“NBC has created a monster,” announced Lawrence O’Donnell at the beginning of last night’s show.
O’Donnell has made a mini career these last few weeks viciously tearing both Trump and NBC’s support of him apart.
And while NBC certainly has not lifted a finger to curtail The Donald’s extracurricular activities, it’s probably not correct to suggest that they are responsible for him. As New Yorker editor David Remnick pointed on O’Donnell’s show last night Trump was an attention-seeking buffoon long before Obama’s birth certificate became the conspiracy theory du jour.
Also questionable? Whether NBC is actually profiting from Trump. Trump’s ratings have actually been on a bit of a downward slide of late (though it’s difficult to connect that to his presidential ambitions).
It’s 100% clear, however, that Trump has not helped Lawrence O’Donnell…though one imagines his Google rank has gone up based on how widespread his Trump-raging video clips have been of late.
In March, before Trump took over the news cycle, O’Donnell averaged 246,000 viewers in the demo. In April, during which Trump dominated, that number dropped to 180,000 (that translates to a 5% drop compared to “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” which was still running at 8pm this time last year.
After yesterday’s presser during which Obama scolded the media for spending so much time talking about the birther issue, Pew revealed that MSNBC had devoted significantly more time to the story than CNN and Fox.
And for understandable reason. Much the same as Sarah Palin, Trump is a great traffic driver on the Internet, subsequently when cable hosts do segments on him they are generally assured of some day-after pick-up, something more and more cable hosts (and their pr teams) are gunning for.
Alas, until Google hits are add to Nielsen numbers is turns out this sort of outrageous piggybacking may be good for name recognition but isn’t paying off in ratings. At least in Lawrence O’Donnell’s case.