Accuracy in Media



Thanks in large part to a busy news month—with the shooting down of Malaysian Air flight MH17 over Ukraine and the crash of two other airplanes—MSNBC slid to an eight-year low in the primetime A25-54 demo.

MSNBC averaged 152,000 viewers in the demo, compared to 164,000 at CNN and 299,000 at Fox News.

It was even worse for MSNBC in the total-day demo, as the network slid to fourth place behind HLN. MSNBC’s usual viewers apparently turned to the network’s competitors to find out what was happening in the Ukraine and elsewhere.

Compared to July 2013, MSNBC was down 16% in total viewers and 33% in the demo, while suffering a 6% drop in total viewers and 25% in the demo.

Leading the way downward was Now with Alex Wagner, which was down 28% in total viewers and 57% in the demo. That puts it at the lowest figure in the 4 p.m. demo since 2005. Other shows that struggled in the demo include The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd (off 47%), All In with Chris Hayes and The Rachel Maddow Show—which are both down 20%—and The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, which is down 17%.

Even though MSNBC’s July ratings woes appears to be good news for CNN, if the past is any guide the boost will only be temporary for the Atlanta-based cable network. CNN does a much better job of attracting viewers when there are events like an airplane being shot down, than when they have to rely upon their flailing primetime lineup.

July marked Fox News’ 151st straight month at number one, and it was the only cable news network to show growth in overall primetime viewership and the demo.

Fox demonstrated its ratings dominance on Monday when it averaged 444,000 in the primetime demo, beating MSNBC and CNN combined by over 100,000 viewers.

MSNBC’s brand of uber-liberalism, which propelled it past CNN in the ratings three years ago, has now seemingly run its course, as the fatigue factor has set in with Obama supporters. In addition, the dim outlook for Democrats in November will probably lead to a see-saw battle with CNN for the foreseeable future, and a few more multi-year lows as well.

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