Rachel Maddow Stomps Sean Hannity with 4th Straight Monthly Win vs State TV (aka Fox News)

A couple of years ago Fox News was regarded as an invincible monolith on cable news that no other network could challenge. It was a fallacy created by their catering to a hard-core right-wing constituency that behaved like mesmerized cult worshipers, but it had the effect of corralling the whole demographic into a plurality of viewers while the other networks divided the rest of the audience.

Rachel Maddow, Sean Hannity, Fox News

However, that tactic has lost its potency. Ever since the midterm election in early November, the Rachel Maddow Show has dominated her time period and helped to boost the ratings of her MSNBC colleagues. For four straight months Maddow has beaten the previous time period champ, Sean Hannity, by significant margins.

For the month of February Maddow’s ratings improved by nine percent over the prior year. She was the most-watched cable news program among adults 25-54. She won all but three nights in the entire month. Meanwhile, Fox News has been struggling to keep people tuned in. Tucker Carlson was down four percent year-over-year in total viewers. Laura Ingraham was down six percent. And Hannity was off seven percent. In the coveted advertiser demo of 25-54 year olds, Hannity has lost nearly a quarter (23%) of his audience. In fact, the whole Fox News primetime roster is down in the demo by twenty percent.

The dominance of Maddow’s program has increased over time. And on February 27 (the day following the House Oversight Committee’s hearing with testimony by Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen), she had the highest rating ever for her show. This performance has resulted in MSNBC achieving ratings records overall. From Morning Joe in the AM, to Nicolle Wallace in the afternoon, to primetime, MSNBC has enjoyed double digit growth.

In addition to Fox’s ratings woes, they are also suffering an exodus of advertisers. Some of that is due to their declining ratings, but most of it is because advertisers just don’t want to be associated with programs that advocate bigotry and promote violence. It’s gotten so bad that the ad sales folks at Fox are afraid to even try selling these shows to advertisers. Consequently, Trump has had to be enlisted in a campaign to rescue the failing network’s biggest “stars.” And it’s a two-way street with Fox hosts like Hannity and Jeanine Pirro showing up at Trump’s cult rallies.

Television ratings can be fluid and swerve back and forth between various networks and programs. But the rise of MSNBC has defied the predictions of most analysts. And their sustained dominance over many months has been particularly surprising. This is no fluke. And it is not likely a coincidence that this success has occurred as Democrats have increased their presence in Washington, and the legal peril for Trump has exploded.

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

As Trump’s prospects continue to decline, more people will tune in to MSNBC for the real news that Fox ignores and suppresses. And as more people become informed, Trump’s fortunes will wither even more. It’s beautiful downward spiral for a criminal president and his TV sycophants.

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.

The Blue Wave Swept MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Into First Place for November 2018

The 2018 midterm elections truly lived up to the pre-election hype. All the talk of a “Blue Wave” panned out as Democrats took the majority in the House of Representatives with more gains (40 seats) than any election since Watergate. In addition, they flipped seven governorships, seven statehouse majorities, and almost 400 state legislative seats. It was an unambiguous blowout for the Trump Resistance.

Rachel Maddow

But there was a victory that was not related to the the electoral one. The campaign for the eyes and ears of America’s television news viewers also tilted broadly to the left. The perennial leader, Fox News, suffered a decline in November versus their numbers for November 2017. So did CNN. But MSNBC had a notable gain. And that increase was driven by the popularity of their primetime anchor, Rachel Maddow.

Following the election on November sixth, the ratings for Maddow went steadily up. She was the top performing program on cable news for the rest of the month. Her competition, Sean Hannity, was unable to keep up. Maddow pulled in total 2.9 million viewers on average per night, compared to Hannity’s 2.8 million. And in the advertiser demographic of 25-54 she did 527,000, far exceeding Hannity’s 497,000.

Throughout much of this time period the election was still in progress as many districts continued to count votes in close races. That might have held the interest of viewers for Maddow, but you have to wonder why it didn’t do the same for Hannity’s audience. The difference may be that the election wasn’t the only story being told.

Donald Trump was doing his part by inflaming new scandals every other day. They included his callous response to the California fires; his ever-present battle with the media; the ongoing inaction to the murder of a journalist, and U.S. resident, Jamal Khashoggi; his embarrassing neglect of respect for fallen troops during his junket to France; and so many more it’s hard to keep track.

