MSNBC’s ratings, which have been in a steady decline for more than a year, was the subject of discussion on CNN’s Reliable Sources with former MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan and former CBS News anchor Dan Rather.
Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter noted that while MSNBC received a ratings bump last week because of the midterm elections, that was the exception rather than the rule. He said that based on the network’s ratings struggles, there is no longer any talk that it could possibly surpass Fox News.
Ratigan, who left MSNBC in 2012, agreed with Stelter that some of MSNBC’s problems may be due to “Obama fatigue,” or “tiredness” with the liberal message after six years of Obama, and that the commentary on the network has become “very predictable.”
Rather said that it wasn’t a liberal versus conservative audience issue, but one of youth versus age, with young people more likely to use Facebook, Twitter and “Instantgram” [Dan, it’s Instagram not Instantgram] for their news sources rather than television because they are suspicious of the corporatization of media.
Ratigan said he wasn’t worried about MSNBC’s [or CNN’s] future because the networks are well capitalized, and he believes that all the cable news networks will reinvent themselves in the next three to five years to adjust to the changing landscape.
Stelter predicted that MSNBC “will play up more culture and less Washington.” He thinks they believe they will find more of a progressive audience if they “play into the culture of progressivism,” citing a recent concert in Central Park as an example.
While Rather and Ratigan didn’t seem to be overly concerned with MSNBC’s troubles and what it means for the future of liberal TV news, the clock is clearly ticking for the network. Viewers have resoundingly rejected their far-left messaging in favor of their competitors, and probably wouldn’t be missed by many if it disappeared altogether.