A Very Merry Christmas For MSNBC – A Very Unhappy Holiday For Fox News

The Christmas Wars:
It has suddenly become clear why Fox News has been so fixated on inciting a “War on Christmas.” It must be because the Christmas season has been devastatingly cruel to Fox News. This year the Nielsen ratings left a smoldering lump of coal in Fox’s stocking despite all the pandering they did to Old St. Nick. Apparently Fox was very naughty. Santa doesn’t approve of lying and, perhaps, viewers are getting tired of it as well (see Fox News Fux Up: The 12 Worst Wrongs Of 2012).

MSNBC/Fox News Ratings

Maddow and O’Donnell Jingle Fox’s Bells:
For the month of December, two-thirds of the Fox News primetime lineup came in second to MSNBC (in the critical 25-54 year old demographic). The Rachel Maddow Show’s monthly average came in 4% above the formidable Fox fixture, Sean Hannity. Lawrence O’Donnell had an even better advantage of 11% over his weaker competition, Greta Van Susteren.

This was a stark difference from last year when Hannity comfortably led Maddow by 46% and Van Susteren outpaced O’Donnell by the same amount. Those leads have now completely evaporated. Only Bill O’Reilly has managed to keep his fat head above water, although his 69% December 2011 lead over Ed Schultz was cut nearly in half in 2012 to 40%.

December 2012 was an affirmation of the superior performance MSNBC has shown since the election in November. Maddow and O’Donnell have consistently defeated Hannity and Van Susteren since President Obama did the same thing to Mitt Romney. This can no longer be explained away by Fox defenders as mere depression on the part of conservative viewers who tuned out after an electoral spanking. That excuse may have made sense for a week or two, but not a full two months later with high profile news events like the “fiscal cliff,” new cabinet appointments, Benghazi hearings, the Petraeus scandal, and the Newtown school shooting dominating news coverage.

Happy New Year:
Fox may have to get used to coming in second, or maybe even third if CNN’s new president, Jeff Zucker, is able to get that network out of idle. And if MSNBC is smart they will start to firm up their schedule with new shows and dynamic personalities. For instance, they should quickly axe the Hardball rerun at 7:00pm, perhaps moving Schultz to that time slot. Then put in his place a leadin to Maddow that takes advantage of the smart brand of analysis and commentary that she and O’Donnell represent. That would tie up their primetime package and boost the network’s reputation generally, which would help draw viewers to other dayparts.

Unsolicited programming advice for MSNBC:
Poach comedian/pundit John Fugelsang from Current TV and pair him up with MSNBC contributor Joy-Ann Reid for a combo news and entertainment hybrid to launch the evening block. A news program that intelligently presents serious issues with a sense of humor could be a compelling option that would ease their audience into a deeper dialog as the night progresses.

[Update 1/4/13] MSNBC has reported their 2011/2012 year-over-year ratings and the numbers are starkly positive compared to their competition. They are up in most categories by double digits (for both total viewers and the 25-54 demo), while Fox News had only slight gains or declines. In fact, both O’Reilly and Hannity delivered their lowest demo performance since 2007. Both Maddow and Donnell were number one for the year in the 18-34 demo, giving them a head start on next generation of viewers.


19 thoughts on “A Very Merry Christmas For MSNBC – A Very Unhappy Holiday For Fox News

  1. I like the sound of the “John and Joy” hour. Both are sharp as a tac and well informed.

  2. I know Michael Eric Dyson is getting his own show soon. He mentioned it on his FB page a couple months ago. He’s already proven himself to be a great host, too.

  3. So we’re looking to replace one biased “news” operation for another biased “news” organization. Yeah, that’s a good thing, but I guess if your goal is to have only your ideology pushed throughout, then you’re on your way.

    • While MSNBC does clearly lean to the left, they are objective and will call out Dems and the POTUS when they screw up. They immediately torched the President after the first debate, not later on like most liberal media did. Fox News lies consistently and that is the difference.

  4. That is why you should tune in to Al Jazeera

    • Have you ever SEEN Al Jazeera? It’s good solid journalism. Yes, it has a bias (owned by the Qatar government) but if people can get over their prejudice and actually WATCH it, they’ll find a serious news sender that does great reporting and isn’t afraid to criticize east and west.

  5. Maybe they could get John Edwards or Anthony Weiner on a show.

  6. Oh, boohoo, Steve, boo HOO. You can’t plop down in front of the TV and just zone out, can you? You’ve got to, like, go out on the internet and, like, actually READ the news, and maybe, like, read the news from a lot of different sources, and use your mind to determine fact from spin–you poor thing. You are just a poor, poor, HELPLESS victim of “bias.” You can’t even turn your poor, poor, HELPLESS head away from the awful, awful bias. You can’t escape it, you poor thing. You’re TRAPPED.

    • Besides being very angry, you appear to be justifying and/or supporting the idea of continued bias in network news.

    • and just what is wrong with a desire for an unbiased news source JCM?
      Haters gonna hate.

      • Well, I can probably answer this one having done a lot of reading here and I can tell you the gripe is probably more about my calling MSNBC, a left leaning network, biased and something close to a Fox News for the left. I can say with 100% certainty that this is a case of liberal hypocrisy, which is typical on this site in particular.

  7. MSNBC might have enjoyed a temporary boost in viewers but to that I simply say, “everyone pops into a freak show occasionally. This network does NOT have the depth of personality & intelligence to keep it on top for long – expect to see FOX back at the zenith of ratings where it has always reigned very soon & MSNBC struggling at the bottom again just as soon. MSNBC has plenty of passion & emotion & that’s good for some, but in these troubled times, most people re yearning for facts – they’re dealing with enough emotions of their own.

    • Wait, wait, wait. FOX “News” has “depth of personality & intelligence?” And even funnier, “facts?” Really? Who are you talking about, Steve Doocey? Sean Hannity? Gretchen Carlson? Dick Morris? Very fact-based, intelligent, unemotional folks you’ve got there. Puh-leeze.

    • It is amazing what wishful thinking can do. Fox ‘News’ parted company with ‘facts’ when they went to court seeking permission to lie to their viewers and that is what they have been doing ever since. Fox is nothing but an incredibly bad joke at best and a harmful shill for the Republican (tea party) at worst.

  8. And Faux is a source of facts and honest unbiased commentary Donna? MSNBC is more objective, but also biased and a counterbalance to the GOP propaganda machine that you are so fond of.
    The only thing that Faux’s top ratings confirm is HL Menckens statement that
    “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the american public”.
    The least biased and most accurate American television news and commentary is on The PBS Newshour and Charlie Rose, which is why the need support and why the GOP wants to kill PBS.
    Appearantly facts have a liberal bias.

  9. I’ve gotta admit that both are biased, but during the fiscal cliff thing. fox went haywire. They just criticized EVERYTHING Obama proposed to avert the crisis. Most people just wanted to hear actual news about what was going on. We’ll just have to wait n see how the viewership holds, because most Republicans are die-hard. I’m afraid. The ones I know are.

  10. For those who are trying to spin the ratings game, i.e., lie by avoiding the whole story, check out TVNewser, the web site of TV ratings for current figures. You folks on the progressive left are just soooooooooo lame.

Comments are closed.