About that declining array of viewers!

MONDAY, MAY 20, 2013

As pseudolibs run from a fight: In this morning’s first post, we referred to Rachel Maddow’s declining array of viewers.

When one team fights and the other team won’t, viewers may tend to notice! Just so you’ll know, here are the numbers of people who were watching as Rachel made her ridiculous claims about Benghazi last week:

Last Wednesday night, at 8 PM Eastern, 689,000 people watched Maddow make her ridiculous claims about the Benghazi scandal having fallen apart. To review all these data, click here.

Over on Fox, Sean Hannity was driving the Benghazi gong-show forward. He had 2.43 million people watching.

That same evening, Maddow attracted 287,000 viewers to the midnight rerun. In that same hour, Hannity was holding court for 1.10 million viewers.

Total audience for the two airings:
Hannity: 3.52 million viewers
Maddow: 976,000
Hannity’s audience was well over three times as large.

We’re not suggesting that Hannity’s numbers mean that his program was better. We are suggesting this possibility:

When broadcasters 1) refuse to dsecribe reality and 2) abjectly refuse to fight, viewers may start to notice.

MSNBC’s programs have been impossibly dull, in large part because of this corporate channel’s abject refusal to fight. Could it be that some viewers have noticed?

How bad has it been in the 8 PM hour? Last Wednesday, the numbers looked like this:
O’Reilly: 3.12 million viewers
Hayes: 440,000
This channel’s programs are very dull and they’ve been losing viewers in droves. Is it possible that liberals don’t watch to watch a bunch of multimillionaire cowards slink off and run from a fight?

Concerning last Friday’s programs: Maddow made her ridiculous claims about Benghazi last Wednesday and Friday nights.

The numbers for Friday haven’t been posted. When they get posted, they’ll be just as bad. Can it be that people don't want to watch a bunch of feel-good evasions which serve the refusal to fight?


  1. I can only speak for myself as a liberal, not for all liberals. But the reason I don't enjoy any of those programs, on any channel, is that I don't like to have the news talked "at" me, even if I mostly agree with the host's opinions.

    I've always thought the top-down, shepherd preaching to his flock style of news is a more natural fit for conservative opinions -- which, if true, would explain why these programs do so well on Fox.

    Or maybe that's my own tribal bias coming through. Even though I hate listening to my own tribe.

  2. "Can it be that people don't want to watch a bunch of feel-good evasions which serve the refusal to fight?"

    Yes, that's one thing certainly.

    The illusion ("Benghazi pretty much went away") that there's no need to deal with the issue is also comforting (cue the "The Washington Post is irrelevant" wishful-thinking moaners).

    Another thing probably driving some viewers away (I find it unbearable) is the cutesy-cute love-me-please schtick, a specialty of Maddow (but something that, say, Chris Hayes, is hardly immune to either).

    But the real question may be: Is this the "best" "liberal" programming that can be expected anyway, under existing media structures?

    Like Somerby, I am not convinced that improvement is impossible.

  3. Maddow's show just seems like a high-school pep rally:

    Who's smart?
    We're smart!
    Who's stupid?
    They're stupid!

    1. We conservatives take it in stride.

    2. You conservatives are just happy because noone's talking about the class war.

      Mission accomplished!

    3. And deport any of the servants who drink any! Whoo!

  4. IMHO Maddow's approach is the defense. She can't defend Obama on the facts, because she doesn't know the facts. Neither does Hannity. We don't know what discussions and actions were taken by Obama, Clinton and others.

    So, Maddow defends Obama by claiming that this is a non-issue. If enough of the media take that line, it will become self-fultilling.

  5. A Sensible SuggestionMay 20, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    I have a sense that all you Anonymouses out there are only "Anonymous" because you don't realize that you don't have to "sign in" with anything that might compromise your privacy. Just go to "Comment as" and scroll down to "Name/URL" and type in any name you please (no URL is necessary). Then click "Continue".

    But it's impossible to have a meaningful discussion when five different people all use the moniker "Anonymous" and are forced to individualize themselves by referencing the time of their prior contribution.

