Accuracy in Media

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Fox News continues to steamroll the competition, with its 49th consecutive week and 147th consecutive month as the number one cable news network in both total day and primetime, during the first quarter of 2014.

Compared to the first quarter of 2013, Fox News was up 3% in total viewers and 5% in the demo viewers in total day, and up 4% and 5% respectively in primetime. It was also the only one of the big three cable networks to show any audience growth.

That is due largely to the lineup changes that Fox made last fall, with Megyn Kelly up 15% in total viewers and 4% in the demo over last year, when Sean Hannity occupied that time slot. Hannity managed to increase total viewers by 16% and the demo by 2% compared to last year, when Greta van Susteren held the 10 p.m. slot, giving Fox a nice overall boost.

MSNBC, which spent much of the quarter in an all-out assault on Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) after the Bridgegate scandal broke, even when there was no news to report, lost 9% of their viewers in total day and 2% in the demo. It was even worse in primetime, where they shed 10% and 4% respectively.

The news was equally bad at CNN, which recorded its third-lowest overall quarter in primetime total viewers in 23 years, trailing only the second quarter of 2012 and the fourth quarter of 2013.

The net result was that the network was down 3% in total viewers and flat in demo viewers in total day. In primetime, the network was down 16% and 3%, respectively.

That was despite a very strong March, in which they were up 42% in total viewers and up 53% in the demo in total day. In primetime, they gained 37% and 65% respectively compared to March 2013, thanks to their wall-to-wall coverage of missing Malaysian Air flight MH370.

Even though MSNBC continues to make programming blunders like Ronan Farrow, CNN is suffering even more from a lack of a cohesive strategy and general inaction in its programming, that is sure to keep them in the ratings cellar for the foreseeable future.

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