Fox News Ratings Continue to Sink During Month of Trump’s Impeachment Hearings

One of the most nauseating things about Donald Trump is how deliberately he has decimated the standards of honesty for the U.S. presidency. And while there is nothing he won’t lie about, his falsehoods are frequently employed to boost his own fragile ego. This is a man who began his term by lying about the size of his inauguration audience. He lies about his popularity among Republicans. He routinely lies about the attendance at his cult rallies. And lately he has been obsessed with lies about the impeachment hearings hurting Democrats.

Fox News, Titanic

Contrary to Trump’s plaintive whining, polls show that it’s his own approval rating that has suffered throughout the impeachment hearings. A majority of Americans still favor his impeachment and removal from office. But that isn’t the only downside for Trump World. His state TV propaganda network, Fox News, is also being dragged down by the loathing he has cultivated for himself and his Republican Nationalist Party.

The numbers for the month of November tell a tale of woe for Trump’s media minions. Year to year, Fox News viewership for the total day in the all-important 25-54 year old demographic declined 11%. That compared to MSNBC’s rise of 5%. Fox’s daytime ratings in the demo declined 5% (MSNBC was up 19%). And Fox’s primetime schedule featuring Trump-fluffers Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Sean Hannity, dropped 12% (MSNBC was up 8%).

MSNBC’s strong performance was once again driven by Rachel Maddow. Her program handily beat Hannity with an average audience of 572,000 a night. Hannity, Fox’s top rated program, trailed with only 554,000. But she wasn’t alone. Chris Hayes, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Brian Williams all notched highs for the year in their time periods. Williams ranked No. 1 in his timeslot among adults 25-54. On the dayside, Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace was the most-watched cable news show at 4:00pm for the third straight month.

This is the second straight month where MSNBC’s growth outpaced Fox News. And it’s the third straight month that Maddow has topped Hannity. During most of this time the news has been consumed by contentious issues like impeachment and the 2020 election. Fox News has juiced its programming with live, interrupted coverage of Trump’s rallies (19 so far this year). But even that Trumpioid-fix for addicted Trump cultists didn’t keep viewers from fleeing.

Democrats should learn from this that they need to keep up the pressure on Trump. It’s not only educating the public about his criminal activities, it’s having a positive impact on impeachment in the polls, and on ratings for programs that aren’t afraid to tell the truth about Trump. Democrats need to ignore Trump’s impotent wailing about “witch hunts” and lies about how adored he is. He isn’t. And the more we point that out, the lower he sinks into the abyss of his own lies.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Trump Thinks He’s Still on Reality TV, Doesn’t Know Fox News is an Entertainment Network

The fact that Donald Trump is suffering from a crushing array of delusional departures from the real world is unarguable. He regards himself as The Chosen One.” He believes that only he can solve America’s problems (despite the fact that he’s failed to deliver on his campaign promises), In his warped mind he knows more than anyone on every subject. And these delusions are separate and apart from his ceaseless lies (more than 12,000 so far).

Donald Trump TV Set

However, there is a common thread that weaves through much of the hallucinatory fallacies that clutter his emotionally and intellectually stunted brain. He has an all-consuming fetish with his perceived popularity. Crowd size seems to be a stand-in for his virility. And often his craving for attention is manifested in his obsession with polls. But unfortunately for him, they mostly reflect how bitterly despised he is by most Americans. Even polls from Fox News and his favorite ultra-biased pollster, Rasmussen, show him in dire straits.

