The release of the Mueller probe exacerbated the divisions between the news networks.
With the release of the Mueller report last Thursday audience interest spiked for the news providers, and Fox News not only led in the ratings but managed to even beat the primary networks. There was wild interest from the general public for the details to be revealed — even extending to the bestseller lists — and most of the viewers selected Fox for the delivery of the specifics.
There is little surprise in Fox News taking the lead in the ratings, as the network has been entrenched at the top of that list in nearly all categories for years. The one variable can be when breaking news and daylong coverage of events takes place, as the numbers tend to rise for all — with Fox still on top. Thursday the cable news champion even bested the major networks in the coverage of the report.
Coverage overall that day drew in 11 million viewers on average across all of the networks (with the exception of NBC.) The surprise is that not only did Fox soundly beat MSNBC, and CNN, but also the coverage from CBS and ABC. Measuring the coverage from 9:30 am, prior to the 11:00 am release of the report, to 1:00 pm Fox averaged over two million viewers throughout the day.
Fox News – 2.78 Million
CBS – 2.54m
ABC – 2.22m
MSNBC – 2.0m
CNN – 1.17m
Things only became worse that evening. In the primetime lineups from 8:00-11:00 pm Fox News swelled, averaging 3.2 million. MSNBC saw a similar uptick from its daily audience, to 2.6 million, while CNN actually lost viewers. Thursday night CNN drew only a flat 1.1 million, roughly one-third of the Fox viewership.
It seems rather clear that after two years of pounding the story that Russian collusion was a legitimate scandal the mainstream news outlets have lost respectability. Weeks earlier when the report was initially delivered to the Attorney General and the announcement of no collusion was found both MSNBC and CNN saw significant drops from their yearly average in viewers.
CNN on Thursday staged a panel of NINE pundits on screen throughout its Mueller report coverage, rotating out names at times, as well as having Wolf Blitzer and others anchoring from commercial breaks. All of that effort was largely spurned by audiences, as The Apple Network lagged heavily behind all others. This follows other trends, such as their hosting of Democrat party town halls getting eclipsed by those staged on Fox News.
CNN’s struggle is leading to candidates overriding their party’s directive to ban Fox News. As the DNC declared that Fox will be prevented from hosting a Democratic debate on its network individual candidates hungry for votes are flocking to have their own town hall on the accursed network. We are still awaiting Brian Stelter addressing the ratings plunge, as he pledged he would be watching the numbers following the release of the Mueller probe.