New York Post Columnist Asks ‘Do We Need MSNBC?’

June 14th, 2006 2:35 PM

Don Kaplan of the New York Post has a great column today about the failing cable station MSNBC, and quite appropriately asks why we need it (hat tip to TV Newser):

“‘It's really running third in a two-horse race,’ says Reese Schoenfeld, who co-founded CNN.

“He questions whether MSNBC is even in the same league as Fox News Channel and CNN. ‘Everybody compares MSNBC to Fox and CNN - when its real competition is [CNN's] Headline News,’ he says.”

Yikes. In the sports world, that’s like saying the Yankees’ real competition is the Devil Rays. Kaplan continued:

“Schoenfeld points out that the ratings for MSNBC and Headline News are roughly the same, about 300,000 viewers on average.

“By comparison, Fox and CNN regularly average three or four times as many viewers.”

In reality, Schoenfeld was overstating CNN’s numbers. For example, here are the dailies for Monday courtesy of TV Newser:

Total viewers:
Total day: FNC: 912 | CNN: 526 | MSNBC: 234 | HLN: 165 | CNBC: 165

Prime: FNC: 1,332 | CNN: 692 | MSNBC: 301 | HLN: 243 | CNBC: 132

As is plainly evident, Fox is kicking CNN’s butt. And here’s the punch line: “The running joke in TV news is Fox and CNN are news channels with Web sites, but MSNBC is a Web site with a cable channel - a tip of the hat to, which is the top news site on the 'Net.”

Does that make Keith Olbermann Spam?