It has been nearly three months since Joy Reid claimed a string of embarrassing posts found on her old blog were the result of “an unknown, external party.” Reid claimed she had discovered this fact and even alerted the FBI so they could investigate. About a week later, after the claims of her hired expert were shredded in the media, Reid went on MSNBC and admitted she had no proof to back up her claim. Nevertheless, she still denied authorship of the embarrassing material.
MSNBC put out a statement backing Reid, but one result of the self-made scandal has been a significant drop in viewership of her weekend show. From Contemptor:
A review of the 12 weeks prior to Mediaite breaking the story on her old blog posts and the broadcasts through this past weekend show that Reid’s weekend program AM Joy has lost a significant portion of her viewership across the board. The two-hour news discussion show, which airs 10 AM-12 PM Saturday and Sunday, has experienced double-digit losses in both total viewership and the key 25-54 demographic across all four hours.
Overall, AM Joy averaged 238,000 in the key demo and 1.113 million total viewers from early February to late April, according to Nielsen. Those numbers reflect both the Saturday and Sunday broadcasts. In comparison, her combined ratings since April 28 (her first post-controversy broadcast) are down 23 percent in the demographic (172,000) and 21 percent in total audience (876,000). (These numbers also include the May 19 broadcast during the Royal Wedding which brought in over a million total viewers and a quarter million in the demo and a June 3rd broadcast in which Jonathan Capehart guest-hosted.)
If you look at just the last month, following the most recent resurfaced blog posts that included her promoting 9/11 trutherism and comparing John McCain to the Virginia Tech shooter, the numbers have fallen even more.
The site had earlier reported that Reid’s ratings were down immediately after the story, but that was before several more egregious posts were discovered on her old blog. It was also possible at the time that the story might create a temporary downward bump from which Reid would soon recover. But two months later that doesn’t seem to be the case. Contemptor notes, “Considering that this is over a period of more than two months, this would appear to be more than a blip or statistical anomaly.”
There is one other possible explanation for the collapse: MSNBC’s ratings are down overall. TV Newser reported at the end of May that MSNBC’s rating surge had stopped and even declined a bit for the month, though not as much as Reid’s ratings have declined. So it might be fair to say that some of Reid’s ratings problems are part of a larger network problem, but she still appears to be leading the plunge.
So does this mean that Reid is finally facing the music for lying to everyone from her audience, to her bosses at MSNBC, to the FBI? You have to imagine that at some point Reid will stop defying the law of gravity but the fact that she has been given a complete pass by the network’s biggest star may mean she’ll have to fall a lot farther before this is treated as a business decision.
Brains, guts, heart and soul — beloved Joy Reid has always been a treasured and brilliant colleague, but I’ve never been prouder to work with her than I am now. https://t.co/J95uL3CjMv
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) April 28, 2018
In case you’ve forgotten, here’s Reid’s weird semi-apology from April. As I said at the time, she’s the Elizabeth Warren of hacking claims, i.e. it doesn’t matter whether what she’s saying is true because the people who consider her a progressive champion will continue to support her regardless.