Fox News now number one in actual news as well as ratings

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Back when Fox News' lead in the ratings still seemed like an interesting story, I opined that Fox was still trailing CNN in terms of the "actual news" so many civic-minded Americans claim to want, that CNN was still doing more actual newsgathering, foreign correspondence, reporting of facts, etc., while Fox's murderers' row of star fulminators succeeded mostly in adding gas to the news environment. The reverse now appears to be the case. Today, in an unsuccessful effort to remain off the world wide web, I tried getting all my Lebanon news off the TV. CNN, with its two channels, is showing both a retrospective about terrible air crashes and Nancy Grace kvetching about a terrible crime. Fox's Heartland with John Kasich, meanwhile, has done half an hour on Lebanon, with an on-camera correspondent in Israel and an off-camera correspondent in Lebanon. Comic relief MSNBC is showing an MSNBC Investigates episode about some crime of yore. I make no claims that any of these reports made me any smarter or better informed, nor do I judge whether the terrible crimes of individuals are more or less worthy of attention than the terrible crimes of nations. But it is (or seems to me) a striking reversal.

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  1. ” Comic relief MSNBC is showing an MSNBC Investigates episode about some crime of yore.”

    Yeah, that’s MSNBC’s reason to exist: not to be a news channel, but so NBC can squeeze a few more bucks out of its library of old tape.

  2. Wait a second – you mean nobody is covering the Natalee Holloway story?

  3. I still can’t stand the solid block of O’Rannity
    & Colmes, etc. that essentially keeps you from getting any real news for the entire fucking evening (unless you’re lucky enough to catch the 2 or 3 minute news breaks). That’s not to say the other networks are a whole lot better, but Fox News still has a long way to go before becoming completely newsy-ish.
    That’s why I’m such a fan of the Interweb (and endless Firefox add-ons). That way, I’m inundated 24/7 with a constant stream of news into my retinas. I’m well-informed, damn it!

  4. /Comment from one of your multi-year lurkers in Sweden/

    Sitting on the other side of the pond, your observation, sadly, sits square with mine. On my cable provider’s network we get 24 h’s of CNN Europe and 12 h’s of Fox America. Even though Fox fills 40% of its time with nonsensical alarms and the same amount of hysterical jingoist badgering of any kind of opposition to the currentadministration, Fox seem to get the time to report more of what has actually been said and done in the last hours.

    Last week, while Fox kept repeating its alarmist bewilderment about N Korean missiles, the alerts were interspersed with comments from a host of knowledgeable and infamous people.

    CNN on the other hand got themselves locked down into repeating the lede and then tuning over to the World Cup (you know which one), never really coming back to the global story and into the next dimension of assess, predict, thoughtprovoke.

    In the last days the story’s been the same; CNN: New bombings of the Bekaa Valley – over to our predictable woman who tells us things are serious-back to the rep – g’by. Fox: And now a mission into lebanon being shelled, you can feel the tension! – And in our studio, here we are talking to the luminaries in the ongoing conflict – Now today the israeli council has discussed even sharper utilization of weapons systems – Friends, lets debate the reason all moslems lack civilization.

    One is nuts, sure, always been, but one is crap, now, didn’t use to.

  5. I can’t say I agree or disagree with this analysis — I don’t watch cable news channels — but will say that at least there are no incessant Fox News Alerts on CNN.

    Plus, Greta Van Susteren scares me.

  6. i’ve actually been impressed by MSNBC lately, it’s seemed to have taken me as a viewer. I mean other then the prmetime old tape usually I can find plenty of news.

  7. That should read: I don’t watch cable news channels regularly

  8. Nancy Grace is proof that God hates us.

  9. It’s true…I would say nancy grace is the anti-christ but she isn’t charasmatic at all…in fact kind of the opposite. She just makes me hate her. Here is to Mercer University me and Nancy grace.

  10. Just mosied downstairs, flipped on the giant ID-10-T box in the living room and spent about twenty minutes flipping between news channels.

    FOX News: “The Beltway Boys” Mort Kondrake and Barney what’s-his-face talking about Guilani vs. McKang.

    CNN: Some kind of speshul nooze program talking about airliners spontaneously combusting.

    MSNBC: The aforementioned recycled video.

