Election season was very good to MSNBC in terms of ratings, pushing the network up to second place where they were nipping at the heels of Fox News. But since the election things have been quite a bit slower for the network.
At Mediaite, Joe Concha attributes the hyper-partisan network’s decline to being positioned to defend an increasingly unpopular second-term president:
The formula worked in 2012 in turning Mitt Romney into Gordon Gekko while the network soared to its highest ratings ever. But that formula—part-attack Republicans, part-defend-the President at all costs—is a one-track record that the public—even some on the left—aren’t buying. And when the choice is to join the GOP in holding the President accountable with the same passion they did when taking on Bush 43, the captains of MSNBC primetime appear to be prepared to go down with the ship…if it means embracing that horrific alternative.
Ace, also, argues that “a partisan cheerleading outfit” have, without an election during which to cheerlead, “no actual identity.”
A “news” network — a business in the business of selling you The News each night — is forced into the position of telling you there is no news to report, night after night.
Because of the Full Partisan Tilt of MSNBC, the alleged “news” network must tell its customers, night after night, that there stockrooms are bare, and they have nothing at all to vend.
I think that’s true, but then why doesn’t Fox News suffer the same fate? With dominates the top of the cable news ratings year after year, with both Republicans and Democrats in power. Many see Fox as the other side of the ideological coin from MSNBC, yet the network isn’t on the same ratings roller coaster.
There are probably two reasons for that.
First, conservative media is a lot more concentrated than liberal media. Absent election-year audiences, Fox still has a core group of loyal watchers who really don’t have anywhere else to go for conservative television programming. Not so for liberals.
Second, while Fox without a doubt has a conservative bias, I’m not sure they’re the partisan loyalists the folks at MSNBC are. Which is to say that while Fox produces biased journalism, MSNBC produces flat-out propaganda.