MSNBC’s rating surge is being powered by a surge in new cable news viewers as the Trump presidency has gotten more opponents involved and engaged which is bad news for the President and his party.
Essentially, MSNBC’s surge is fueled by newbies, people who weren’t regular cable news viewers. So the question remains of why these people are primarily going to MSNBC instead of CNN. CNN’s prime time is panel-based, with a stream of people talking about the news. Unlike MSNBC, CNN regularly includes Trump supporters in the mix and some of those — think Jeffrey Lord — infuriate the president’s opponents. CNN’s immediate announcement that it wasn’t interested in outgoing White House press secretary Sean Spicer as a contributor was understandable given the administration’s biting attacks on the network, but Spicer is likely to be more skilled than Lord.”
The reason why CNN hasn’t gained in the ratings like MSNBC has is simple. CNN provides airtime to contributors that anti-Trump viewers can’t stand. They also provide a platform for anti-Trump voices that this president and his supporters can’t stand. In a partisan political world, CNN is a network without a natural base viewership.
As Republicans and the White House know, surging ratings at a friendly cable news network can provide circumstantial evidence of an engaged base. People who choose to watch cable news are more likely to vote than those who don’t. The fact that MSNBC is surging in the ratings due to viewers who are new to cable news suggests a groundswell of opposition to Trump and the Republican Party.
The tide is turning, and a midterm election landscape that looked unfriendly may be becoming downright hostile if the ratings at MSNBC are an indication of the storms to come.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and 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