The ‘MSNBC Mom’ Is a Major Driver of the Network’s Ratings Growth

By A.J. Katz Comment

New York Times columnist Kat Stoeffel wrote a piece over the weekend about how her mom and a growing number of older women are increasingly turning to MSNBC both in prime time and across the 24-hour day. She refers to these women as “MSNBC moms.”

Why this trend? Trump.

Stoeffel writes:

My mom is a liberal woman whose retirement years have coincided with the rise of Donald Trump and who seeks solace, companionship and righteous indignation in cable news… MSNBC is not my mom’s only news source — nor her only act of political engagement. But if the hours spent watching MSNBC are an index of a certain strain of liberal occupation, that index is at an all-time high, and not just in our house.

Stoeffel notes that MSNBC’s ratings have broken network records over the past couple of years, and while the network likes to tout its performance among adults 25-54, its year-over-year ratings growth among women 55+ is even more significant, which — she writes — is the work of “MSNBC moms.”

“This is a small but — anecdotally speaking — enthusiastic majority whose new MSNBC habit can be observed during holiday gatherings and Sunday afternoon catch-up calls,” Stoeffel writes.

Chris Hayes has noticed this phenomenon at book events, which consist of mother-daughter pairs. “A lot of times it’s the mom who got really into the show and talked it up to her daughter,” Hayes told Stoeffel.

Nicolle Wallace is cited by Stoeffel’s mom as “a superstar,” and she feels that because Wallace is a Republican, “I feel no one (Dad) can accuse me of hanging out in my liberal media echo chamber.”

Stoeffel talks to another “MSNBC mom,” an actor, writer and, until recently, print media devotee in Laurel Canyon, Calif.

On the issues she cares about most, she focuses on the policy impact of the news. When it comes to the Russia investigation, Ms. Meldrum said, she checks in with her people on Twitter, then watches Rachel Maddow, to see where she is with the information she’s gotten from Twitter. “It’s a pretty amazing feeling,” she said. “She’s bringing long-known Twitter news into the mainstream.”

Stoeffel also writes that hosts like Maddow give comfort to progressive women living red states, including a middle-school teacher in Nashville.

She is a cord cutter, but she streams Rachel Maddow at night. Maddow’s detailed policy discussions arm Ms. Brassil with the information she needs for life in a red state. But on an emotional level, Ms. Maddow gives her more than group affirmation.

“I’m glad that Maddow’s not trying to appear to take a middle road,” she told me. “Playing nice and trying to find common ground hasn’t gotten us very far.”