Fox News tops all cable ratings


fox-news-logoThe idea that Fox News would top all of cable news networks is no longer news, as Fox News has had “11 consecutive years of dominance as the #1-rated cable news network.” {1} The idea that it would top the non-news, USA Network for the number one position in all of cable for one week, is a milestone the Fox News channel hasn’t hit since 2005.

As is usually the case, most viewers do not go to news networks unless they are prompted to do so by a major event, or a presidential election.  In 2005, that event was Hurricane Katrina.  In 2013, it was the bombing at the Boston Marathon, and the pursuit of the alleged bombers.  In both cases, it was Fox News that more viewers turned to for their news.

“FNC garnered 2.874 million viewers on average over the week compared to number two USA’s 2.621 million CNN also climbed up the cable ladder to hit the number three spot with 1.985 million viewers overall on average over the week.”{2} CNN did, however, win the key 25-54 demographic on the April 19, 2013 night of the pursuit  2,362,000 to 1,574,00 during the 7 p.m. hour when news broke of suspect’s capture.

Friday, the 19th, was a day of milestones for FNC, as they had their highest total day of viewership since the 2003 Iraq War.  Neilsen ratings detail the fact that each show on FNC had either its highest, or its second highest, rating in that show’s history.  These shows include the O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, America’s Newsroom, America Live, Fox and Friends, the Fox Report, Happening Now, and the Studio B show. {3}

Even the most ardent Fox News Channel (FNC) hater has to admit that if FNC didn’t exist, there would be a need to create it.  Just from a business standpoint.  Just by studying the numbers, and seeing all those that claimed that they were disaffected viewers in 1986, all but those blinded by ideology could see that there was a niche in the marketplace for such a network.  If there wasn’t a need for a news organization to present an alternative viewpoint, and if there weren’t so many disaffected fans of news, FNC would’ve fallen on their face.  They haven’t, for eleven straight years they haven’t.

But, say those that may recognize the need for it, FNC abuses this privilege by engaging in bias and misinformation.  The misinformation charge is a false premise that FNC haters bring up as a generality without specifics, and it’s impossible to disprove a charge such as this.  As for bias, FNC haters bring up Sean Hannity.  Sean Hannity is a self-proclaimed conservative, and his broadcasts are admittedly biased, but if any viewers believe Megan Kelly, Bill O’Reilly, Bret Baier, Shepard Smith, or Greta van Susteren are all biased, they’re just not watching.  If you believe that these broadcasters exhibit a personal bias that is more biased to traditional America, and its social mores and values, there may be an argument to be had there, but there are far too many Democrats and liberals on FNC broadcasts for anyone to claim that they are biased toward conservatives or Republicans.

Another charge that FNC haters make is that it provides confirmation bias to viewers.  That, in essence, FNC only reports on news that confirms a certain belief system, and that it confirms for viewers that which they already believe in.  If that were true, and numerous independent studies have reported that it isn’t, could the same charge be made of CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC?  The one thing that the confirmation bias charge doesn’t do is ask the one making the charge what station they get their news from, and if that organization does nothing more than confirm their biases?  This wouldn’t be asked, of course, because the response would be that their news source is a trusted news source.  This could be said to be the very nature of confirmation bias.

Anyone that has heard former “trusted news source” reporters such as Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, and Ted Koppel go on shockingly liberal rants in their retirement years know that these men are stridently liberal now, and that it’s reasonable to conclude that they were at least a little liberal throughout their careers.  The knee jerk response to this accusation is that these men are free to have views in America, and that as regular citizens now they should be free to comment on whatever issue they choose.  Very true, but if they’re this liberal now, how liberal were they when they were employed to report the news to us?  Did their political beliefs ever influence their reporting?  Did they ever spike a story that could’ve damaged a cause they believed in?  It’s impossible to know to what degree, of course, but we do know that what these men, and others, did resulted in a niche in the market that Fox News capitalized on to a point of utter domination in cable news ratings war.

{1}http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2013/01/29/fox-news-channel-is-again-top-rated-cable-news-network-for-the-month-of-january/167281/

{2} http://www.deadline.com/tag/tv-ratings/

{3}http://www.mediaite.com/tv/fox-news-tops-cable-news-in-total-viewers-with-fridays-boston-coverage/

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3 thoughts on “Fox News tops all cable ratings

  1. Oh, it’s pretty easy to understand. News is basically entertainment, and has been for decades. The National Enquirer has always outsold the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and the New York Times.

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  2. Yes, there will always be Enquirer readers, and People magazine readers, and you’re right the line that blurs the infotainment of news is disturbing, but as I said when an event, or an election, happens, consumers are turning to Fox News in surprising numbers.

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  3. Pingback: Obama and His Judge Endangers America - Page 3 (politics)

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