The Age of Obama, as everybody predicted, has been a disaster for one cable-news network...but not the one that was expected. The snowball rolling down the Nielsen hill is not Fox News -- which seems to be headed for a record year in ratings -- but CNN.
When the quarterly ratings were released this week, CNN finished behind MSNBC in weekday prime viewing hours for the first time ever. MSNBC's average audience between 8 and 11 p.m. was 946,000, CNN's 939,000. The more you slice and dicethe numbers, they look even worse: CNN often finishes behind sister network HLN in weekday primetime among viewers aged 25 to 54, the top news demographic.
While MSNBC and CNN scrap for second place, Fox News is steamrollering them both. Whether you measure in primetime or round-the-clock, it's got more viewers than MSNBC and CNN combined. And for the first time in history, the top 10 shows in cable news all belong to Fox News. Though I don't think there's any truth to the rumor that Keith Olbermann is distributing those big foam fingers you see at football games, emblazoned: "We're No. 11!"