CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter had a unique explanation Wednesday night for why CNN and MSNBC’s ratings are plummeting since the conclusion of the Mueller investigation.
Stelter wrote in his newsletter “Reliable Sources” Wednesday night that viewers aren’t tuning in to CNN and MSNBC because “there hasn’t been much news” since special counsel Robert Mueller delivered his report on Russian collusion to Attorney General Bill Barr. Fox News has not been affected by the alleged slow news week, Stelter reasoned, because Barr’s letter on the Mueller findings is “being celebrated like a sequel to election night.”
Joe Concha, media reporter for The Hill, explained on Fox News that there have been plenty of big stories for the media to cover since Mueller finished his investigation and suggested the ratings drop is due to a lack of trust among viewers.
“Yesterday, CNN didn’t even average more than 540,000 viewers as a 40-year-old network with a big brand name and a crazy news cycle,” Concha argued. “You’re talking about [Jussie] Smollett getting released, [Michael] Avenatti getting arrested, the Mueller report — how anybody isn’t rising in ratings in this particular week when it’s just been nuts … that’s almost impossible to do unless your viewers don’t trust you anymore based on all the speculation you did recklessly and randomly over the past two years.”
MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow, who dedicated the majority of her programming to the Russian collusion conspiracy, lost 500,000 viewers in just one week after Barr said Mueller found “no collusion.” (RELATED: MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Hemorrhages Viewers After Collusion Theory Implodes)
The trend continued Tuesday night, when CNN and MSNBC’s primetime programs combined for an average 2.6 million viewers, while Fox News dominated the ratings with an average of 3.3 million. Maddow, who routinely delivered more than 3 million viewers and challenged Fox News’ Sean Hannity for the top cable news spot, brought in 2.5 million viewers Tuesday.