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Fox recedes, MSNBC surges with DNC coverage

September 06, 2012|By James Rainey
  • Former President Clinton addresses delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Former President Clinton addresses delegates at the Democratic National… (Michael Reynolds / EPA )

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Optimists like to say there is not a Red America or a Blue America, just a United States of America. But when it comes to people watching politics on TV, there’s definitely an MSNBCAmerica and a Fox News America.

After Fox outstripped all the competition with coverage of the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla., last week, its cable rival MSNBC  has led the ratings with its coverage of this week's Democratic National Convention.

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The liberal-tilting cable outlet bested its cable rivals, with 4.1 million viewers on the first night of the convention Tuesday, followed by CNN at nearly 3.9 million and conservative Fox at a distant third, with 2.4 million. The overall ratings leader, with the broadcast networks included, was MSNBC cousin NBC,  which drew just over 5 million viewers on Tuesday night.

The ratings represented the first prime-time ratings win for MSNBC in its history and vindicated—in a pure business sense—the cable outlet’s decision to tilt most of its programming toward progressive commentary. (Though, journalistically speaking, there's reason to pine for news sources that try to give a fair shot to both sides.)

Fox has been even more routinely successful by offering its viewers right-leaning viewpoints and regular strafing of the Obama White House. That formula is not as popular for most people watching the Democrats this week.

PHOTOS: Protests of the DNC

Also finishing ahead of Fox on Tuesday night were CBS and ABC, both with more than 3.2 million viewers.

The numbers come from the 10 p.m. EDT time slot, when First Lady Michelle Obama spoke for her husband, a critically praised speech that drew 26.2 million. Ann Romney, wife of GOP nominee Mitt Romney, brought in 22.3 million viewers across all the news outlets when she spoke at the Republican convention a week earlier.

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