In 2016, former CBS head honcho Les Moonves said Donald Trump’s presence in politics “may be bad for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” Clearly Mooves was not the only network head to have made such an assessment. On Thursday, just on CNN and MSNBC, Trump was mentioned by name a whopping 399 times between 6:00 am and 4:00 p.m. ET.
Trump’s frontrunner status in the Republican primary has made him a hot topic of discussion whenever a new candidate enters the race, and Thursday was no exception. In the freshly announced candidacies of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), pundits on the liberal cable networks found two shiny new reasons to pontificate about all things Trump.
MRC analysts used a combination of live broadcasts and Snapstream transcripts to find every mention of the former President on CNN and MSNBC. In just 10 hours, Trump’s name was invoked 399 times across both networks. MSNBC just barely edged out its competitor with 208 mentions (52%), while CNN was responsible for the remaining 191 mentions (48%).
Both networks had a few outliers in their weekday lineups. On MSNBC, Morning Joe boasted an impressive 86 Trumps. However, averaged across the show’s four-hour runtime, that only came out to about 21 Trumps per hour. The network’s real heavy lifter was the 2 p.m. hour of Chris Jansing Reports, which managed a respectable 33 Trumps despite also carrying live coverage of a press conference by President Biden
However, only CNN’s Inside Politics cleared the monumental hurdle of averaging more than one Trump per minute, racking up a total of 41 Trumps across its 38 minutes of non-commercial programming. CNN also had the only show not to reach double digits: the 2 p.m. hour of CNN News Central, which concluded with a pathetic four Trumps.
Regardless of one’s opinion on the former President, it’s hard not to agree that the liberal TV news outlets still see him as a ratings gold mine.