But polls are just the political equivalent of a mode of survey that Trump has had much more exposure to: The Nielsen Ratings. His fourteen years as the host of a reality TV game show has permeated his world view. And it is the prism through which he sees everything related to his life and presidency. This contorted mindset produced a Sunday morning tweet attacking sitcom star Debra Messing:

Here Trump is renewing his competition with other celebrities while also wholly inventing their alleged admiration for him. (I’d bet the limit at the Trump Taj Mahal that Messing never called him “sir”). He’s also demonstrating that he gauges his self-worth by his comparison – not to other presidents – but to other Hollywood luminaries. That’s his benchmark of approval. What’s more, he measures the value of news media by the same criteria. It isn’t insight or knowledge or experience that validates the media. It’s ratings. Which is why Trump also tweeted this tribute to his pal Sean Hannity:

First of all, Hannity is not the number one show on cable television. It’s the number one “news” show on cable television, which is a much smaller set of programs. Secondly, Trump isn’t the “favorite president” of anyone but his glassy-eyed cadre of Deplorables. But more importantly, there is no significance to the fact that the Fox News Trump-fluffers in primetime have higher ratings than the rest of the network’s programming. There’s a reason that time is called “prime.”

What Trump is doing here is trying to rescue himself from some painfully idiotic comments made last week admonishing Fox for failing to be 100% adoring. In a fit of hurt feelings he ordered his cult followers to “start looking for a new news network” because Fox “isn’t working for us anymore.” This was his way of reassuring Hannity that he still appreciates his up-sucking.

Trump’s intense focus on ratings is evidence that he has never left the realm of television ranking and marketing. Nothing matters to him except for how he is perceived by the standards of Hollywood. That explains why the only thing that was important to him about his visit to the hospital in El Paso where shooting victims were recovering was making sure that everyone knew how much he was loved. He wasn’t. In fact every patient refused to see him.

Trump’s single-minded concentration on ratings is matched by the market positioning of Fox News. They place a similar weight of stature on numbers, rather than quality or honesty. That’s because they have long considered themselves to be part of the entertainment sector of television, not news. Their late, disgraced CEO, Roger Ailes, even admitted it, dismissing his news competition to tell the Hollywood Reporter that “We’re competing with TNT and USA and ESPN.” And the product they put on the air proves that. Even the Fox News website promotes their programs as entertainment, rather than news. That particular promotion was for Tucker Carlson, who Fox thinks people should watch because he’s such an asshole.

Fox News has redefined television “journalism” by fundamentally transforming it from an information medium to an entertainment medium. They dress up their pseudo-news segments in the same reality TV, soap opera packaging that entertainment outlets use: conflict, scandal, mystery, and hyper-charged emotions including hero worship and fear. Fox employs flashy graphics and attention-grabbing audio whooshes and gongs to decorate their reports that are presented as ‘ALERTS’ regardless of the news value. And always there is sex. Fox’s roster of hosts has more former beauty pageant contestants that journalists.

So Fox News is the perfect chronicler of the bizarre presidency of Donald Trump. They are, in fact, recording the trials and tribulations of a fictional character, that they helped to invent, as he stumbles through his sappily scripted, melodramatic existence. And Trump embraces that rendering of his White House antics. It’s playacting on a world stage. The problem is that for the rest of the world’s inhabitants it’s all too real and frightening and dangerous. This show needs to be canceled ASAP if the we want to survive until next season.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

One more thing, just for fun: In October of 2009, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart covered this subject in a brilliant and hysterical segment entitled FOR FOX SAKE! Fox News defends itself against an attack by the Obama administration by explaining that most of their shows aren’t real news.” ENJOY!

Rachel Maddow Leads MSNBC to a January Freeze-Out of Sean Hannity and State TV (aka Fox News)

The new year has started off with big bang for MSNBC and its star anchor Rachel Maddow. For the past couple months her program has been smothering her Fox News competition, Sean Hannity. It began immediately after the midterm election on November 6th and hasn’t slowed down since. And January’s results confirm that it was no fluke. Maddow has definitely caught fire and her sharp analysis and engaging manner of unfolding complex subjects is clearly winning over viewers.

Rachel Maddow, Sean Hannity

Some of the highlights from the January Nielsen ratings include that Maddow was the number one non-sports show on all of cable, not just just news programming. She dominated in both total audience and the advertiser friendly 25-54 demographic. Her success helped drive up the performance of her primetime colleagues Lawrence O’Donnell and Brian Williams. In fact, that bloc of programming won every hour for the entire month.

