MSNBC’s Phil Griffin Needs a Ratings Reality Check

The MSNBC president made some interesting remarks at the Television Critics Association press tour:

BEVERLY HILLS – MSNBC president Phil Griffin has his sights set on Fox News. Griffin opened the network’s presentation at the Television Critics Association press tour here by noting that this year, MSNBC has surpassed perennial cable news leader Fox News in the ratings in multiple hours. The previous year, MSNBC did it once.

“It just gives you an indication of where we’re going,” said Griffin. “For the first time we’re beginning to chip away at Fox News Channel.”

Executives at the News Corp-owned network would probably quibble with the “chipping away” descriptor and Fox News is still the leader in a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. But MSNBC has clearly carved out a successful perch as a progressive alternative at a time when once-dominant CNN is still clinging to the middle ground.

Meanwhile, Drudge Report has posted the cable news ratings from August 1st:

CABLE NEWS RACE

MON., AUG 1

FOXNEWS O'REILLY 3,178,000

FOXNEWS HANNITY 2,196,000

FOXNEWS BAIER 2,127,000

FOXNEWS SMITH 2,085,000

FOXNEWS GRETA 1,817,000

MNSBC O'DONNELL 1,138,000

MSNBC HARDBALL 1,026,000

CNN MORGAN 859,000

CNN COOPER 851,000

MSNBC MADDOW 832,000

MSNBC SHARPTON 699,000

CNNHN GRACE 663,000

When none of your channel’s programs place in the top five, and when its highest rated show still lags behind the competition by over two million viewers, does that really even qualify as “chipping away?”

Nat Brown — Nat Brown is deputy managing editor of National Review Online.

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