Fox News normally ranks #1 among cable news channels. But lately MSNBC's Rachel Maddow has been challenging Fox at 9 p.m., the centerpiece of the prime time schedule.
Maddow's surge is being fueled partly by her day-in, day-out criticism of the Trump administration. There is an increased appetite for the liberal arguments she has been making for years.
"There's a reason Rachel is beating Fox and CNN," MSNBC president Phil Griffin told CNNMoney in an email. "She's a talented storyteller who's helping her audience cut through all the confusion coming out of Washington. She's connecting dots in ways no one else is.
"The week of April 10, for instance, Maddow just barely beat Carlson -- she averaged 542,000 viewers in the demo while he averaged 541,000. CNN ranked third with an average of 396,000 in the demo.
Maddow's show has been MSNBC's tentpole, its highest rated program, for many years. The difference now is the competition with Fox News.
Maddow's increased popularity has even inspired one longtime Right Wing propagandist to become a little hyperbolic.
(Wait, we have flying cars now?)Macron. Flying cars. Maddow #1 in TV news. Welcome to hell.— MATT DRUDGE (@DRUDGE) April 24, 2017
I have long suspected that there is something hinky about Fox's ability to dominate cable news, but so far there has never been any revelations about paying off TV ratings services or anything of that nature. (Though let's face it, we certainly would not put it past News Corp to do just that.)
There ARE a few theories out there:
Fox news enjoys betters ratings precisely because it is "biased, selfish, manipulative & hate-filled". It is exciting stuff for the irrational or ignorant whom would like to be politically involved, but do not have the proper foundation of studies (Economics/Politics/Government/Finance/Law). Therefore, they can push an agenda without corresponding facts to suit the theories and behavior promoted.
Sounds reasonable to me.
It should also be pointed out that the Fox News viewers are easily the MOST partisan group of cable news watchers out there, far more conservative than either CNN or MSNBC viewers are liberal.
And for years Fox News was their one stop shop to feed their confirmation bias.
On the other hand Rachel Maddow has an actual PHD and seems to be determined to follow the facts wherever they might lead her.
Her shows are incredibly informative, often containing history lessons, instruction about the way government works, and plenty of heretofore unknown trivia about both.
She also does not utilize tried and true Fox News methods such as inviting scantily clad blondes to discuss the news of the day, or yelling at her guests and calling them stupid when they have the temerity to disagree with her.
Instead she continues, day by day, to deliver the truth.
And in the era of Donald Trump the thirst for that truth has never been more deeply felt.