Maddow’s show contributed to MSNBC’s impressive audience growth. It gained fourteen percent in total day, and six percent in prime time versus January 2018. During the same time period Fox News declined significantly. It’s total day viewership was down eleven percent. In primetime Fox News lost ten percent. And those numbers were even worse for in the 25-54 demo: down twenty-one percent total day, and twenty percent in the demo.

Almost as satisfying as Maddow’s success is the failure of Fox’s Sean Hannity. Once the unchallenged cable news champ, Hannity’s total ratings crashed nineteen percent since the midterms in November. His fall in the demo was a massive thirty percent. His Fox News lead-in, Tucker Carlson, didn’t fare any better. He was Fox’s top program, but he trailed Maddow by seventeen percent in total audience, and by nineteen percent in the demo. It’s a relief to know that America’s television viewers are recognizing the hatred and racism that emanates from the likes of Carlson and Hannity and are changing the channel.

What’s more, Carlson and Laura Ingraham are suffering from an advertiser exodus due to their offensive positions. Carlson mainly for his open advocacy of white nationalism. And Ingraham for her attacks on the kids from Parkland, Florida, who survived the school shooting last year. So their shows are not only losing viewers, but they aren’t making any money either.

In addition to the solid wins by Maddow, there was good news in January’s numbers for the rest of the MSNBC roster. The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell and The 11th Hour with Brian Williams were both number one in both total audience and the demo. Morning Joe rose fourteen percent while its competition, Fox and Friends, sunk ten percent. Hardball was number one in total viewers. And the programs hosted by Chris Hayes, Ari Melber, Stephanie Ruhle, Hallie Jackson, Craig Melvin, Andrea Mitchell, Ali Velshi, and Katy Tur all posted record numbers. One particular standout was Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace, which was number one in total viewers, beating perennial Fox News host Neil Cavuto.

The days of Fox News dominating the cable news ratings are definitely over. And thanks for that should go to Rachel Maddow for redefining how a successful news program can be produced. She does not follow the daily tweetstorming of the President, and never hosts panels of belligerent partisans yelling over each other. She presents detailed examinations of serious issues in an honest and accessible way, and respects her audience.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

But some thanks should also go to Donald Trump for behaving like a loathsome cretin whose flagrant lies are driving away whatever few rational thinkers are still left watching Fox News. Those who remain are the barrel-bottom crud who enjoy wallowing in ignorance and will never be pried loose from their cult worship.

Crybaby Trump’s Fear and Whining Loses to Pelosi and Schumer in Nielsen Ratings

The most prominent character flaw of Donald Trump (among so many) is his dangerously malignant narcissism. He has an ego so large and fragile that its collapse could produce a tsunami big enough to wipeout much of the civilized world. The evidence of this is often revealed in his frequent bragging about things he undeservedly takes credit for, and his whining about failures for which he refuses to take any responsibility.

Donald Trump, Loser

Naturally, any poll that he can strain something positive out of, he will feature prominently on his Twitter feed. And among the surveys that he most likes to promote are those taken by Nielsen Media Research. Trump just gets giddy with excitement when he excels in the ratings. So the results of his Oval Office speech on Tuesday night are likely to bring a storm of rage due to his defeat at the hands of his Democratic foes, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

When Trump finds out that more people watched The Pelosi/Schumer Show than his pathetic babbling about steel barriers and beheadings, he may have a stroke. Sure, some Fox News viewers tuned out after he signed off. But the audience increased for the other cable networks enough to exceed the total for his audience. And the combined post-Trump total for MSNBC and CNN surpassed the number of viewers on Fox.

NETWORK TRUMP SCHUMER/PELOSI
FOX NEWS 8,221,000 7,864,000
MSNBC 4,025,000 4,461,000
CNN 3,390,000 3,742,000
TOTALS 15,636,000 16,067,000

If Trump was hoping to command a large audience of dimwits he could persuade with his oozing charm, he failed bigly. Not only did he give a presentation that induced narcolepsy, it lead to a Wednesday afternoon meeting with Democrats where Trump stormed out in a huff upon hearing that he still wasn’t gonna get the wall he wanted from Santa. Then he tweeted an insolent and incoherent message:

Trump seems to think that by agreeing to reopen the government, he’s entitled to total subservience from Democrats who still oppose the wall for a host of legitimate reasons. Those reasons don’t disappear because Trump finally behaves responsibly and Congress does the job they’re paid to do. And the wall isn’t his reward for releasing a hostage nation from his aspiring authoritarian grip.

