It’s not exactly news that MSNBC and CNN are lagging way behind Fox news in the ratings — Fox is the second highest ranked cable network in prime time, CNN ranks 21st, while MSNBC lags even further behind at 25th. But while this ratings trend has been going on for the last decade (see this astonishing graph of the news channels’ respective ratings over that time period), it’s remarkable how much ground CNN has lost recently:
CNN continued what has become a precipitous decline in ratings for its prime-time programs in the first quarter of 2010, with its main hosts losing almost half their viewers in a year.
The trend in news ratings for the first three months of this year is all up for one network, the Fox News Channel, which enjoyed its best quarter ever in ratings, and down for both MSNBC and CNN.
CNN had a slightly worse quarter in the fourth quarter of 2009, but the last three months have included compelling news events, like the earthquake in Haiti and the battle over health care, and CNN, which emphasizes its hard news coverage, was apparently unable to benefit.