MSNBC Thumped in Saturday’s Cable Coverage of Syria


MSNBC finished way behind Fox News and CNN Saturday during cable news coverage of developments in Syria, Variety reports.

Nielsen estimated Fox News was the most-watched news network during the special breaking news coverage on Syria from noon to 5 p.m. ET, averaging 971,000 viewers, with CNN next at 926,000 and MSNBC a distant third at just 390,000:

While both FNC and CNN saw significant week-over-week gains, third-place MSNBC actually was down about 20% week to week, averaging 390,000 viewers for its Syria coverage.

In the key news demo of adults 25-54, CNN (242,000) edged FNC (235,000), with MSNBC drawing 124,000.

On a total day basis, which includes hours before and after the breaking news coverage, Fox News led with 772,000 total viewers and 183,000 adults 25-54. CNN ran second in total viewers (470,000 to 364,000 for MSNBC), but MSNBC narrowly led CNN in adults 25-54 (154,000 to 151,000) — another indication that CNN has had difficulty maintaining an audience in the aftermath of big events.

This comes after MSNBC’s ratings tumble in 2013 continued with a poor August showing, with some primetime programs seeing nearly a 50-percent drop in viewership from a year ago. The liberal network also was crushed during the reading of the George Zimmerman murder trial verdict Saturday, July 13, finishing fourth behind Fox, CNN and HLN despite wall-to-wall coverage of the case.

A Gallup poll in July showed MSNBC was tied with such outlets as Univision, PBS and BBC as the primary source of news for just 1 percent of all U.S. adults.

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