As the Mystery of Missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 mystery dragged on, Fox News Channel continued its hold on primetime Thursday in the news demo (391,000) with CNN a competitive No. 2 (321,000) followed, not closely, by MSNBC (166,000) and HLN (128,000). Piers Morgan Live, hosted by possible Morgan replacement Bill Weir (373,000), was the only CNN program to best FNC — Megyn Kelly (353,000) in the demo. But CNN took a tumble at 10 PM when the network switched from missing-plane coverage to docu-series Chicagoland (172,000). FNC’s Hannity clobbered it (331,000). Earlier in the evening, CNN’s Erin Burnett (347,000) came within 9,000 demo viewers of FNC’s Greta Van Susteren (356,000), after which FNC’s Bill O’Reilly (486,000) widened the lead, over CNN’s Anderson Cooper (420,000).
In total viewers, FNC (2.140 million) more than doubled CNN’s primetime average (883,000), followed by MSNBC (742,000) and HLN (315,000).
The networks did not have much to report on the missing plane front that day — and yet so much happened. NBC News’s Chuck Todd lit into CNN for its alleged overuse of the words “breaking news” in its lost-plane reporting.
“Wait, so when did finding NOTHING get characterized as ‘breaking news’?” he tweet like he meant it to sting — and plenty more where that came from.
“Great question, Chuck! Looks like it was around 6:45p” CNN’s The Situation Room senior producer Vaughn Sterling shot back eventually, accompanied by a screen grab of NBC News’s MSNBC on which could be seen a banner that read: “Breaking News: No Trace Has Been Found Of The Plane Or The 239 People Aboard.” Vaughn foamed over again later, with another screen grab in which MSNBC broadcast: “Breaking News: World Watching For MH370.” That was followed by another screen grab in which Todd himself was is seen on MSNBC over the words: “Breaking News: Search Area Is About Three Hours Flt. Time From Perth.”
“Breaking Measurements,” snarked Sterling.