Any day now, I am expecting to turn on the tube and see an ad that says, “More Americans get their TV news from Fox than anywhere else.”
Whether that pleases or horrifies you, it’s time to think seriously about what that says about Fox, CNN, MSNBC, the state of network news today and the role TV plays or doesn’t play in providing us with reliable, trustworthy information.
Much of the media establishment seems bent on ignoring the incredible ratings success of Fox News. Or, maybe it’s just that Fox has pounded CNN and MSNBC in the ratings for so long that another victory doesn’t seem like “news” – especially with MSNBC imploding and CNN committing to any genre but news in an effort to find new audiences.
But there are three ratings stories the last two weeks that taken together show Fox News rising to a new and remarkable level of dominance – and they have been underreported in the mainstream media.
First, Fox News beat not just CNN and MSNBC, but also ABC, NBC and CBS on Nov. 4, the night of the mid-term elections. It did so in both total viewers and the key news demographic: viewers 25 to 54 years of age.
Fox more than tripled the audiences of MSNBC and CNN in total viewers, while beating ABC, NBC and CBS by more than 3 million, 2 million and 1 million viewers respectively. (See figures at end of post.)
On a watershed political night, more Americans tuned to Fox for information about the vote than anywhere else.
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