Accuracy in Media

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MSNBC’s ratings took another nosedive in the first quarter of 2015, with total daytime viewership down 39 percent and primetime down 45 percent in the key demo compared to the same period a year ago.

This represented MSNBC’s lowest quarterly demo viewership in both categories since the second quarter of 2005, and the lowest quarterly total viewership since the last quarter of 2007.

The network’s downward spiral was shared by all of MSNBC’s primetime programming, with The Rachel Maddow Show falling 19 percent in total viewership and 45 percent in the demo since the first quarter of 2014, marking the show’s lowest quarterly ratings since it debuted in September 2008.

In addition to Maddow, All In with Chris Hayes registered its lowest-rated quarter in the demo since its debut in 2013 and The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell had its lowest-rated quarter since debuting on the network in September 2010 in both total viewers and the demo.

Just how bad are the ratings for MSNBC? The network finished behind CNN’s little watched sister network HLN in the total-day demo for the fourth quarter in a row, and behind its own sister network CNBC in the primetime demo for the second quarter in a row. CNBC has found particular success in airing reruns of ABC’s Shark Tank show in primetime, once a week.

MSNBC president Phil Griffin, who acknowledged in a memo in December that the network faced challenges and that changes were coming, has started to adjust the lineup, beginning with dropping the daytime shows hosted by Ronan Farrow and Joy Reid and replacing them with more news-oriented programming.

That should help a bit, but what Griffin needs to do and what he has refused to do is to either replace or revamp Morning Joe, which has lost to CNN’s New Day for the last three quarters, and to admit that his idea of giving Chris Hayes a primetime spot has been a disaster.

Liberal television is dying—if not already dead—and Griffin is not only helping to bury it, he’s taking his network along for the ride.

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