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Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 297 -- Cable News Wars.

Fox News-

CNN and Fox News both claim to be the King of Cable News. We have more viewers. We are highest rated. Our programming is more talked-about. Our growth is more rapid than yours. When big events happen, people tune to our station, not yours.

And so on.

So what's the truth?

The short answer is that CNN has more unique viewers over the course of a month, but many of those viewers only stay tuned for a short time. Meanwhile, Fox News has more "junkies" who stay tuned for hours on end.

CNN's website also has far greater viewership than the Fox News website:


So Fox News needs to get with it if it cares about winning the internet cable news wars.

Meanwhile, CNN can correctly claim that it has more individuals watching it during any given month (although their lead is shrinking):


A lot of this can be attributed to CNN's jump start in hotel rooms, airports, places of business, and so on, not to mention the fact that Fox News was (and still is) not included in as many cable lineups as CNN is.

But Fox News is growing much faster. And it already has better ratings:


So Fox News has more loyal viwers who watch consistently and enduringly. CNN has more individual casual viewers who watch for a few minutes to get the jist of what's happening in the world.

Fox News may be the king of cable news, but it still needs to grow into its role. Furthermore, for all the liberal crowing about Fox News being a right-wing network, most reputable studies indicate Fox's staple news show, "Special Report with Brit Hume" is ideologically somewhere between Maine Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.

Moderate, in other words.

Also, when liberals squawk about the "conservative media," it's difficult not to burst out laughing, given that a) Fox News is not all that conservative, just unabashedly rah rah about America (which might be why liberals hate it so much); b) Fox News is easily counteracted, ratings-wise, by the combination of CNN and CNN Headline News. Throw in ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNBC, MTV News, BET News, and the rest, and suddenly Fox News is a tiny snowboarder consumed by an avalanche of left-wing ideology.

Fox News also falls victim to the same sort of sensationalist, tabloidy, rumor-mongering, and "gotcha" tendencies as the others, especially in the heat of the moment. Fox News also follows the media herd on most of those initial reports that turn out to be entirely erroneous.

Who could forget Fox News' wall-to-wall coverage of Natalie Holloway, while important policy debates on Social Security, Iraq, and the judiciary went practically unreported? And speaking of Social Security, it's hard to forget their very un-conservative coverage of the Social Security reform debate. It's also hard to forget the lack of coverage of the budding freedom protest movement in places like Lebanon. And who could forget Fox News' Shep Smith and Geraldo losing their composure and embarrassing themselves during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina?

Fox News is also more populist than conservative. Its reporting on the UAE port deal was severely flawed and demagogic until it was too late.

Often I wish Fox News would embrace its conservative/Republican reputation a bit more, rather than going out of its way (and often overcompensating) to disprove it. So many times, over the past few years, I've been watching Fox News and just been disgusted by that same liberal bias found all over the rest of the establishment media.

No doubt, Fox News has shaken up the cable news industry, but, as always, let's put it in perspective. It's got a long way to go before it can claim an undisputed title in the cable news wars. It may never surpass the Big 3 networks (ABC, CBS, NBC). And even if it does get to that point, would Fox News domination of the industry really be that great for free markets, free people, and other bedrock conservative values, principles, issues, and ideas?


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Entitlement Spending.

Posted by Will Franklin · 15 March 2006 05:54 PM


Now if we only had a better sports network?

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at March 15, 2006 06:52 PM

The FNC website doesn't get hits because, frankly, it sucks. That doesn't mean we don't watch it -- we just don't use the website.

And it does suck. Bad.

Posted by: rightwingprof at March 16, 2006 10:03 AM