April 10, 2013

The Hollywood Reporter has placed Rachel Maddow, along with many other totally obvious bold faces, in its list of 2013′s Most Powerful People in Media. In a capsule write-up on the talented MSNBC host, the Reporter includes this tidbit:

She has several times surpassed Fox News conservative Sean Hannity in key demos. She won’t gloat too much, though. “The rivalry between Fox and MSNBC is real; we are very different companies that approach what we do very differently, but that doesn’t extend to personal animosity,” says Maddow, 40, who had Fox News chairman Roger Ailes write a blurb for her book.

On a technical level, that’s all on the up and up. A “rivalry” is defined here as “competition for the same objective or for superiority in the same field.” Fair enough.

The Layman Erik Wemple Blog’s understanding of a “rivalry,” however, is a situation in which the competitors take turns just thrashing each other, with prolonged periods of alternating and unquestioned supremacy. The New York Giants vs. the Washington Redskins, for example.

Last we looked, Fox News was racking up yet another year of ratings dominance — despite significant gains by MSNBC — and commanding the 11 top-rated cable-news shows (in 2012, that is). Maddow, to be sure, didn’t specify ratings as her measure of rivalry, but it’s a quite-common way of keeping score in this industry. In light of the figures, true “rivalry” may have to wait a bit.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.