While Donald Trump is dragging his presidency down to the depths of the abyss, he might deserve some credit for lifting MSNBC up to the heights of ratings Valhalla. For the month of August MSNBC achieved a significant milestone, becoming the the second-most-watched network across all of basic cable. And the network’s star, Rachel Maddow, had the number one show for total viewers on cable TV for the last week of August.
This ratings bonanza took place as Trump’s world was crumbling. His campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was convicted on eight felonies. His personal attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to eight felonies of his own. And Trump’s inner circle suffered some serious ruptures. His long-time friend, and publisher of the National Enquirer, David Pecker, was granted immunity by federal prosecutors. The same goes for the CFO of the Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg. Immunity is not handed out unless the recipients were exposed to serious legal jeopardy and had something useful to trade for their get-out-jail-free card.
These sort of news events may have brought viewers hungry for credible reporting to MSNBC resulting in their ratings wins last week. But the whole month notched gains that were noteworthy. In fact, MSNBC’s primetime rose over their draw in 2017, while both CNN and Fox News declined. Maddow’s contribution to that was scoring the top show rating in all of cable TV for the whole month in the 25-54 demographic. To be clear, she not only beat Sean Hannity head-to-head, but every other show of any type on basic cable.
The remainder of the MSNBC schedule was equally as successful with viewers. Everyone from Chris Hayes to Lawrence O’Donnell to Ari Melber to Brian Williams to Joy Reid, enjoyed record breaking numbers. The daytime crew, including Ali Velshi, Stephanie Ruhle, Hallie Jackson, Nicolle Wallace, and Katy Tur, all notched substantial gains as well.
If this is any indication of how the content of the news can affect ratings, there is sure to be more good news to come. Manafort’s next trial in Washington, D.C. is scheduled to begin in mid September. And almost every day there are new revelations that bring Trump’s dismal fate closer to realization. Much of them unveiled by his own big mouth and fat Twitter fingers. And as events continue to unfold, America’s television viewers will continue to seek out truthful accounts of the breaking news.
That’s good news for MSNBC. And as for Fox News, they can surely rely on their cult followers to keep their numbers pretty high. After all, they will need those extra doses of fake propaganda and blurred reality from State TV to anesthetize them into their cozy states of semi-consciousness.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.