Conservatives have been sniping at MSNBC for weeks over an alleged ratings decline, and the less-than-blockbuster start for Chris Hayes’s new primetime program. Now there are some ratings facts to raise actual concern among fans of the so-called “liberal-leaning” cable news outlet. Bill Carter’s New York Times piece this week finds ratings at the network down 20 percent and instead of running second to Fox it even fell to fourth behind CNN and Headline News (gasp) for the not-so-merry month of May.
Problem: there’s been a lot of major breaking news (real or hyped) lately, which is not exactly the strong suit of the MSNBC evening lineup. I guess this refers to the Boston bombing, the Cleveland kidnap/rape tragedy, maybe Jody Arias. Yes, CNN has soared before in such times and then fallen. Also, MSNBC proclaims itself the “place for politics,” not news, and we’re between election cycles. Ratings this past Monday were a little better: Maddow and O’Donnell took 2nd place, and Hayes third (Fox always wins every night and every slot).
But it may not be that simple. For one thing, elections are hardly the only staple of “politics.” And most periods experience a good deal of hot news.
I could go on. But I thought instead that I would solicit your views on this—whether you like it or not, many of you are viewed as a prime audience for the MSNBC nighttime lineup, from Sharpton to Matthews to Hayes to Maddow to O’Donnell—hell, even most of afternoon and Sunday shows. (We shall not speak of Morning Joe.) And let’s not forget that Hayes, new guy Ari Melber, and Melissa Harris-Perry, have strong Nation ties.
So take a little time to comment below with your own opinion—or an explanation of your own viewing patterns. Are you watcing MSNBC more or less? Why? What do you wish they would cover or discuss more? What do you think of the host and guest lineup? Are you pretty much shutting off TV in any case? Are you interested in the coming Al Jazeera America? If not MSNBC, what shows and news outlets elsewhere are you focusing on?
Plenty to chew on here, so…chew away! And I promise to respond to many of your comments.