03/22/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Earthquake in the Ratings

This will surprise no one: FoxNews beat all the other networks last week, even including four and a half days of Haiti earthquake coverage. What should surprise some of us who have given up totally on CNN, was that CNN was second with a huge lead in all categories over MSNBC. I guess I'll see no full-page ads about MSNBC's numbers in this week's New York Times.

To what should be nobody's surprise, CNN beat all the other news networks among 18-34 year olds, and in total day won the 18-49s over the other three networks. The reason this should be no surprise is that CNN continues to be the network that occasional news viewers turn to on significant hard news occasions. Given that most hardcore news viewers are over fifty, and CNN still has a reputation for getting there first on the hard news, it's to be expected that occasional viewers go there first. And, when CNN does a good job, as it has done on the earthquake story, younger viewers stay with them.

As for MSNBC, it continues to neglect fast breaking major news stories because it relies on coverage provided by NBC News, which has been cut back severely for the usual financial reasons. The decline NBC as a broadcasting network should not affect its more profitable cable network, but it does. Maybe MS ought to talk to its NBC partner and find out why they've failed so miserably on such an important story.