When the George Zimmerman verdict was read Saturday evening and we learned that Zimmerman had been acquitted of second degree murder and was free to go, many Americans turned to cable news networks for breaking coverage. And unsurprisingly, most viewers did not turn to MSNBC:
MSNBC's ratings woes came into sharp relief on Monday with the release of the preliminary numbers for the Zimmerman verdict.
In the 10-11 p.m. hour on Saturday night, when the verdict in, Fox News had 3,682,000 total viewers; CNN had 3,407,000 total viewers and won the coveted demo with 1,716,000 viewers aged 25-to-54.
In the same hour, MSNBC had 1,298,000 total viewers -- about one-third of Fox's total -- and a mere 510,000 viewers in the demo. (These are preliminary numbers; finals are in tomorrow.)
Despite branding itself as "the place for politics," MSNBC went wall-to-wall on the Zimmerman trial after watching its ratings tank in recent months. It doesn't seemed to have helped.
These are only the preliminary numbers, of course, but I suspect MSNBC’s ratings deficits are far from over, and I have a few theories why.
Perhaps it’s because one of their paid contributors finds it completely acceptable to compare black conservative Supreme Court Justices to anti-Semitic Hitler fanatics (and get away with it, I might add). Or perhaps it’s because some anchors use wholly inappropriate and explicit language when describing House Republicans. (These are only two examples from the past month.) Remember, too, what Guy reminded us last year -- during the final week of the 2012 election, not one of the network’s stories about Mitt Romney was considered “positive” while at the same time not one of the stories about President Obama was considered “negative.” Their reputation for impartiality is really quite extraordinary.
In short, MSNBC's rank partisanship doesn’t even appear to be drawing viewers to their own network for a story they themselves pushed. Go figure.
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