For much of last year, MSNBC finished second to last in the cable news ratings race. However, in 2011 the network has returned to a more familiar territory — last place. MSNBC has fared particularly poorly during breaking news and special events.
There were three major news stories in the month of January: the Tucson shootings, the Tucson memorial service and the State of the Union address. During each, MSNBC found itself buried in the ratings.
The shootings took place on Saturday, January 8, 2011, with the story breaking at approximately 1:30 pm ET. Here are the numbers for cable news viewers, from 1 pm to 7 pm:
FNC: 1.9 million (521,000 in 25-54)
CNN: 1.3 million (389,000 in 25-54)
MSNBC: 0.5 million (179,000 in 25-54)
In the key demo targeted by advertisers, ages 25-54, Fox nearly tripled MSNBC’s numbers, while CNN more than doubled them.
The memorial service took place on January 12, 2011. Here are the numbers for President Obama’s speech (8:44-9:19 pm):
FNC: 3.8 million (906,000 in 25-54)
CNN: 2.2 million (693,000 in 25-54)
MSNBC: 2.1 million (512,000 in 25-54)
Again, MSNBC finished last in both overall viewers and the key demo.
On January 25, 2011, President Obama delivered his State of the Union address — and the American people delivered a stunning indictment of MSNBC’s version of “news.” Here are the numbers for the SOTU:
FNC: 4.9 million (1,633,000 in 25-54)
CNN: 2.9 million (1,186,000 in 25-54)
MSNBC: 2.5 million (848,000 in 25-54)
But the most telling numbers came in the post-speech analysis breakdown:
FNC: 5.4 million
CNN: 3.0 million
MSNBC: 2.3 million
When the speech was over and it was time for commentator analysis, both Fox and CNN saw an increase in viewers, while MSNBC saw a decrease. Viewers may have tuned in to MSNBC to hear the president speak, but when the network’s “personalities” started to speak, their audience changed channels.
It’s certifiable — the steady stream of splenetic, sophomoric, partisan posturing that masquerades as objective journalism at the network is toxic to its ratings. Not that this matters to the executives at MSNBC, who long ago decided to forgo ratings in favor of pushing their ideology.
The numbers may explain why MSNBC dropped their slogan “THE Place for Politics.”
Perhaps it’s time for another new one. How about: “MSNBC – We Distort, You Deride.”
Sonny Palermo has scribbled columns for Winners Edge, Ring Sports and other magazines, and websites such as American Thinker, NewsRealblogs and www.ihatethemedia.com. He has done regular guest appearances on Fox Sports radio in Vegas and nationally on SIRIUS.