AP

Bad Headlines For Trump Also Means Ratings Slump For Hannity

Dec 26, 2018, 11:06 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:16 pm

Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

NEW YORK (AP) — The drumbeat of bad news for President Donald Trump hasn’t been good for his most prominent backer in the media.

While Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity will end 2018 as cable news’ most popular personality for the second year in a row, he’s been slumping in the ratings since the midterm elections and ominous stories related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of the president.

His show averaged 2.76 million viewers since the election through Dec. 17, down 19 percent compared to the previous month, the Nielsen company said. Among the 25-to-54-year-old demo most coveted by advertisers, he’s down 30 percent. Competitors Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and Chris Cuomo on CNN are up in each measurement.

Maddow has been beating Hannity outright in December, a turnaround from October. During that month, when Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation drama dominated the news, Hannity’s audience routinely exceeded Maddow’s by about a million people each night, Nielsen said.

“I think it’s a reflection of the mood of his audience,” said Mark Lukasiewicz, dean of Hofstra University’s communications school and a longtime NBC executive. “They can’t be happy with what is coming out of Washington every day.”

Hannity has been associated with Trump perhaps more than any other media figure. He was scolded by Fox for being called onstage by the president and speaking during a Trump rally shortly before midterm election. The Pew Research Center found in a 2014 survey that 83 percent of Hannity’s viewers identified themselves as conservative.

With bad news piling up for Trump, Hannity frequently spends time criticizing ideological opponents in the media for the types of stories they emphasize, and discusses misdeeds by previous Democratic administrations.

“Even hard-core Trump fans are starting to put Hillary Clinton in their rear-view mirrors and say, ‘it’s been two years,'” Lukasiewicz said.

In a joint statement, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and President Jay Wallace touted the network’s top status among all basic cable networks.

There’s precedent for a news-related slump. Maddow’s ratings sank sharply just after the 2016 election, as fans distressed by Trump’s win took a timeout from the news. Her ratings steadily improved as her show became a destination for Trump opponents.

Ken LaCorte, a former Fox News executive who spent 20 years at the network, cautioned against reading too much into a few weeks of ratings. Pulling back for a broader view, Hannity’s show will be the most popular on cable news for the second year in a row, with an average of 3.3 million viewers that is up 17 percent over 2017, according to Nielsen.

It’s certainly possible that Republicans have been less interested in the news lately, said LaCorte, who is launching a news web site, LaCortenews.com, next month .

“It’s probably more interesting to hear about the party you support taking over the House of Representatives because there are more interesting things to discuss,” he said.

Hannity also has company. Fox’s prime-time schedule as a whole, which also includes Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, has been down 20 percent since the election, Nielsen said.

Even with Fox’s recent slump, the Trump administration continues to be glory days for cable news. Fox News Channel is the top-rated network for all of basic cable for the third year in a row, topping ESPN, and will finish with the highest-rated prime-time schedule in its history. That comes despite losing Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly from its lineup over the past two years.

MSNBC is third overall in basic cable, and is also on pace to finish with the biggest audience in its history, Nielsen said. CNN will finish 11th, and is likely to finish with its third-best year ever.

KSL 5 TV Live

AP

A Planned Parenthood sign is seen at a facility in Austin, Texas, Monday, Aug. 14, 2023. A federal ...

Jacques Billeaud and Jonathan J. Cooper, Associated Press

Arizona House advances a repeal of the state’s near-total abortion ban to the Senate

A proposed repeal of Arizona’s near-total ban on abortions has won approval from the state House.

15 minutes ago

The Biden administration issued final rules Wednesday to require airlines to automatically issue ca...

David Koenig, AP Airlines Writer

Airlines will now be required to give automatic cash refunds for canceled and delayed flights

The Biden administration is setting new rules on airline fees and refunds. The Transportation Department said Wednesday that the final rules will spell out exactly when consumers are owed a refund for a delayed flight.

2 hours ago

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 24: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks after signing legislation givi...

Aamer Madhani and Seung Min Kim

Biden signs a $95 billion war aid measure with assistance for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan

President Joe Biden has signed into law a $95 billion war aid measure that includes assistance for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and other allies.

4 hours ago

In this photo released by the MacDill Air Force Base, an alligator rests at the landing gear of a K...

Associated Press

Alligator on runway at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida captured, released into nearby river

A large alligator made its way onto the runway at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida where it had to be captured and taken away for release in a nearby river, officials said.

21 hours ago

FILE - The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) building in Washington, on Jan. 28, 2015. The Federal Tra...

Christopher Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

The FTC voted to bar ‘noncompete’ agreements for most employees

The Federal Trade Commission voted to ban measures known as noncompete agreements, which bar workers from jumping to or starting competing companies for a prescribed period of time.

21 hours ago

FILE - Larry Nassar listens during his sentencing at Eaton County Circuit Court in Charlotte, Mich....

Associated Press

US government agrees to $138.7M settlement over FBI’s botching of Larry Nassar assault allegations

The U.S. Justice Department announced a $138.7 million settlement Tuesday with more than 100 people who accused the FBI of grossly mishandling allegations of sexual assault against Larry Nassar.

23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Bad Headlines For Trump Also Means Ratings Slump For Hannity