There’s no way that Trump can win this argument because he’s relying only on an infantile insistence that everyone bow down to his demands. But Republicans in the Senate are already starting to fall away as they realize that deliberately hurting their constituents is bad politics. So it’s only a matter of time before Trump caves in with some face saving resolution that still denies him his precious wall.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Rachel Maddow Beats Her Fox News Competition Every Single Day for the Whole Month of December

The new year is beginning with an incredible boost from the remarkable performance of Rachel Maddow’s program on MSNBC. She has been dominating her Fox New competition, Sean Hannity, ever since the midterm election in early November. But her numbers for December are truly spectacular and may indicate a monumental shift.

Rachel Maddow, Sean Hannity, Fox News

The success of Maddow’s program may even be getting to Donald Trump. While he has never tweeted about her since becoming president, he did run an ad on Facebook that featured her as his top nemesis. Trump is notoriously frightened by strong women (see his fearful behavior around House Speaker Nancy Pelosi). And he has good reason to be scared of Maddow. Her program provides some of the most incisive, detailed accounts of Trump’s criminality and analyses of the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. That attention to the facts in a comprehensible form has paid off for Maddow.

The Nielsen ratings for The Rachel Maddow Show have exceeded in almost every way possible. She beat the Sean Hannity show every single day for the entire month of December. Granted, he was on vacation for a small part of that time, but so was she. The numbers weren’t even close. Maddow topped Hannity by a whopping forty-seven percent in total viewers. She also whooped him by twenty-one percent in the all-important advertising demographic of 25-54 year olds.

What’s more, Maddow powered MSNBC to historic highs. The network was the third most-watched channel in primetime for all of cable TV, not just cable news. And it was the second most-watched basic cable network across the 24-hour day for 2018. It was the only network that posted double-digit growth over the prior year. And it was number one among African-American viewers for the year.

The rest of the MSNBC schedule also enjoyed record ratings. Lawrence O’Donnell, Brian Williams, and Nicole Wallace regularly beat their time-period competitors. And the dayside programs with Katy Tur, Andrea Mitchell, Ali Velshi, Stephanie Ruhle, Chris Hayes, etc., leaped to new highs. And all of this happened while Fox News either declined or made impotent gains of one or two percent.

This should inform the rest of the media that intelligent, honest, reporting and analysis is a winning programming strategy. The public is tired of deliberately hostile panels and ridiculous attempts to balance facts with lies and nonsense. And as the new year progresses with more revelations from Mueller and the expected oversight hearings in the new Congress, the media needs to rise to the occasion and fulfill its obligations to the people.

That means rejecting Trump’s anti-constitutional assaults on the free press that he frames in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.” Maddow proves that when the press respects the principles of ethical journalism, rather than devolving into State TV flunkies (aka Fox News) the people will reward them them with their viewership, trust, and loyalty.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

WINNING? The Stormy Daniels Segment on 60 Minutes Outperformed Trump By Millions

This could kill Donald Trump. Perhaps the most notorious personality flaw of the President (other than his pathological lying) is his malignant narcissism. His ego is so gigantic, and yet fragile, that he has to constantly convince himself that he is the smartest, handsomest, strongest, and bestest at anything and everything he ever attempts. He never stops bragging about what are mostly imaginary accomplishments that he portrays as breaking historical records.

Stormy Daniels Donald Trump

And particularly with regard to his TV performance, Trump falsely claims to have been the top rated personality for years on The Apprentice. So he’s going to take it very hard when he learns that he lost the television ratings war to a porn star. Stormy Daniels interview Sunday night on 60 Minutes delivered on the anticipation that preceded it. The first public comments by Daniels about her affair with Trump was compelling drama that included sex, violence, corruption, and even some humor.

