MSNBC: #1 Cable News Network In Primetime For Two Days Post-Election

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 FoxFox 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.

Fox News Shamelessly Politicizes Petraeus Resignation

This afternoon Gen. David Petraeus resigned as Director of the CIA with a letter that cited his having had an extra-marital affair.

Petraeus: Yesterday afternoon, I went to the White House and asked the President to be allowed, for personal reasons, to resign from my position as D/CIA. After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours. This afternoon, the President graciously accepted my resignation.

Despite the specificity of his letter, Fox News immediately began speculating as to the timing of the resignation and suggested that it had something to do with the investigation of the murders in Benghazi, Libya, and his scheduled testimony before congress next week.

Surprisingly, as Fox anchors were rumor mongering about Benghazi, Chris Wallace emphatically shot down such talk pointing out that Petraeus is a man of integrity who should be taken as his word. Wallace went on to point out that nobody tries to cover up political matters by confessing to cheating on their wife. But that moment of sanity was short lived.

The news broke on MSNBC at about 2:51pm ET, but Fox didn’t report it until 3:00. Then they spent about ten minutes stewing in Benghazi sauce without mentioning the Petraeus letter or the affair. It was clear they wanted to clutch onto the conspiracy theory that Obama must have orchestrated the whole thing to cover up his complicity in Benghazi-Gate. At one point Fox’s Trace Gallagher cryptically referred to Petraeus’ reason as “what we will now say is ‘unknown,’” which is evidence that he knew more than he was saying. And even after Wallace’s rational refutation, the conspiratorial ravings continued on Neil Cavuto’s program and The Five.

It simply doesn’t matter what the issue is. If Fox can’t pervert it into something that tarnishes President Obama, then it isn’t news. It couldn’t be more obvious that Fox intends to escalate their journalistic distortions in the coming second term of Obama. But it is repulsive that they would exploit this personal family tragedy as just more scandal bait to titillate their juvenile and easily manipulated audience.