For the first time in 17 years, right wing propaganda channel Fox News fell into third place with the much-beloved 35-54 year old prime time viewer demographic last week.
“Between 8 and 11 pm, according to Nielsen ratings, MSNBC averaged 611,000 viewers in the demo, CNN 589,000 and Fox 497,000,” reports the Independent.
The conservative outlet’s editorial resistance to stories about Donald Trump’s Russian influence scandals is apparently making those viewers change the channel.
“The ratings slump came as primetime programs notably avoided and counter-programmed major news revelations last week,” writes Maxwell Tani at Business Insider, “including reports that President Donald Trump disclosed classified information with Russian officials and that he had nudged former FBI director James Comey to lay off investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynn.”
“A prolonged scandal involving Trump could continue to propel MSNBC to higher ratings over the long haul,” Steve Battaglio says at the LA Times. “They are up more than 100% in May, compared with a year earlier. The Department of Justice’s appointment of a special counsel to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians means the story is not going to end any time soon.”
Fox News has consistently ignored the story of Trump blabbing Israel’s secrets to Russian officials in the Oval Office, for example. Instead of addressing the story head-on, Sean Hannity has given credence to conspiracy theories about murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich, ignoring his family’s pleas for responsible reporting.
Under public pressure from Rich’s bereaved family after Fox deleted its website article promoting the fabricated story, Hannity was defiant yesterday, but then declared last night that he would stop discussing it “out of respect for the family’s wishes.”
“I serve at the pleasure of the Fox News Channel,” Hannity said according to the Washington Post. He was quashing persistent rumors that he might part ways with the company. “I’m under contract, as long as they seem to want me.”
Sketchy journalistic standards have never been a ratings problem before at Fox. But in surrendering coverage of the biggest story in modern American political life to their rivals, the Murdochs are taking a big risk that does not appear to be paying off.
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