    1. Thanks, "A Sensible Suggestion." You're right about the difficulty in a discussion with too many writers labeled as "anonymous," and you're also correct that the few times when I've commented I've done so anonymously because I thought I had no other choice.

    2. Thanks, i was stymied what to put in the URL box

    3. "Just go to "Comment as" and scroll down to "Name/URL" and type in any name you please "

      Any name? Can I use "Anonymous" or "David in Cal" interchangebly?

  6. This week the Military brass were on the Hill with the constitution busting idea continuing the agreement to let the President do what he wants for another ten years re: terrorism, when and where he wants to. You know, since it worked out so well in Iraq and all. As the Daily Howler pointed out with some vigor at the time, as W's disaster became more and more apparent, this was morphed into "The Democrats Voted For The War." Which we all repeat today and never even think about it.
    The things that are being said about Rice follow this same stroll down Whitewater Way, the notion that all lies and misdeeds are bipartisan is the myth we really to sustain us; to, say, allow the likes of CeciliaMe to walk around freely. And as we have illustrated to death, Bob has done some prodigious pimping for this myth himself. Yet when he is forced to confront the real world of false equivalencies, he gets mad at us!
    Bill Maher is following the old pattern of his Clinton days: correctly proclaiming that in the history of human folly Benghazi is less than a blip on the screen (fair point, given Republican War criminals who are claiming it's the worst thing that ever happened), but never mention said anti-blip was the fault of the C.I.A., not Susan Rice.

    Keeping hope alive, I will again maintain that these things have a way of turning into pluses, if confused and murky ones. As of now, the Republicans are one Monica shy of a Starr report, and voters will eventually notice. In the meantime, can't help noticing the Daily Howler's disinterest in ABC using the doctored e-mails, the only actually scandalous Benghazi byproduct yet.

    1. I especially like the part where you imply that folks you disagree with shouldn't be allowed to walk around freely. Finally, a full-throated defense of fascism.

    2. I rarely read his stuff and didn't know that he had mentioned me till you said that.

      Hey, Greg. I'm not just walking around freely, I'm strutting!

    3. It's not an implication, I've stated it baldly: suffering fools is the price of freedom. Who knows, it's possible Cecelia me is purportioned in such a fashion that her strut is redeeming in the Bob Seegarin sense. Doubtful, but we can dream.

    4. Joey Stalin, amateur psychologistMay 20, 2013 at 11:57 PM

      No, you what you said was that the myth that lies are bipartisan (not solely the province of the Other) was what causes the horror of people who disagree with you being able to walk around freely. Don't soft pedal it, embrace your inner totalitarian!

    5. Obviously, this moron HAS embraced his inner totalitarian to the point where his mom's basement is filled with pictures of women in chains.

      Don't encourage him. Back away towards the door...slowly.

    6. Ah, the mild less bimbo who cheered on Shock and Awe is horrified by the totalitarian implications of classic rock. Save the amateur satire for the young Republican meetings, my lame friends, and be untotaltarian enough to not put words in my mouth.

  7. Bob might prefer a more factual and accurate approach - I would myself. But the comparison of MSNBC viewer numbers with Fox does not bear out the idea that TV news viewers prefer this approach, unless Fox is two or three times more factual and accurate than MSNBC.

    It may be hopeless to expect most TV viewers to prefer facts over the stuff that Fox dishes out. Judging from what gets on the other networks, most people prefer infotainment, if not outright partisan drivel. Is MSNBC really worse than the other non-Fox networks?

  8. I work with Fox viewers. They drive to work listening to talk radio. While at work, they read Drudge and the Blaze, when not working. On their way home, they listen to talk radio. When they get home, they turn on Fox news, and seldom change the station. The kind of person who watches Fox is the kind of person with a bottomless appetite for that sort of thing. Moreover, I'm willing to bet big money that the average Fox viewer is older than the average MSNBC viewer -- older, and more likely to be retired, and thus, able to stay up late consuming their poison. As a means of judging the quality of the programs, I find Bob's use of this metric kind of bizarre.

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