MSNBC may be suffering through a ratings drought, but the so-called “place for politics” is holding fast to its practice of finding a story that resonates with its left-of-center viewership and playing it up throughout the day.
After Rep. Michele Bachmann’s announcement that she would not to seek a fifth term on Wednesday, the network devoted three hours and 17 minutes of coverage between 6 a.m. ET and 11 p.m. ET to the conservative firebrand, her various flubs and what her retirement means for the right.
The lion’s share of MSNBC’s coverage of the Bachmann resignation came during its primetime opinion programming. “Hardball” host Chris Matthews and “PoliticsNation” host Al Sharpton devoted nearly half their broadcast to Bachmann.
MSNBC’s rivals, CNN and Fox News, clocked in at 56 minutes and 11 minutes respectively during the same time frame. Throughout its daytime broadcast, CNN treated Bachmann’s announcement as a straightforward news event. Fox News treated the announcement as a headline and it was not discussed in its broadcast day beyond the 7 p.m. ET episode of “The Fox Report.”
During her four terms, MSNBC’s treatment of Bachmann had been anything but polite, particularly during a 2010 midterm election night segment on the network in which Matthews accused her of being under a “trance,” and Bachmann returning jab by suggesting the “thrill” wasn’t quite so “tingly” on Matthews’ leg.