesday by 64% and by 32% on Thursday.

This isn't a one-time occurrence either. In September MSNBC bested Fox during the Democratic convention. Then they repeated their win after the release of the famous "47%" video of Romney secretly recorded at a Florida fundraiser.

It is notable that MSNBC achieved their win over Fox by growing their own audience while Fox's audience remained fairly stable. So this isn't a case of Fox's viewers having tuned out the news after a depressing defeat. It remains to be seen whether this is a mere bump in the election afterglow, or a serious turnaround in the cable ratings race. But it is clear that there is room for MSNBC to grow and make a credible challenge to Fox's dominance.

Originally posted to News Corpse on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 09:05 AM PST.

Also republished by Media Watch.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is great news! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    News Corpse, yella dawg, NapaJulie, ExStr8

    Does it come from Fox viewers turning to MSNBC, or from CNN'ers, CBS'ers, etc?

    Or is just because occasional TV watchers chose MSNBC over the others (me, for instance)? In other words, did the others have constant viewership but MSNBC spike with outsiders?

    Any breakdown?

    "I can't do it by myself. No president can. Remember: Change doesn't happen from the top. It happens because of you." B Obama, 2008

    by nzanne on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 09:18:37 AM PST

    •  I don't have the answer to that. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      majcmb1, NapaJulie, nzanne

      The only way to get that sort of audience shifting is to commission a custom survey. The networks may do this, but they rarely publish the results.

      I seriously doubt, however, that Fox viewers (who stayed about the same) shifted to MSNBC. And since CNN's ratings also increased, so it probably wasn't them either. There were probably viewers of non-news programming who tuned in because of the election. Hopefully, they liked what they saw and will become regulars.


      Choose Your (Creative) Weapon. Join The Art Insurgency TODAY!
      Spread The Word.

      by News Corpse on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 09:27:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think the analyses show loss of Fox's audience (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NapaJulie, nzanne

      versus a rush to MSNBC.  Their audience just shut down when the election was called for Obama.

      No doubt they are still holed up somewhere, hoping to emerge into Rove's delusional belief that Romney can still pull this out.

      •  I agree their audience shut down. (5+ / 0-)

        My mother a rabid Foxer, was watching the election Tuesday evening with glee.  When I would come to her room, throughout the evening to ask if she needed anything, she would smirk that she'd like some balloons and champagne when Romney won.  I said I was afraid she was going to be disappointed.   When  MSNBC called Ohio for Obama, I heard a loud "what" from her room. Then I saw she had turned her bedroom light out.  The next she didn't turn the tv on, and she always starts her day with Faux and Friends and ends with Greta.  It's now Saturday and though she's watching tv, she still hasn't turned Faux back on.

  •  Now all they have to do is get rid of... (7+ / 0-)

    David Gregory.

    Plato's " The Cave" taught me to question reality.

    by CTDemoFarmer on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 09:37:23 AM PST

  •  There are few people in media that (24+ / 0-)

    I would like to invite over for dinner because I think that the vast majority of them are not particularly bright and insightful.

    However, I, like many on this site, really enjoy the exceptional work of Rachel Maddow. I thought that it was fitting that MSNBC asked her to anchor the coverage of the conventions and election night.

    You can tell that Rachel is uber smart and really works hard at her craft. And when she wants to make an editorial comment, she does it with passion but without rancor and animosity.

    I hope that she gets the national recognition that she deserves some day.

    Rachel - you're the best.

    It takes time to practice generosity, but being generous is the best use of our time. - Thich Nhat Hanh.

    by Frank In WA on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 09:40:43 AM PST

    •  rec'd 1000 times if I could... (9+ / 0-)

      Rachel's is the only show that makes me better-informed than I was, because, as good as the other hosts are, they tend more to repeating things I can find elsewhere, including here at DK.

      But you can tell Rachel puts so much more effort into her show (and probably has a younger, smarter, hungrier staff!).  She has (usually) better guests, and tackles topics that aren't necessarily being tweeted about all day long... and if they are, she's looking at it from a different, or deeper, angle.

      The fact that MSNBC has made her their top anchor says a lot. In fact, all the younger talent at MSNBC gives me hope for the future of journalism -- Chris Hayes and Ezra Klein (who doesn't exclusively "belong" to them but appears often) are wonderful.

      I used to listen to Rachel on Air America years ago, and I only realized the depth of her intellect and drive once she moved to TV. We should all thank Keith O for his wisdom in facilitating her entry into broadcast journalism at MSNBC.

      Rachel -- we love you. Stay away from those damned cocktail parties and keep bringing us the straight (ha, no pun intended!) story every night.

      "I think in America, the opposite of poverty is justice." Bryan Stevenson

      by gfre on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 10:11:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  + she'd make killer cocktails at the dinner :-P (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      juca, greengemini
    •  I have no doubt that Rachel will be recognized (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pistolSO, mtnlvr1946

      for her talents--- and she only gets better.

