I know it feels like eons, but remember three months ago? Things were a bit simpler then–none of the Supreme Court justices were retiring and our daily political fears were slightly less worse than they are now.
Three months ago was also when revelations came to light about MSNBC host Joy Reid and her old blog The Reid Report. A Twitter user surfaced old posts that contained homophobic statements. These screenshots were found via the Wayback Machine–the nonprofit-run service that crawls the web and documents everything it finds. When presented with evidence of these old offensive remarks, Reid made the extremely odd claim that her blog was hacked and the old posts were fraudulent.
People naturally scratched their heads at this explanation. How would a hacker be able to go back in time and write these posts on Reid’s domain, which were then recorded in real time by an external screenshotting service? Most people–including the Internet Archive, the organization behind the Wayback Machine–agreed that Reid’s explanation was suspect at best. Weeks later, Reid apologized for the posts.
It’s been a few months now, and we can see what kind of impact this weird saga may have had on her show. It turns out, Reid has definitely seen a ratings drop. Citing data from Nielsen, the website Contemptor writes that her “two-hour news discussion show, which airs 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, has experienced double-digit losses in both total viewership and the key 25-54 demographic across all four hours” over the last 12 weeks.
It’s unclear what’s driving the decline, but it’s quite sustained and can’t be considered a brief anomalous dip. While it could be due to Reid’s “hacking” scandal, Contemptor notes that CNN experienced a similar drop in ratings at that same time slot during the same period. And, it should be said that both MSNBC as a whole and CNN experienced a decrease in total day viewership over that time period too (Fox News’s daytime numbers were essentially flat). So perhaps it’s just that fewer people are watching morning news programs.
Whatever the case, it seems Reid’s show is suffering. Perhaps hackers have hijacked MSNBC’s ratings, too. You can read the full Contemptor post here.