Sean Hannity’s Ratings Plummet, But It Gets Worse: Rachel Maddow Surges

Sean Hannity’s ratings have plummeted, as we pointed out earlier, nosediving after the election as viewers tuned out of Fox News en masse — but the news is even worse for the conservative news network than initially reported.

In our earlier post, we referenced a report in the New York Daily News indicating that one prevailing theory suggests that Hannity’s complete failure to consider an Obama win caused the pundit to permanently lose credibility in the eyes of viewers:

“The going wisdom is that viewers who basked in his preelection anti-Obama rhetoric tuned him out when they were stunned to wake up on Nov. 7 and discover that the President had won a second term — a scenario that Hannity had all but promised could never happen.”

In that respect, news of Sean Hannity’s ratings plummet is nearly heartening — perhaps a sign that news viewers do indeed want an accurate picture and not partisan stroking, which became an issue for Fox after Mitt Romney’s stunning loss in November.

But where Hannity’s ratings plummeted, another media personality saw a boost in viewers post-election — MSNBC’s nega-Hannity, Rachel Maddow.

Where Hannity is divisive and black and white, Maddow is reasoned and respectful. Maddow tends to advocate open discussion, whereas Hannity preaches “with us or against us.” And whatever Rachel is doing seems to work — as the liberal anchor is making gains where her dated foil is bleeding viewership.

The Atlantic says:

“MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz — who both, of course, did not predict a Romney victory — have retained most of their viewership in the weeks following election night, and CNN’s Anderson Cooper has lost almost none.”

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“With ratings holding strong after Obama’s reelection and Maddow appearing on The Colbert Report, it appears like MSNBC is making good on president Phil Griffin’s plan to bolster the channel’s brand awareness.”

It’s very early to tell whether Sean Hannity’s ratings will continue to plummet, but it seems MSNBC has truly cemented itself as a more balanced alternative, and Maddow’s public perception is on a definite upswing.