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Why MSNBC Is Suddenly Soaring in the Ratings -- Even Scoring a Win Over Fox News NY Times

MSNBC is having a good week in the ratings, and the reason is clear, according to Bill Carter, writing in The New York Times’ Media Decoder.

Chalk it up to news of a hidden video of presidential hopeful Mitt Romney criticizing 47% of Americans, Carter writes. MSNBC was seemingly also helped by Fox News, which decided to ignore the story for much of its prime-time schedule on Monday, the story says. Many observers think the emergence of the video hurts Romney's chances in the election.

MSNBC started to see a boost in its ratings on Monday among viewers 25-54, with more viewers tuning in on Tuesday, especially to Rachel Maddow's show, the story notes.

On Tuesday, Maddow drew 703,000 viewers 25-54, giving her a win over Fox News. However, that shifted back on Wednesday night, with her competitor, Sean Hannity, pulling in more viewers in the demo (645,000) than Maddow (521,000).

"But the news of late has clearly been good for MSNBC, both in the ratings and apparently in the presidential race," Carter writes. "The home-team effect, which can be seen in how well Fox News does on nights of the Republican convention versus how well MSNBC does during the Democratic convention, is likely at play."

Commenting on Maddow, Carter adds: “She has become, in the centerpiece 9 p.m. hour, the star attraction for the channel, and the results of late have been on a sharp upswing. Her average audience for the year in the 25-54 age group is about 250,000. But for the month of September, until this week, it had jumped to 453,000.”

Leading out of Maddow’s show, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell has also enjoyed a bounce in his head-to-head battle with Fox’s Greta Van Susteren. “On Tuesday, Mr. O’Donnell was well ahead with 535,000 viewers in the 25-54 category, to 383,000 for Ms. Van Susteren,” Carter writes. “On Wednesday he stayed ahead with 531,000, to 458,000 for the Fox host.”

CNN continues to trail both MSNBC and Fox News by a wide margin, the story notes.