But the part that will thrust Trump into another of his infantile tantrums is the fact that Daniels scored a much higher rating on the program than he did. The Nielsen overnights show that the Daniels interviewed was watched by by more than 23 million people and delivered a 16.3 rating/27 share. It was the highest rated episode of 60 Minutes in ten years. Which means, of course, that it beat Trump’s interview following the November 2016 election. That was also highly anticipated as it was the first interview of Trump as President-elect. But only 16.4 million people tuned in for that show. Stormy did more than fifty percent better.

You can bet that this is going to gnaw at our ego-driven Commander-in-Chief. After all, he is still obsessed with propping up his sore winner status over Hillary Clinton, who also beat him by millions of votes. And it’s only been a year and a half since that debacle. Trump just can’t get it out of his head.

This is a president who can’t talk about any subject with proclaiming himself the master of it. Whenever he addresses the tax reform bill that Congress passed, he says it was the biggest tax cut in history (it wasn’t). He says the stock market has risen more than during any other president’s first year (it hasn’t). He insists that he is the least racist person you will ever meet (so long as you’ve only ever met former Grand Wizards of the KKK).

Donald Trump is quite obviously suffering from a severe case of self-delusion. Virtually everything he takes credit for, he had nothing to do with. But he still demands recognition for having solved every problem he’s confronted. Never mind that he hasn’t repealed ObamaCare (despite repeatedly trying to sabotage it). He hasn’t ended terrorism (which he said would be so easy). And he can’t even get the Republican-controlled Congress to pay for his idiotic border wall (that Mexico was supposed to pay for). Reality notwithstanding, Trump exalts himself at every opportunity whether he deserves it or not. Here’s a tweet from September 2015 that proves how important this is to him:

The only way to characterize Trump so far in his presidency is as a loser. He can’t manage to keep people on his staff or attract competent administrators. His rallies are drawing smaller crowds with every event. And now he was beaten at the game he was so proud of for fourteen years by a woman who has never before been on television. He’s apparently afraid to even utter name. He will post insults on Twitter aimed at everyone from John McCain to Chuck Todd to Meryl Streep. But not a single word about Stormy Daniels. Perhaps he knows deep down that he is no competition for her. Or he knows what she knows about him.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Totally Nuts: Trump Says His State of the Union Ratings Were ‘The Highest Number in History’

This is getting so far beyond ridiculous. The compulsion that Donald Trump has to lie about virtually anything cannot be regarded as merely self-interest or ignorance. This is a sickness. He lies about things that have no particular benefit to him; things that are easily fact-checked; things that are only designed to feed his gargantuan and diseased ego.

Donald Trump

The latest in a collection of literally thousands of lies came in the form of (surprise) a tweet about his State of the Union address. There was a curiously long absence by the President on Twitter (72 hours) prior to this posting. So it looked for a while like he had been kidnapped by the “deep state” or had his phone confiscated by the Secret Service. But on Thursday morning he reappeared to deliver this unadulterated bullshit:

Certainly Trump enjoyed all of the nice compliments and reviews he received from his usual pack of sycophants (Fox and Friends, Sean Hannity, Alex Jones, Breitbart). And just as surely he saw none of the objective analyses that reported his bland, ultra-partisan delivery and documented his lies. But Trump’s claim that the audience for his speech was “the highest number in history” was so completely deranged it’s hard to imagine that he’s allowed dress himself or use sharp utensils.

