Well, if you are a follower of Daily Kos you know all you need to know, Fox News has had it. It’s over. The right-wing propaganda machine has finally stripped its gears and will soon sputter to a grinding halt. And if that is what you have been yearning for then read no further and enjoy your day. If you are more interested in reality then you need to look to other sources for analysis of the latest ratings.
The powers that be at Fox certainly aren’t celebrating over the latest ratings and may be privately second guessing some of their recent moves. But despite the bleak picture painted by the Kos, Fox News remains in the driver’s seat and that is exactly where you want to be. How they react to their challenges will obviously determine how long they remain on top. At one time CNN was THE player in cable news and slowly lost the lead to Fox and have been scrambling to even be competitive for years.
You can look at the numbers and come to the conclusions of the Daily Kos. They report the Fox numbers are the worst in 13 years. They call the numbers devastating. They say the news was MUCH better for MSNBC, because their viewer losses were not as large. But DK failed to mention that even with the good news, MSNBC did climb back over CNN into second place, MSNBC hit longtime lows…
“In total day, MNSBC delivered its lowest ratings in total viewers since December 2007 and in the A25-54 demo since June 2006. In primetime, the network had its lowest demo delivery since July 2006.” —TVNewser
TVNewser reports on the same numbers and their headline points out that Fox News remains in the number one spot for the 149th straight months. That is over 12 years on top of the news channel ratings and they again beat MSNBC and CNN combined. TVNewser also points out that Fox is down 27% over May 2013 in total viewers and down 25% in the A25-54 demographic in total day. Here they aren’t sugar-coating anything but being a little more honest than the report at DK. In the discussion section one reader adds,
“LOL Wonder if the demographics are one reason. Most of those who watch Fox are very old and retired. They stay home and watch a lot of TV while the other demographics are actually out working and still raising families. Nothing wrong with that, but it would easily explain why the ratings are what they are and why the more highly rated shows on Fox are through morning and late afternoon.”
And much of the discussion of the numbers does revolve around the higher age of the Fox audience. And that can also explain some of the problems for an outlet such as MSNBC which would appeal to a younger demographic, a group who is more likely to get news, if they get news, from many more varied sources than the older viewers of Fox. Again when analyzing the numbers there are still other things to consider including national and world events that would drive viewers to cable news, interest in off-year elections as well as what is happening with the traditional broadcast networks. Mediabistro touches on this aspect in this report. And a commenter on their site adds,
“Journalists and media analysts should not make the mistake of confusing the average minute audience with the total or cumulative audience that is the real measure of TV network reach and engagement.
It is unlikely that a channel such as FOX News has “lost” any viewers in May
2014. FOX News viewers have simply modified their time spent with the
channel to meet the nature of the current news cycle.
However, the dramatic and destructive programming changes at CNN have probably cost that news channel average minute and total ratings (i.e., real audience), as CNN has become and unreliable source of “breaking” and non-breaking news. There is no question that CNN has lost viewers to better TV news alternatives.
Nonetheless, the 24-Hour News Channel TV Genre is more powerful than it has ever been, serving the American Public and Advertising Sponsors alike.”
For Politicss usa, their take is that Fox is down 27% because of their obsession with Benghazi. A non-story if there ever was one according to them. Do they have a point? Could be, something to throw into the mix. But again they are reporting on the reality they want more than anything factual. Which is ironic because that is exactly what Politicus usa accuses Fox, or for them “Fake News Channel” of doing.
It may not be possible for a far right or far left site to do honest reporting. It is usually a safer bet to play to your audience, making sure they know you are on their side than it is to provide both sides of an issue. For many Fox viewers, they don’t want Fox News to offer the other side, Fox IS the other side in their opinion being one of the few places on TV you can get anything other than a liberal point of view. I hear many who have sworn off Fox news simply because Fox has on a commentator who doesn’t parrot the conservative talking points.
Other views and notes on the subject:
The NY Daily News – says Ronan Farrow is facing cancellation at MSNBC because of the ratings.
TV By The Numbers – has the latest ratings for each cable news/opinion show for Thursday.
Politico – May ratings spare no one.
I encourage you to do the heavy lifting and dig to find out what is going on in the world. You will be unique! The more information you get the better. First, Think. Then, Think Again. It’s an activity most in America don’t seem to have the time or inclination to tackle but if you do you will be better able to debate those who know only what they BELIEVE to be true.