    Headline News: Two guys blathering on about how a poll of Americans showed that we (!) want to see more average-looking people in movies and TeeVee.
    The meticulously dressed, skinny, clean-shaven, messy-styled and highlight-haired commentors go on to slavishly fellate this de-idealizing of beauty by telling Hollywood that (I am not making this up) Quote “Hollywood needs to wake the Hell up and realize that metrosexual is out. Most Americans live in suburbs now.” UnQuote.

  11. When I want to learn about current events I read various news sources that are on the Interne and/or I watch C-SPAN. When I want to be entertained for an hour or two, I watch the networks (CNN, FOX, MSNBC). But if I had to pick a favorite out of the three major channels, in terms on actual news, I perfer CNN. If I wake up early enough (or just pull an all-nighter) I’ll watch Bloomberg. I wish Bloomberg would broadcast during the day and/or evening.

  12. Lol, thanks mediageek. Truly, you are a media geek.

  13. Seriously, who relies on TV news anymore? It’s good only for the video footage while eating something. I swear Reuters should just come up with an all video news channel with headline ticker, sans blowhards. That’s the new niche market – silent news.

  14. At one time, Directv had a news channel called “Newsworld International” which was produced by the CBC. Actual news. Done well. Now, that channel is occupied by GoreTV (“current”).

    The BBC World News is on in the morning.

    I want to drop a piano on Fred Barnes. Likewise that ranting troll Kristol.

  15. it’s only because fox news is pro-israel and has christian zionist meatheads as a key constituency that they’re paying so much attention to lebanon. if there were a major war unfolding in latin america, you can bet they wouldn’t give two shits.

  16. Good point. Fox wants to keep the Rapture demo glued to their sets for around the clock End Times coverage.

    Also maybe Fox just has the money to do a little international news now and then.

  17. i really don’t see what all the hostility is here over fox news…yes it is partisan but so is every friggen other tv news outlet…and they all claim to not be partisan.

    anyone ever listen to NPR? Jesus Christ that sucker is more partisan then Rush.

  18. I find it useful to have the Associated Press bookmarked. I’ll probably sign up for some RSS feeds if I switch to broadband soon.

    Kevin

  19. CNN International here during its actual news shows like Business International at midnight is pretty decent —

    BBC News on BBC America and PBS is decent, especially is the news is in a former english colony.

    SkyNews is now shown live on FoxSoccerChannel of all places at 2pm pst., shows 30 minutes of non-sports news and is interesting tabloid-y english version of FoxNews often with the same international correspondents.

    Newsworld International by the CBC was good, but my local cable TimeWarner dropped it after too little time…

    Personally for straight news I’ll take BBC World Service radio then go to my favourite sites like the Independent, Reason, etc. to get told what I want to hear…and Michael Young.

  20. Didn’t Lou Dobbs used to be a legitimate business journalist? What the hell happened to him?

  21. it’s only because fox news is pro-israel and has christian zionist meatheads as a key constituency that they’re paying so much attention to lebanon. if there were a major war unfolding in latin america, you can bet they wouldn’t give two shits.

    Do you ever step back and wonder how you got so stupid?

  22. At times, CNN and Fox have switched places this weekend for me. Fox keeps on that story about the (attractive blonde) real-estate agent killed outside Dallas. CNN has that TWA special.

    I used to live in Beirut, and I get annoyed when everyone gets snarky about TV news people having to know everything. But…the Fox anchor and “experts” have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about when it comes to Lebanon. Anderson Cooper and Nic Roberts, however, have done a really great job conveying info.

  23. Why does CNN Headline News have “Nancy Grace” and “Glenn Beck” and “Showbiz” whatever on in the evenings?

    If I want personality-driven dreck and opinion/anal-ysis, I can tune to CNN, Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC, etc.

    I want (mostly) straight news stories, even if it does repeat every 30 to 60 minutes. Scratch that — especially when it repeats every 30 to 60 minutes. On the weekends, I can just leave the TV on CNN-HN and have it on in the background all day. It’s great. Why can’t I have that on the weekdays, too?

    And Bonnie Schneider should wear tigter-fitting shirts.

  24. I get all my news from H&R.

    Well I get local news from intel reports, and word of mouth.

    I wish we had Fox.

  25. Bitch, bitch, bitch!

    If you’re a newsjunky today the main problem is a world-full of stories told from several alternative viewpoints via dozens of competing sources.

    I remember when you had to wait for the local newspaper to cover what happened in your own town.