According to Nielsen, Trump’s audience wasn’t anywhere near the highest ever. His seventh place showing was an embarrassing loss to his perennial nemeses Bill Clinton and Barack Obama (twice each). No matter how hard he tries to rise above these objects of his loathing, he continually falls short. Here is Nielsen’s chart of ratings for historical State of the Union addresses:

Date Rating Viewers President
2/17/1993 44.3 66,900,000 Clinton
1/28/2003 38.8 62,061,000 G. W. Bush
1/27/1998 37.2 53,077,000 Clinton
2/24/2009* 32.5 52,373,000 Obama
1/29/2002 33.6 51,773,000 G.W. Bush
1/27/2010 29.8 48,009,595 Obama
2/28/2017* 28.7 47,741,000 Trump

Trump is correct that Fox News beat the other networks. But why that is notable escapes me. Trump’s glassy-eyed disciples are glued to Fox News and dependent on its Big Brotherly guidance. They wouldn’t watch the Trump Show anywhere else. And naturally, Trump’s reality TV fans are the most likely to tune into his lie-fest.

It should be noted that while Trump suffered this poor historical showing in the SOTU ratings race, Rachel Maddow was beating the pants off of Sean Hannity. Her MSNBC program was the number one cable news show for the month of January, 2018. She scored solid victories for three of the four weeks in both the key 25-54 year old demo and total viewers, and double-digit year-over-year gains. Meanwhile, Fox News declined by fourteen and eighteen percent, respectively, in those same metrics.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

That’s encouraging evidence that thoughtful, well-researched and reasoned discourse can prevail over rancorous conspiracy theorizing and hate speech. Not to mention that the toxic and tedious lies that Fox News and Donald Trump peddle are clearly wearing thin. And it’s only February. Hopefully this is an indicator of what’s to come.

Rachel Maddow Crushes Trump-Fluffer Sean Hannity in November Ratings War With Fox News

Two months ago Fox News moved Sean Hannity’s program to 9:00 pm. It was the latest schedule change resulting from the terminations of Fox anchors (Bill O’Reilly, Eric Bolling) accused of sexual harassment and abuse. For Hannity it was a promotion to a more desirable time slot with a potentially larger audience. He must have been excited for the opportunity.

Rachel Maddow

He very likely regrets it now. The latest Nielsen ratings report for November 2017, has some depressing news for Hannity and Fox News. In the new time period Hannity has been losing to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on a regular basis. The programs are not really competing for the same viewers, but the bragging rights for being number one are important for both promotion and advertising revenue. Hannity is especially hurting on the latter as a result of his support for the pedophile senate candidate in Alabama, Roy Moore. Advertisers have been fleeing the program and a successful Stop Hannity campaign was launched.

The Nielsen ratings results for the month of November reveal another bitter loss for Sean Hannity. With the pressure of going up against Fox’s top program, Rachel Maddow managed to score an impressive victory. That makes her the number one program in all of cable News in the coveted 25-54 year old demographic. Her ratings improved year-over-year by forty-eight percent. Fox News was down eighteen percent.

On the strength of Maddow’s popularity, the rest of the MSNBC lineup benefited as well. It was the only cable news network to grow its total audience from last year, rising thirty percent. Meanwhile CNN and Fox News both declined (-49% and -31% respectively). The MSNBC primetime was a strong contender across the board, finishing either first or second.

For early risers, Morning Joe took second place and delivered its best numbers in the twenty-one year history of the network. It was also the only show in the time period to grow its audience. In the 25-54 demo Morning Joe advanced twenty-two percent. CNN was down just three percent. And the “Curvy Couch” potatoes at Donald Trump’s favorite show, Fox and Friends, fell by twelve percent.

This has to be a satisfying victory for Maddow and MSNBC. Having suffered a year of Donald Trump’s infantile whining about fake news and low ratings, the network can boast that it handily outperformed Fox News (aka State-Run TV). It’s an indication that the country is hungry for real, in-depth reporting and analysis that doesn’t talk down to them. And, more importantly, doesn’t lie or engage in humiliating episodes of fawning over and defending the ignoramus in the White House.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

As we go forward we will likely see more of the same as Trump’s star falls ever further and the legal noose around his neck gets tighter. Hannity and his Fox News colleagues will undoubtedly ramp up the crazy (just as Trump is doing) in a desperate attempt to keep from becoming totally irrelevant. But their desperation will result in even more ludicrous conspiracy theories and lunatic outbursts. Who knows? This might actually end up being kinda fun to watch.