Maddow was studiously reporting on all of these issues and more. While Fox News was desperately trying to figure out ways to avoid these subjects altogether. Consequently they wound up recycling their typically ludicrous “War on Christmas” fare or regurgitated segments about Hillary Clinton’s emails. No wonder even Fox’s viewers turned away.

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

Whatever the reasons, Maddow showed that she is still a force to reckoned with. And as the new year brings a myriad of stories about congressional investigations into Trump and his crime family, along with the expected release of a report by special counsel Robert Mueller, the future looks bright for Maddow and MSNBC. Meanwhile, Fox viewers can look forward to more of this:

March Maddow-ness: MSNBC Dominates Fox News in the March Ratings Championship Game

Two years ago, Fox News was the unchallenged king of the cable news networks with ratings that sometimes exceeded the combined total of CNN and MSNBC. Last year, Rachel Maddow showed surprising strength against her competition, Sean Hannity. But now it is becoming a regular occurrence that MSNBC beats Fox News over significant parts of the daily schedule.

Rachel Maddow

MSNBC’s ratings success is driven by Maddow’s continued surge. She is no longer a quirky thorn in Fox’s side. She regularly wins her time period in the coveted advertising demographic of 18-34 year olds. In March she beat Hannity every single day of the month except for one. Her average audience for the month was 651,000. That compares to Hannity’s average of 568,000. But even more impressive is that Maddow also bested Hannity in total viewers fourteen out of the twenty-one weekdays in the month. Her average for total viewers was 2.99 million vs. Hannity’s 2.87 million.

MSNBC should also be proud of having better audience numbers in the demo than Fox News for most of the evening hours including primetime. Their average from 4:00pm to midnight was 458,400 vs. Fox’s 455,800. The Last Word with Lawerence O’Donnell won its time period thirteen of the twenty-one weekdays in March. And The 11th Hour with Brian Williams came out on top on nineteen days. Both of those programs scored higher than their competition (Laura Ingraham and Shannon Bream respectively) for the full month. And although Fox News generally did better during most of the daytime time periods, Deadline with Nicolle Wallace managed to beat Fox’s Neil Cavuto on eight days.

A weak point in MSNBC’s schedule is All In with Chris Hayes. Which is too bad because it’s an excellent show that has been recognized with multiple Emmys. However, it needs some juice if it’s going to be a decent leadin for Maddow and the rest of their primetime. They should think about pairing Hayes with Joy Reid as a co-host. Reid’s weekend program has been showing strength and is popular among MSNBC’s core audience. And it wouldn’t hurt to consider swapping Nicolle Wallace into Chris Matthew’s Hardball slot. Wallace has demonstrated her ability to pull in viewers, and Matthews may play better in the earlier, newsier part of the day.

The bottom line is that Fox News can no longer consider itself the number one network for cable news. It has been declining with each new reporting period. In January Fox News dropped fourteen percent in primetime. And February topped that with an additional fifteen percent decline. Meanwhile, MSNBC gained significantly in both of those months. February’s percentage gains were over twenty percent. Even worse for Fox News was their actual earnings performance. Their revenue rose less than either of their competitors – a measly seventeen percent. CNN’s rise doubled that to thirty-two percent. And MSNBC rocketed up sixty-two percent.

We can expect Fox’s earnings to fall even more in April with the advertiser exodus they are experiencing due to Laura Ingraham’s reprehensible attack on David Hogg, one of the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. So far there are at least eighteen major advertisers who have pulled their business from her show. And in the midst of that she just announced that she will be on “vacation” all of next week. For the record, that’s the same thing Bill O’Reilly did after his advertisers bailed en masse and just before he was canned by Fox.

UPDATE: Forbes affirms the above ratings analysis.

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.

Rachel Maddow Guides MSNBC to a Strong February 2018 – Fox News and Hannity are Scared

In another embarrassingly weak performance, Fox News has suffered a ratings fall-off in February 2018 that signals more trouble ahead. Fox’s declining fortunes are becoming a regular event. In January the network dropped fourteen percent in primetime. Now February has topped that with an additional fifteen percent decline. Meanwhile, MSNBC gained significantly in both months of this new year.

Fox News Sad

In January Rachel Maddow outperformed Hannity, and all other cable news programs, in the key audience demographic of 25-54 year olds. She came just short of repeating that performance in February with an average of 635,000 viewers per night. Hannity edged her out with 643,000. However, of the twenty days in February, Maddow won a majority (eleven) of them.

