Since election day, Rachel Maddow has been beating Sean Hannity in the key demo ratings. Fox News has responded with a juvenile attack on Maddow.
There is something happening in cable news that can no longer be ignored. MSNBC is seriously challenging Fox News. Specifically, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell are regularly beating their Fox News competition in the key 25-54 demo. Last week, Maddow beat Hannity, 378,000 viewers to 352,000 in the demo.
This week Maddow handily defeated Hannity on Monday (394,000-336,000) and Tuesday (388,000-285,000). Even with guest hosts filling in for Maddow on Wednesday and Thursday, Hannity was only able to eek out small wins of 55,000 and 38,000 in the demo. From election day through the end of November, Maddow beat Hannity by 13%.
Hannity’s margin over Maddow in total viewers is inflated by the fact that Fox News is available in more homes than MSNBC. Bill O’Reilly’s show is the only thing keeping Fox News ahead in the primetime demo. If anything ever happens to O’Reilly, Fox News will be in deep trouble.
The biggest sign yet that Fox News knows they have a problem was how they responded to Rachel Maddow being nominated for a Grammy for her spoken word version of Drift.
Here was the headline on Fox Nation:
This behavior is nothing new for Fox News. Every since Jon Stewart started crushing them in the ratings, they have regularly and sometimes personally attacked The Daily Show host. Among other things, Fox News has edited his appearances on their network and called Stewart a racist.
Stewart and Maddow both are the anti-Fox News. Both draw big ratings, and both are now enemies of Fox. As more younger Americans continue to rebel against information bubbles like Fox, they are seeking out alternatives that place an an emphasis on information over propaganda, and perhaps no show on Fox is as propagandistic as Hannity. On occasion during his broadcasts, Sean Hannity literally reads or quotes verbatim from Republican talking points. Maddow’s show is the exact opposite. She is fair to her guests, and is does not shy away from being tough on the Obama administration and Democrats.
If MSNBC was available in more homes, Maddow would have probably blown by Hannity in total viewers a while ago.
The Fox News style network is being rejected by more and more viewers. There may be little that Fox can actually do to stop this slide. So like the the impotent old man of cable news that they are becoming, Fox News has resorted to using juvenile attacks against younger and stronger competition that is gaining on them every day.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association