Ratings Drop for Rachel Maddow, MSNBC After Trump-Russia Theory Punctured by Mueller

Ratings dropped for Rachel Maddow, the most popular non-Fox News host in the nation, and MSNBC, which airs her show, following the submission of Special Counsel’s Robert Mueller report.

Mueller didn’t provide evidence to substantiate that the president obstructed justice or colluded with Russia, according to Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Viewers tuned in to cable news in droves on Monday night to hear analysis on the report submission, but most tuned in to Fox News.

Over 4 million viewers, including 728,000 in the 25-54 demographic, watched Fox’s Sean Hannity in the 9 p.m. hour, beating MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, which drew 2.5 million viewers. CNN’s Chris Cuomo brought in just 911,000.

For Maddow, the most popular non-Fox host in the nation, the ratings dropped by nearly half a million viewers compared with the previous Monday.

At the 8 p.m. hour, Fox’s Tucker Carlson was watched by 3.8 million, with 717,000 in the 25-54 demographic, versus MSNBC’s Chris Hayes (1.5 million, 244,000 in demographic) and CNN’s Anderson Cooper (795,000, 212,000 in demographic).

Fox News also dominated over the weekend, at times drawing more viewers in total than CNN and MSNBC combined, reported Mediaite.

In contrast to Hannity’s reveling in the Mueller’s report ending the “witch hunt,” Maddow appeared to cry on air while reporting that there would be no more indictments, an appearance that she later denied.

The White House on Monday shared a “Mueller Madness” graphic created by the New York Post that took aim at reporters, analysts, and commentators who pushed the Russia-Trump collusion theory, including Maddow and Hayes.

Theories Falling Apart

Just hours before the submission of the report, MSNBC analyst Malcolm Nance told viewers on air that the alleged collusion between Trump and Russia could “technically eclipse Benedict Arnold, who at least did it for money.”

Nance was back on air several hours after the submission of the report, visibly upset that the Mueller investigation was ending without additional indictments and without any established links between Trump or his campaign and Russia.

“We’ve seen these things occur and in any other standard, these people would’ve been arrested, they would’ve been polygraphed, and would’ve been brought to trial,” he said, according to the Daily Beast.

A network insider told the outlet that it didn’t go unnoticed that MSNBC’s ratings dropped while Fox’s spiked, but claimed that nobody at MSNBC was panicking.

MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in a statement to Vanity Fair that Mueller investigation was a big story and that reporters and analysts would “keep doing our job, asking the tough questions, especially when it involves holding powerful people accountable.”

Along with Nance, comments made during an appearance on the network by ex-CIA chief John Brennan, an MSNBC contributor, were under the microscope. Brennan claimed several weeks before the report was submitted that members of Trump’s family could be indicted.

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Former CIA director John Brennan and former director of National Intelligence James Clapper arrive at a closed hearing before the Senate intelligence committee on May 16, 2018. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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Malcolm Nance attends Authors Night 2017 At The East Hampton Library in East Hampton, New York, on Aug. 12, 2017. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for East Hampton Library)

Brennan appeared back on the network after the report was submitted and when questioned how his predictions could be so wrong, he said: “I don’t know if I received bad information but I suspected there was more than there actually was.”

MSNBC employees told the Beast that Nance and Brennan are expected to keep appearing on the network but that as a whole, MSNBC plans to pivot to expanded coverage of the 2020 presidential campaign.

Brennan was one of the people targeted by the White House, which sent out a memo to television producers on March 25 noting that he and others consistently made outlandish claims lacking evidence on air but kept appearing on cable news.

Among the others were Reps. Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who have both said they’ve seen evidence of alleged collusion.

“Moving forward, we ask that you employ basic journalistic standards when booking such guests to appear anywhere in your universe of productions,” the White House wrote. “You should begin by asking the basic question: ‘Does this guest warrant further appearances in our programming, given the outrageous and unsupported claims made in the past?'”