Dec 27, 2018

MSNBC tops Fox News for the first time since 2000

MSNBC's Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow. Photo: Heidi Gutman/MSNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

MSNBC topped Fox News in total viewers during the week of Dec. 17 for the first time since 2000 as its flagship "The Rachel Maddow Show" ended the week as cable news' most-watched program. (Update: Fox News notes that Sean Hannity, who is opposite Maddow at 9 p.m. ET, has been out for the holidays since Dec. 14.)

The big picture: MSNBC's rise comes as the AP reports that Fox News' fortunes may be tied to the state of news from the Trump administration. Sean Hannity, the network's preeminent host and "Maddow" competitor, is set to earn the title of most popular cable news personality this year, but his ratings have fallen 19% in the month following the midterm elections as the rest of Fox News' prime time slate have also fallen 20% in the same time period.

Disclosure: NBC is an investor in Axios and NBC News Chairman Andy Lack is on our board of directors.

Go deeper

Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and South Korea ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."

Situational awareness

A combine in Rippey, Iowa harvests soybeans in October 2019. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. U.S. soybean stockpiles expected to drop as exports rebound, USDA says
  2. Warren Buffett releases annual letter, reassures investors about future of Berkshire Hathaway
  3. Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins
  4. Reports: Facebook offers up to $5 for voice recordings
  5. Greyhound bars immigration sweeps