The stock market is at an all-time high and unemployment is at its lowest level in years.
And something else is going well with President Trump in the White House: The ratings for cable news networks are soaring.
Trump most recently got into a Twitter war with MSNBC and the hosts of its a.m. show, Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Trump said the lovebirds were dying to hang with him at Mar-A-Lago over New Year's and that Brzezinski was “bleeding” from a “face-lift” — both of which turned out to be true. But the sanctimonious pair got all huffy, devoting several shows almost entirely to the brouhaha.
Now we know why.
MSNBC's mostly dismal ratings have rebounded as the network becomes All-Bash-All-The-Time. The anti-Trump sentiment is driven from the top and "reporters" openly spout opinion throughout the news shows, which are also heavily laden with liberal and Democratic guests.
The network's total viewership is up 73% year-over-year, with primetime viewership up 86%, according to Nielsen’s second quarter ratings, The Hill reported.
Fox News, Trump's favorite, remains on top, with CNN pulling an often distant third. Yet the network, which has had a string of embarrassments over recent weeks, has seen its viewership rise by 25% and 10% in primetime year-over-year. The network is nearly as blatant as MSNBC with its overt hatred of Trump, trotting out guest after guest who slams the president.
Said The Hill:
Some media watchers are growing alarmed by the increasingly antagonistic approach some in the press are taking. But most expect it will continue as long as the feuding with Trump attracts new viewers.
“The news world is reaping some short-term benefits from the running battle with Trump, but this is really a short-sighted and ultimately losing strategy,” said Jeffrey McCall, a media critic and professor at DePauw University. “Sure, it's sensational and somewhat entertaining, but it makes the media look small and petty. Media credibility is quite low and most news consumers aren't going to sympathize with the news industry, even when Trump makes boorish attacks.”
What's more, young journalists are trying to get famous by clashing with the White House and its press secretary, Sean Spicer. CNN's Jim Acosta has been having a hissy fit over the White House's decision to move some briefings off camera (mainly because he can't "peacock," as George W. Bush used to call fame-hungry reporters). But Acosta's star has risen as has that of April Ryan. A reporter for the liberal American Urban Radio Network, Ryan recently won a CNN contributor job after her clashes with Spicer, The Hill reported.
Meanwhile, last month, Brian Karem, an editor for a regional newspaper in the Washington suburbs who was stringing for Playboy magazine, put on a peacocking show at the White House briefing, lecturing the spokesman about freedom of the press. He made all the rounds on the cable networks and now he has 78,100 followers on Twitter.
Across the board, news agencies have been forced to retract stories and issue corrections, such is their lack of journalistic integrity during the feeding frenzy that is bashing Trump. CNN retracted a story alleging that a Trump associate had improper ties with a Russian bank, and three "journalists" resigned. Both The New York Times and the Associated Press were forced to issue corrections on a claim that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies agreed that Russia had sought to influence the 2016 election (in fact, just four had).
But the fast and loose race to slam Trump has brought the new ratings spike, so there's little chance that the media will be returning to its roots: First, be right, Second, be first.
Now, the story doesn't even have to be right, as long as it brings eyeballs to the screen.