Rachel Maddow Tops All Cable News Programs in 3rd Quarter – And Donald Trump is Nervous

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.

Rachel Maddow

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.

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.

Fox News Wants You to Believe That Trump-Bashing Killed the Emmys – It Didn’t

The preliminary Nielsen ratings for the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards broadcast are in and they aren’t particularly good. The program drew about 11.2 million viewers, which is down slightly from last year’s show. But leave it to Fox News to turn this minor slippage into a political catastrophe caused by the relentless liberalism of Hollywood elites.

Emmys Stephen Colbert

An op-ed on the Fox News website trumpeted the ratings results with a speculative headline asking “Emmys ratings crater; Trump-bashing to blame?” The argument presented by Fox’s Brian Flood was that criticism of Donald Trump sunk the broadcast to new lows. He writes that:

“It looks like the 69th annual Emmy Awards are heading into sub-basement territory in terms of ratings after host Stephen Colbert spent much of Sunday’s event attacking President Trump. It turns out American viewers may not have been as into Trump bashing as Hollywood would like them to be.”

For the record, host Stephen Colbert didn’t spend much of the night attacking Trump. In all he spent less than three minutes out of a three hour program. But the real absurdity of this analysis is that it proposes something that’s impossible. Fox News thinks that viewers chose not to watch the program based on their clairvoyant observation of the Trump-bashing before it even began. Obviously, without such ESP skills they would not have known not to tune in.

In fact, the Emmy broadcast has been scoring lower numbers for several years. Trump wasn’t president when the ratings began a falling trend. The reasons knowledgeable people attribute to the decline are that television doesn’t have the popular appeal of the Oscars and the Grammys. What’s more, many of the winning programs are now airing on services like Netflix and Hulu that have fewer viewers than broadcast TV. Consequently, the stars are not as familiar or compelling. And airing against Sunday Night Football didn’t help either.

That didn’t stop Fox News from setting up their biased perspective and interviewing political partisans to support it. Flood first sought the opinion of Dan Gainor of the ultra-conservative Media Research Center. Predictably, Gainor slammed the event as “a Hollywood bubble show.” He further castigated television’s creative community as out-of-touch with America and unqualified to express an opinion. That’s a point of view that disappears from right-wingers when the TV personality is one of theirs. Case in point: Donald Trump (or Ronald Reagan, Ted Nugent, Clint Eastwood, Scott Baio, etc.).

The argument that Americans might have tuned out the Emmys because they objected to jokes about Trump also fails logically. Trump is currently sitting on record low ratings himself. And that’s from the American people, not a select groups of show business professionals. With his approval numbers wallowing in the mid-thirties, it’s unlikely that the program lost many viewers who were loyal to Trump. If anything, the fact that most Americans are repulsed and embarrassed by him might have drawn in a bigger audience. There is substantial appetite in the country for the Trump-bashing that Fox News is lamenting. An example of that is the fact that Colbert has become the top rated late night talk show host largely due to his nightly mockery of the President.

The program did feature some sharp jabs at Trump’s expense. Veep’s Julia Louis Dreyfus noted that her show had considered an impeachment plot line, but abandoned it because they were worried that “someone else” might beat them to it. Alec Baldwin, who’s portrayal of Trump on Saturday Night Live won him an Emmy, consoled Trump by giving him partial credit for an award he never won himself. But the most cutting comedy came from the reunited stars of 9-to-5 who said:

Jane Fonda: Back in 1980 in that movie, we refused to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.
Lily Tomlin: And in 2017, we still refuse to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.

Those are the sort of comments that Fox News and their conservative disciples regard as intolerable attacks against their White House Messiah. And for some reason they get away with calling liberals “snowflakes” for being too sensitive. Yet it doesn’t bother them when Trump himself posts tweets that show him assaulting Hillary Clinton. Apparently joking about physically attacking women is perfectly acceptable to these Deplorables. But Fox News finds it necessary to write op-eds that lie about the Emmys just because they can’t handle a few harmless jokes.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.