The Impeachment Free-Fall of Cable News -- CNN and MSNBC Lose Massive Audience Segment Due to Inquiry Obsession

FILE - This Jan. 17, 2001 file photo shows pedestrians entering CNN Center, the headquarters for CNN, in downtown Atlanta. The latest rough patch for CNN illustrates the two contradictions at the network's heart. In a brutal time for the news business, CNN is one of the few media organizations thriving while its most visible part in the United States, prime-time on the flagship network, is hurting. The company has built its brand on nonpartisan reporting, while CNN's audience tilts Democratic as much or more as Fox News Channel's audience is Republican. (AP Photo/Ric Feld, File)

(AP Photo/Ric Feld, File)

More than a ratings hiccup, these networks are losing viewers while Fox hits record highs.

The first weeks of December leading into the articles of impeachment vote this Wednesday have been a fury of news coverage for all of the news networks. Basically if you have watched CNN or MSNBC you would believe there was nothing else happening in the world since Thanksgiving. The two networks are convinced they are on the frontlines of history and convinced they are driving the narrative.

Audiences remain unconvinced.

When it comes to coverage of the impeach proceedings Fox News had all others gritting their teeth.

But the real revealing aspect in all of this is that, after months of eroding ratings for CNN and MSNBC, in December the numbers for both have turned abysmal. The release of the completely impotent Mueller Report this summer saw nearly overnight drops in audience numbers, but the latest obsession over impeachment has managed to take those dismal figures and mined even deeper.

As polls have shown voter disenchantment with the process the viewer flight has been even more revealing. Brian Stelter attempted to gloss over the issue, in a desperate reaction to a Trump tweet stating they are foundering in the ratings. Brian managed to massage some metrics to try showing that everything is status quo.

‘’Quite stable’’? I suppose that is one way to describe things when you have hit the bottom. In the week of December 9, the numbers have been recorded, and I doubt Mr. Stelter is interested in highlighting (lowlighting?) those results. Not only did the three primetime shows on Fox rank the highest, but Rachael Maddow has seen her numbers recede that now she trails the Fox show ‘’The Five’’ consistently.

In the two main ratings categories — primetime hours, and daily average — The comparisons to the same week one year ago reveals so much. CNN got pummeled, seeing a -13% drop in total day average, and a massive -17% drop in primetime compared to 2018. MSNBC had even steeper drops, albeit influenced by having a slightly larger audience share. MSNBC had a steep-14% in total day, and in primetime it tanked, to a -19% drop.

As for Stelter’s claim that these are just expected fluctuations in the marketplace? Pathetic spin, because Fox would have experienced something similar. Instead, they rocketed to the top of everything. Fox News had growth of +38% in total day, and a massive spike of +46% in primetime. That is both an embarrassing performance, and a drubbing by the competition taking place at once.

A look at the top ten rankings on all cable channels is just as striking. Fox News led all channels, including even ESPN. Meanwhile, MSNBC was lagging behind The Hallmark Channel. CNN is difficult to say who it trailed. A&E, the History Channel, and a second Hallmark Channel are at least noted — they all managed to land in the top-10, unlike CNN.

Poor Tater…