In July, thanks in large part to the sudden passing of Michael Jackson, CNN reclaimed second place from MSNBC in weeknight prime time among cable news networks.
According to this afternoon’s press release, CNN beat MSNBC in weekly prime time in both total viewers (1.28 million vs. 868,000) and in the 25-54 demographic (430,000 vs. 274,000).
Ditto on dayside, where CNN topped MSNBC again in both total viewers (724,000 to 397,000) and in the 25-54 demo (232,000 vs. 144,000).
The victory provides CNN with some good news on a day when seemingly every liberal media watchdog group in the land (MoveON.org, America’s Voice, Media Matters, The Southern Poverty Law Center) is busy lobbing complaints at the cable news network concerning Lou Dobbs’ hospitality to “birthers.”
And, at the same time, the defeat might make MSNBC executives rethink their decision to spend so much time covering Mr. Jackson’s death. From what we hear, an internal contigent at MSNBC was pushing to drop the MJ coverage and take the cable news high road (such as it is) by focusing on politics and news while their competitors did round-the-clock MJ coverage.
In the end, MSNBC stuck with MJ and lost out to CNN anyways.