      Trying to set aside my bias, I think MSNBC's election /convention coverage far surpassed that of any other network.  The MSNBC panels are loaded with people who really know politics, from the inside in many cases, and have a tremendous enthusiasm for politics.

      Rachel practically jumps out of her skin with excitement on election nights, and as more people find her show, they are going to find it hard to change the channel.

      Imagine the disappointment of Fox viewers, many of whom now realize they've been lied to all of these years.

      •  The panel(s) (0+ / 0-)

        There are a couple things I would like to see handled differently:

        • Please stop having one of the members out in a crowd somewhere. While I relish a panel without Tweety sitting on it, I hate when they cut to him (or whomever) in a crowd because as soon as the tally light comes on the noise level goes way up.
        • While ordinarily I don't give the bare behind of a furry rodent about hearing anything from a conservative, I actually don't mind Steve Schmidt, as he's articulate and capable of rational observation from his conservative experience. Having said that, however, it seems to me he's under used. I know it must be difficult to allocate time among six or seven panelists, but he represents half of the topic. A little balance, please.
        • I've long said I have no respect for Al Sharpton and will never forgive him for the Tawana Brawley affair. However, having been forced to listen to him at least a bit because of the nature of the panel coverage, I must admit to having to grudgingly concede that he's pretty sharp about politics and does a good job of speaking for his race. I'll still never forgive him, but I agree to listen when he's on a panel.

        Rachel Rocks! Don't change a thing with her, except, perhaps give her a raise.
    •  Rachel (0+ / 0-)

      Rachel does have a Phd. I think from Oxford.

  •  Premium (2+ / 0-)

    In our neck of the woods, FOX is a basic cable channel choice.  We have to pay extra each month for MSNBC, and it's worth it.  Every single time I hear a person bragging about how FOX's numbers are greater, thus better of course, I have to remind them it's because they are BASIC cable, and on in every bar in town.

    "I'm Grandma-delicious because his mom is so nutritious..."

    by NapaJulie on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 10:08:11 AM PST

  •  Fantastic (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, pistolSO

    I went to a debate watchparty and at first the club had on FOX, when we asked it be changed they changed it to CNN but we told them to put on MSNBC which they did.  We all enjoyed the debate and everyone agreed that MSNBC had the best coverage, no interruptions like CNN has.  

    Now, MSNBC, cut off Lock Down on the weekends.

    Never be afraid to voice your opinion and fight for it . Corporations aren't people, they're Republicans (Rev Al Sharpton 10/7/2011)

    by Rosalie907 on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 10:36:10 AM PST

  •  MSNBC rocks ... although I don't watch it (No TV ) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini

    Ok. I don't have TV ... but .. I watch msnbc online, whenever I get a chance.
    I refuse to pay $$$ to any cable or satellite operators... I think Murdoch owns Direct TV and TimeWarner is owned by some other nut ...

    Don't forget to register to vote here: http://netrootsradio.blogspot.com/p/register-to-vote.html

    by bepanda on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 10:47:44 AM PST

  •  This election cycle, msnbc was the only (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shopkeeper, greengemini, pistolSO

    reality based cable news network, based on facts and real evidence.

    FOX:  Romney is going to win in a landslide
    CNN:  It's neck-and-neck
    MSNBC: Obama has the edge, will win most swing states

    JON HAUGEN FOR U.S. CONGRESS! 3RD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT.

    by keeplaughing on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 11:27:55 AM PST

  •  MSNBC vs Fixxed News = Apples & Oranges (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    News Corpse

    News consumption for liberals and moderates is far different than that for wingers.

    Liberals and moderates have a diversified array of choices: newspapers, news sites, blogs, network news, CNN (which admittedly has become dysfunctional), PBS, Youtube, Twitter, NPR (which admittedly has become dysfunctional), some talk radio (eg Randi Rhodes), CURRENT TV,  Colbert Report, Jon Stewart, and MSNBC.

    More importantly, liberals and moderates consume news through out the day.  They're not going to wait until 9 PM for Rachel.

    But the winger bubble is narrow.  A big part of their operating system is to distrust the "liberal media" and to buy into paranoid conspiracies.  They're not watching "Frontline" or subscribing to the New York Times or logging on to PPP with their reality based distribution.  They don't want reality, they want a comforting narrative.  In fact, the average winger doesn't like to read.  That's why a site like Redstate has a fraction of Big Oranges' readership.  They're just not into reading.   I mean, the average winger has never heard of David Brooks or read one of Coulter's crap books.

    So what do they do, they gather around a handful of outlets: Fox and Hate Radio.   So their ratings will always be higher since outlets meeting winger tastes are - to paraphrase Mitt Romney -- severely limited.

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