See how NBC News spun the numbers to make its election night ratings look better

By MixDex Article may include affiliate links

Despite Fox News beating all other broadcast and cable networks by 2 million, NBC News issued a cleverly crafted press release that combined ratings to make its ratings look better than they were.

  • “NBC News and MSNBC together beat out all television networks across the board for last night’s coverage of the 2018 midterm election. According to Nielsen Media Research, The Vote: America’s Future averaged 10.439 million total viewers during primetime coverage of Election Night, including 3.636 million viewers in the key A25-54 news demographic,” starts a press release NBC issued.
  • However, the key phrase is “together” — the 10.439 million number represents the total ratings of both NBC the broadcast network and its cable network, MSNBC.

  • Fox News totaled 7.784 million, according to initial ratings data.
  • NBC was, however, the number one broadcast network — with 5.69 million, but that still pales in comparison to Fox News.
  • MSNBC, however, came in third in the cable news race at 4.479 million viewers, behind Fox and CNN.
  • CNN beat out Fox for viewership in the key demo — adults 25-54.
  • Because MSNBC content is produced by NBC News, it is accurate to say that NBC News’ content attracted more viewers than Fox, but no single network beat those numbers.
  • The release also manages to bury the fact MSNBC came in third among cable news.
  • It’s not uncommon for networks to manipulate ratings data to make their programming look better — and pretty much every network out there has done it at one time or another.