MSNBC Gains Ground on Fox News

First, it seemed like we were heading into a new news and political era when CNN, the network that pioneered 24/7 cable news and rigorously stuck to traditional, stand-back anchoring and news casts fell far behind Fox News – a network that wedded talk radio and overt partisanship to news. And now here’s a new twist: left-leaning MSNBC is quickly gaining round on Fox News.

Are we heading into another new era?

When President Obama won Virginia and most of the other battleground states on Tuesday night, ensuring himself a second term as president, some at MSNBC felt as if they had won as well.

During Mr. Obama’s first term, MSNBC underwent a metamorphosis from a CNN also-ran to the anti-Fox, and handily beat CNN in the ratings along the way. Now that it is known, at least to those who cannot get enough politics, as the nation’s liberal television network, the challenge in the next four years will be to capitalize on that identity.

MSNBC, a unit of NBCUniversal, has a long way to go to overtake the Fox News Channel, a unit of News Corporation: on most nights this year, Fox had two million more viewers than MSNBC.

But the two channels, which skew toward an audience that is 55 or older, are on average separated by fewer than 300,000 viewers in the 25- to 54-year-old demographic that advertisers desire. On three nights in a row after the election last week, MSNBC — whose hosts reveled in Mr. Obama’s victory — had more viewers than Fox in that demographic.

“We’re closer to Fox than we’ve ever been,” said Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC, who has been trying to overtake Fox for years. “All of this is great for 2013, 2014 to keep building.”

Fox News should presumably facing its greatest era ever: Obama is re-elected so many Americans who are anti-Obama will be thirsting for a credible news and opinion source. The problem: Fox News credibility — even among many conservatives.

Meanwhile, CNN as the “moderate” news source, finds itself in a position as moderates in do in both major political parties: facing incoming missiles from the left and right, trying to find the right game plan to thrive — and survive.

3 Comments

  1. That’s why I still watch CNN. They may get something incorrect from time to time, but their competition is nothing but entertainment for either the far left or far right.

  2. I always took it as a positive that the media whoring and constant bias and acting as merely a speaking tool for a party didn’t do as well on the left as it does on the right. I took this to mean that there are more thinkers on the left. The day that lefty versions of Rush and Hannity have as many listeners as Rush and Hannity, is the day this country is really being run by nothing more than ideology instead of facts.

  3. I am not a FNC viewer, but if I was I would be angry as heck for being led down the garden path on the ’12 election results. Really, they blew it bigtime and after Karl Rove’s big meltdown on the air should be losing some credibility. Some of their audience went on Intrade and plunked down real cash based on Fox’s false premise!

    OK, I admit I DO watch MSNBC, but I think if you compare the truthfulness of Rachel Maddow to that of Sean Hannity there is no question that Maddow would eclipse him. Yes, they are biased. Yes, they are uncritical. But they don’t create an alternate universe where Benghazi is the most significant attack that we’ve ever had in all these years of fignting terrorism in the ME. Did things go badly wrong over there? Obviously. Was there a massive screw-up as far as communications goes between the CIA and the State Dept and the WH?? Definitely looks like it. But every administration has gone through something like this. I highly doubt that Fox is interested in the attack so that it can be a learning experience for next time.

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