Have you noticed somehow once-pedestrian television ratings, those arcane numbers that used to be the subject of churning stomachs only within that industry, have come now to resemble sports franchises, each with its own avid fan base rooting for their favorite, as if it mattered.
As a reflection of the bitter partisan splits affecting many Americans, people privately cheer good news for one network and bad news for another. And vice versa.
Fox News is kind of like the dominant New England Patriots that win a lot — too much in the eyes of non-New Englanders.
Fox News has won a lot of ratings competitions since Rupert Murdoch founded it as a conservative network alternative in 1996 and handed the Control Room over to former GOP operative Roger Ailes. In this comparison, I guess the late Ailes is the Bill Belichick of TV.
And the Fox News team has done it again in prime time. The latest ratings for this month show Sean, Tucker and Laura blowing the competition out of the water again, but with the highest ratings in Fox’s 24-year-history.
Nielsen Media Research has just reported that for the 44th straight month once again Fox News was the most-watched channel on basic cable. It averaged 3.53 million viewers, twice as many as Msnbc’s 1.78 million and more than three times larger than the 1.05 million who tuned into once-dominant CNN that hasn’t made the playoffs since forever.
Here’s how dominant Fox News was: Its viewership this month was up 35 percent over last February, while CNN dropped three percent and Msnbc fell nine percent.
In the coveted age demographic of 25-to-54-year-olds that advertisers pay extra for, Fox had a 27 percent jump, while — wait for it, fans — CNN declined six percent and Msnbc fell seven percent.
The shows for each of Fox’s prime-time hosts — Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham — were the top shows in cable news. Each of them hit all-time highs for February.
Hannity had 4.3 million total viewers and Carlson was just behind, drawing 4.115 million. Ingraham attracted 3.6 million on average, a record for any female cable news host.
Oh, and the most watched program in the month was on Fox that pulled in 11.6 million viewers for the State of the Union Address by some president who gets a lot of air-time there anyway.
Championship MAGA hats all around.