Maddow’s practice of covering breaking news and the unfolding scandals of the scandal-ridden Trump administration has proven to be an unqualified success. Her deep dive into research and expert analysis continues to draw devoted viewers. Two years ago no one would have predicted that Fox would be a second place news network. Fox actually moved Hannity into a direct time period competition with Maddow in an attempt to blow her out with his top rated program. That didn’t go exactly according to plan and must be gnawing at Hannity and his Fox bosses.

Consequently, Hannity’s program is sinking into ever more ludicrous conspiracy theory territory. He is challenging Alex Jones as the right-wing’s most unhinged crackpot. On almost every show Hannity ignores actual news of Trump’s daily failures. Instead, he features topics exploring Hillary Clinton’s ancient and baseless controversies, or some version of the alleged “deep state” takeover of America. And of course, Hannity is serving his master in the White House with constant attempts to slander special counsel Robert Mueller and the FBI.

These subjects are also spread across the Fox News schedule. It’s why Fox viewers are so often shown to be more uninformed (or ill informed) than viewers of any other news network. And it is probably contributing to the overall audience decline at Fox as people seek out actual news and information relevant to their lives. But it is consistent with the Fox News commitment to defend Trump at all costs.

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

The Fox News mission has always been to prop up the conservative, Republican agenda. But it’s more immediate objective is to discredit the investigations into Trump’s unsavory connections to Russia (and other financial corruption). And flagrant propagandists like Hannity, Tucker Carlson (who just called Democrats anti-American), and the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends, are focused intently on smearing America’s law enforcement and intelligence institutions. They are putting their rancid partisanship before the interests of the country. And America’s television viewers are reacting with disgust and seeking out more credible reporting. Which is good news for Maddow and MSNBC.

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 Swamps Hannity to Become the #1 Cable News Show for January 2018

Last September Fox News moved Sean Hannity’s program to 9:00pm to compete directly with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. Looking back they might not consider that a particularly smart decision. Hannity is Fox’s highest rated program, but it consistently comes up second to Maddow, which must be a painful embarrassment. And the first month of 2018 was almost all Maddow’s

Rachel Maddow Sean Hannity

The first week that Hannity aired in Maddow’s time period he looked pretty good. Of course he front-loaded the show with high profile guests including Fox favorites like Steve Bannon, Bill O’Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh. He certainly wasn’t going to keep that up. But it was enough to get Donald Trump to retweet his son Eric bragging…

It was mostly downhill from there. In January Maddow outperformed Hannity, and all other cable news programs, in the key audience demographic of 25-54 year olds. She averaged 677,000 viewers to Hannity’s 636,000. She scored solid victories for three of the four weeks in both the key demo and total viewers. The last week of the month Hannity staged a bit of comeback as he ramped up his wild-eyed, conspiracy theory rhetoric. But by month’s end Maddow still had a higher average rating than Hannity.

What’s more, MSNBC was the only cable news network to see ratings gains year-over-year. They grew in total prime time viewers more than sixty-one percent, and in total day viewers more than fifty-five percent. Meanwhile, Fox News declined fourteen percent and eighteen, respectively, in those same metrics.

It would be an understatement to call Hannity’s deranged broadcasts “over the top.” He repeatedly assailed the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller as corrupt agents of the “deep state” who were acting on behalf of a “secret society.” These were deliberate attempts to smear those investigating Trump’s unsavory relationships with Russia. Hannity’s rants derailed with repetitious hyperbole such as…

  • “…the biggest scandal in American history.”
  • “…never seen in American history.”
  • “One of the biggest political scandals in modern U.S. history.”
  • “…far bigger than Watergate.”
  • “…makes Watergate look like stealing a Snickers bar.”
  • “This is Watergate on steroids and human growth hormones.”

No doubt this nonsense will play well among Hannity’s dimwitted viewers and the glassy-eyed disciples of Donald Trump. Hannity is striving to steal the mantle of right-wing kook from Alex Jones. And his guests are often more tightly wound than he is.

This strategy could pay off over time because so much of the conservative audience has a an affinity for tabloid melodrama and unrealistic political soap operas. They like nothing better than the wingnut version of Housewives of Washington, D.C., mixed with some Duck Dynasty doofusness, and a healthy dose of white nationalism. You know, the makings of the average Trump voter. And Hannity is serving it up by the shovel-full.

Time will tell if Maddow’s thoughtful, well-reasoned, fact-based brand of intelligent discourse will continue to best Hannity’s Lowbrow Racist Hour. But it’s encouraging to see how successful she has been against competition that was considered unbeatable a year ago.

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