The rapid rise of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has stunned many in the cable news business. Her show has risen from modest beginnings to dominate her field. And she has achieved something that was thought unthinkable a couple of years ago: beating Fox News. And she has been doing that handily for several months.
There is a segment of television news consumers who are clearly interested in thoughtful, well-researched journalism. Maddow’s brand of intelligent, fact-based discourse is proving to be more popular than Fox News style blather, bellowing, and bullshit. The negativity and ultra-conservative bias that defines Fox News might be wearing thin. Plus, they have the unenviable job of defending Donald Trump’s infantile outbursts, humiliating ignorance, and unpopular positions on nearly everything.
With all of that in mind, it isn’t that surprising that Maddow has taken the cable news crown. What’s surprising is the scope of her victory and its continuing acceleration. Forbes reports the newest Nielsen numbers saying that:
“The MSNBC host just hit a milestone for MSNBC, with her 9 p.m. hour, The Rachel Maddow Show, finishing the third quarter of 2017 as the No. 1 cable news show on television. It’s the first time any MSNBC show has finished first in the Nielsen ratings for an entire quarter.
“Maddow hit her highest ratings among total viewers (2.7 million) and in the advertiser-coveted demographic of adults 25-54 (606,000). That represents an increase of 75% compared to the third quarter of 2016 (total viewers), and 65% (adults 25-54).”
The numbers for Maddow were reflected throughout the MSNBC schedule. Their total day growth was “up +41 percent in viewers and up +27 percent in the demo.” That contrasts with a Fox News decline “year-over-year in total viewers, down -3 percent in total day and down -12 percent in total viewers.” Ironically, Fox’s best performing program was “Shepard Smith Reporting” which was up +19 percent. Lately Smith is the sole voice of sanity on Fox and a frequent critic of Trump. Which is to say that he reports truthfully.
Speaking of Trump, he isn’t taking this news well. In fact, he’s avoiding the reality of it entirely. On Thursday he retweeted his friend Bill O’Reilly congratulating Sean Hannity for a short-term ratings bump.
Hannity crushing MSNBC at 9. Good for him! Check the No Spin News on https://t.co/rryWmyXe7C. Killing England a huge bestseller – thank you!
— Bill O'Reilly (@billoreilly) September 28, 2017
The disgust of seeing the sexual predator Trump, promoting fellow deviant O’Reilly, was jarring and repulsive. Particularly since this was O’Reilly’s first time back on Fox News since he was terminated for sexually harassing his colleagues and guests. As for Hannity, he just moved to a new time period directly competing with Maddow. So he front-loaded his first week with a bevy of right-wing icons like Steve Bannon, Paul Ryan, Rush Limbaugh, and O’Reilly. He can’t be expected to keep up that pace and his ratings will likely sink back to their prior levels. So any boasting about the numbers for a couple of days is premature and pales in comparison to Maddow’s quarterly trouncing of Hannity and Fox.
But this is all that they have to hang on to. Maddow is a certified success who is putting Hannity to shame. And the fact that Trump is lowering himself to posting TV ratings results is further proof of his unfitness for the presidency. The nation is juggling multiple crises including hurricane catastrophes in Puerto Rico, Florida, and Texas. Trump’s third attempt to kill ObamaCare just went down in flames. He’s now peddling a tax reform scam that will benefit the wealthy and hurt everyone else. He seems intent on starting a nuclear war with North Korea. Our elections systems have been compromised by foreign enemies.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
Trump himself is at risk for prosecution and possible impeachment for his involvement with Russia, both politically and financially. And now he’s interrupted his racist posting on the NFL to lie about television ratings. We don’t have a president anymore. We have a traitorous, wannabe tabloid hack who would be better suited as a correspondent for the Russian version of TMZ. And even that would be a stretch for him.