Brian Stelter of The New York Times reports that MSNBC is finally starting to catch up to Fox News in the rating game, mainly by becoming the left-wing answer to Fox's conservative cheerleaders. Stelter says MSNBC, which normally trails Fox News in overall ratings, managed to best their cable rival in the key 25-54 year-old demographic on three straight nights after last week's election. MSNBC still trails behind Fox and CNN in the number of overall viewers, but has closed the gap considerably in the recent years, by accepting their role as "the Anti-Fox News." The re-election of Barack Obama will only help MSNBC keep the ball rolling, as hosts like Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews have become unapologetic supporters of "Obama's America" and stand to benefit from four more years of his liberal politics.
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From a business perspective, however, MSNBC is still hampered somewhat by being the junior varsity squad to the parent network of NBC. No matter how popular they get or how much they appear to be on the same team, Brian Williams and his NBC News squad will continue to monopolize the "serious" news credibility (and the top shelf guests), a problem CNN and Fox News don't have to deal with. NBC's coverage drew nearly three times the viewers of MSNBC on election night and the cable network lags far behind its rivals in the fees that it earns from cable operators, which is a major source of revenue.
Late in his story, Stelter also drops a rumor that Ezra Klein of The Washington Post maybe the next journalist to join the MSNBC roster, possibly taking over a primetime spot currently held by Ed Schultz.