MSNBC hosts Rachel Maddow, left, Lawrence O’Donnell, center, and Chris Matthews take part in a panel discussion at the NBC Universal summer press tour, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Normally, the advent of a new Olympic Games gets just about everyone in the world so excited, they tune in and tune out everything else. But when it comes to politics, the signature topic of MSNBC and its anchors, one would think that team wouldn’t be distracted by such an event, when the most intriguing and potentially damaging presidential election is just a few weeks away. However, that is exactly what has happened.
Here is what TheWrap.com had to say about the idea:
“NBC has already kicked off its Summer Olympics from Rio de Janeiro ahead of Friday night’s opening ceremony but as many loyal viewers rely on the network — and its sister stations — for news, prompting the question: Will NBC’s newscasts transform into Olympic infomercials for the next three weeks?
The “Today” show and “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” will both air live from Rio through Aug. 19. A press release sent last month from NBC News said that the “Today” show “will once again begin America’s day with great stories and adventures from the host city of the 2016 Olympic Games.”
On Friday, the majority of the first hour of “Today” was focused on the Olympics and an exclusive interview with GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence was pushed to the second hour. Typically, “Today” airs hard news and major exclusives in the first hour of the show.”
CNN, MSNBC’s closest rival when it comes to the coverage of politics and the manner in which they do so, has become the defacto beneficiary of the viewing audience MSNBC has lost as a result of its Olympic distration. Worse yet, New York magazine has reported this about the low ratings of the Olympics:
“Critics and social media have savaged NBC’s early coverage of the Rio Olympics — and the early ratings verdict from Nielsen has not been any kinder. Viewership for the first three nights of the Peacock’s prime-time broadcasts is down sharply compared to both the 2012 London and 2008 Beijing games, with younger audiences bailing in particularly big numbers. It’s not all bad news: Tens of millions of Americans are still watching the Olympics, some viewing has likely shifted to online platforms not immediately measured by Nielsen, and Sunday’s swimming-centric schedule resulted in a big ratings surge. But if the early pattern holds, Rio will be the first summer Olympics since Sydney 2000 to score lower Nielsen numbers than its predecessor.”
Perhaps this illustrates the simple reality that money often Trumps the truth.