Has MSNBC lost its edge in its nighttime political coverage?
In view of recent poll results, will MSNBC have significant influence in Election 2012?
It’s certainly obvious in Iowa that candidates are investing a lot more time in television interviews than they are on the campaign trail. It’s a safe bet: a recent New York Times/CBS News poll of likely Iowa Republican caucus participants showed that 37 percent said they get most of their information from Fox News, that’s compared with 27 percent who cited broadcast news and a mere 2 percent who said they relied on MSNBC.
Source: Allessandra Stanley, “The Republican Primary Campaign in Iowa Is Right at Home on Fox News,” THE NEW YORK TIMES
It’s hard to imagine that the suits at MSNBC are taking the poll results well. The implications of MSNBC having diminished influence in Election 2012 could be staggering.
Obviously, the only game in town for mainstream media coverage now on the Presidential political calendar is the ongoing GOP primary election season. Because of its conservative tilt, FOX News would be expected to have a slightly higher viewership and ratings advantage when it comes to general media coverage of national politics and the GOP.
But, one would think that because the choice of the Republican nominee for President is a matter of real public concern and interest, a larger percentage of people would be watching the commentaries on MSNBC if for no other reason than to hear and consider opposing viewpoints about the GOP candidates, and their positions on national issues.
The numbers for the reception of broadcast news seem to be good. However, broadcast news is not as pointed, engaging, opinionated, informative and influential as cable news.
MSNBC has an all-star line-up of nighttime talk TV talent hosting the programs from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. including Al Sharpton, Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz, Lawrence O’Donnell and Rachel Maddow. They are supported by diverse groups of commentators and contributors. The hosts and many of the commentators and contributors have been aggressive in criticizing the GOP candidates and their positions on issues. Those contrary viewpoints, of course, add measurably to the body of information viewers and voters should be considering from now until general election day 2012.
The poll numbers for MSNBC were unusually weak. The fact that they were so lacking should be ringing bells and whistles loudly in the executive suites of MSNBC.
If MSNBC expects to boost viewership and have a significant measure of influence in the outcomes of the national elections, then major changes in its nighttime cable programming are warranted.
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