Now that President Trump has been exonerated of “Russia Collusion” by the Mueller report, CNN and MSNBC is eating crow and losing trust from their viewers.
This is showing up most clearly in Rachel Maddow’s ratings.
Just back in December, Axios reported that MSNBC topped Fox News in total viewers during the week of Dec. 17 for the first time since 2000 as its flagship “The Rachel Maddow Show” ended the week as cable news’ most-watched program.
Times have certainly changed. Tom Gara, a BuzzFeed editor tweeted, “Maddow, who has consistently vied for the first or second top-rated cable news program, was sixth on Monday evening, down almost 500,000 total viewers from the previous Monday.”
"Maddow, who has consistently vied for the first or second top-rated cable news program, was sixth on Monday evening, down almost 500,000 total viewers from the previous Monday" https://t.co/jqqo8oytsJ
— Tom Gara (@tomgara) March 27, 2019
Maddow finished far below Hannity in the cable ratings line up on Tuesday night.
A petition demanding the DOJ investigate the media for falsely perpetuating the Trump-Russia collusion claim continues to gain steam.
MagaVoter shares a parent company with the petition site.
Attorney General William Barr’s short letter claiming Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation found no clear evidence of collusion between Russia and President Trump’s 2016 campaign left some MSNBC personalities dumbfounded on Sunday.
Several hours before Barr’s letter was released, former intelligence officer Malcolm Nance predicted on MSNBC that the report could “technically eclipse Benedict Arnold” in its level of treasonous activity.
But when Nance returned to MSNBC several hours after Barr’s letter was made public, the network contributor did little to hide his displeasure about why the investigation hadn’t resulted in more criminal indictments.
“We’ve seen these things occur and in any other standard, these people would’ve been arrested, they would’ve been polygraphed, and would’ve been brought to trial,” he said.
Over the past two years, Nance has been one of MSNBC’s most outspoken personalities commenting on the network’s most important story: Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference. Hosts like Rachel Maddow have seen their ratings notably increase as the investigation unfolded, while other anchors like Ari Melber have built major elements of their shows around interviews of witnesses of the investigation to get their perspective on Mueller’s probe.
But the release of Barr’s summary letter threw a wrench into the narrative that has driven the network’s coverage and called into question what the primary narrative would be for the network going forward.
Over the past several days, MSNBC and other media outlets have been the targets of criticism from Trump supporters and others who felt the network’s journalists and commentators had spent too much time obsessing over the Mueller investigation and drawing conclusions that were not borne out by Barr’s summary.
The White House shared a meme mocking Maddow’s and host Chris Hayes’ coverage of the investigation. Conservative news outlets and prominent politicians also criticized former CIA director John Brennan, who predicted earlier this month that there could be further indictments and suggested there may be evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Within MSNBC, there’s an acknowledgement that the Trump-Russia narrative on which the cable network—and especially its primetime star Maddow—built monster ratings has fizzled for the moment.
Insiders also claim not to be surprised that the conclusion of the long-awaited Mueller report—or at least the Trump-appointed attorney general’s summary—was a whimper, not a bang for an outlet that has invested so much time and energy, in primetime and throughout its dayparts, in the notion that Trump is unworthy of the Oval Office and might at some point be forced to give it up.
And it’s also possible that the Mueller disappointment drove loyal viewers away in much the same way that people avoid looking at their 401(k)s when the stock market is down. Maddow, who has consistently vied for the first or second top-rated cable news program, was sixth on Monday evening, down almost 500,000 total viewers from the previous Monday, as was MSNBC’s second top-rated program in primetime, The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell.
Conversely, “It was obviously a big couple of nights for Fox,” said one network insider, claiming, however, that nobody at MSNBC is panicking.