  26. I seldom watch any M$M as I cannot get the news I’m seeking, which is on real issues such as regulation and legislation. Fox is the worst offender of “fair and balanced”; I think they ought to rename it the RNN (Republican News Network), but Rupert Murdoch’s ego is too big not to have his name on it. I read Newshounds as they say, “We watch Fox so you don’t have to.”

    Fox and CNN expend too much energy on wedge issues no one gives a s**t about, such as gay marriage and flag burning amendments, which they ought to be talking about energy reform, environmental legislation, election reform, and poverty solutions (like the WSJ did in a 4 part series in June and this month), etc.

    Be looking for more Hillary sightings on Fox. She’s got Murdoch’s back. More sleeze to come. Incidentally, network news tv viewership dropped to a new low July 3-9.

    As for me, I get my information from C-SPAN, which should be the top rated cable news/media channel, but unfortunately, too many chain hotels don’t carry it for the average business traveller, so they (travellers) are stuck with CNN, Fox, etc.

    At least there is an alternative: Comedy Central, and the blogsophere, as long as there isn’t network discrimination (or keep net neutrality). I would expect Reason to say more about that and let the consumers decide what content they want and not have the government, aka Ted Stevens, decide for us.

  27. Fox and CNN expend too much energy on wedge issues no one gives a s**t about, such as gay marriage and flag burning amendments, which they ought to be talking about energy reform, environmental legislation, election reform, and poverty solutions (like the WSJ did in a 4 part series in June and this month), etc.

    Unfortunately, the people who track the ratings at FOX and CNN have discovered that those “wedge issues no one gives a s**t about” turn out to be the issues that most people actually do give a shit about.

    You seem to think the average cable news consumer is looking for intellectual stimulation, objective, fact-based coverage of world events, and honest, informed debate on which policy recommendations to follow. I hate to break it to you. but those meaningful issues you mentioned draw lower ratings than Ann Coulter’s Adams apple and Lou Dobbs’ dewlap bobbing up and down.

    I also question your hypothesis that C-SPAN isn’t as popular as those two dreck channels due to lack of availability in hotels.

  28. Fox and CNN expend too much energy on wedge issues no one gives a s**t about, such as gay marriage and flag burning amendments, which they ought to be talking about energy reform, environmental legislation, election reform, and poverty solutions (like the WSJ did in a 4 part series in June and this month), etc.

    Not.

    • By definition a “wedge issue” is one people give too much s**t about.
    • I personally would not waste time watching programs about “energy reform, environmental legislation, election reform, and poverty solutions” because I don’t care about these issues.

    My personal hotlist includes gun control, anti-pornography crusades, and anti-homosexuality crusades, all of which I oppose. I think news should cover these issues, as I’m not the only one interested in them. But I’m not egocentric enough to think networks should concentrate on those issues just because I think they’re the most important.

    As for “energy reform, environmental legislation, election reform, and poverty solutions,” IMO these are issues where the proposed government “reforms,” “legislation,” and “solutions” are least likely to actually improve the situation.

  29. Sure if 25% of the population follows the authoritarian line no more if it makes sense or not, of course they will flock to Fox News, because they don’t listen to all sides and then make up their minds. One could also say 100% of the Chinese population watches and listens to State run media, making that TV channel the most watched news in China, it doesn’t make it “right”, ditto North Korea. Yet if you were to allow people from NK or China to listen to “liberal” American news, they would in a skinny minute.

  30. “Truly, you are a media geek.”

    Producer, consumer, and sniper thereof. 😀

  31. “You seem to think the average cable news consumer is looking for intellectual stimulation, objective, fact-based coverage of world events, and honest, informed debate on which policy recommendations to follow. I hate to break it to you. but those meaningful issues you mentioned draw lower ratings than Ann Coulter’s Adams apple and Lou Dobbs’ dewlap bobbing up and down.”

    Maybe I am missing something about the readers of Reason as I thought most were pretty educated. I expect most readers here to be more than average information consumers; I’m not talking about the “biscuits and gravy” crowd that zones out on Fox News (and also call into C-SPAN).

    But when the Reason writers appear to me that they are favoring entertainment over objective reporting, then I question them. They are no better than the viewers who prefer the Colbert Report or TDS with Jon Stewart, albeit TDS is more accurate than “The Factor” or “Hannity & Colmes”, and more humorous, at least.

    Back to the poster who wants anti-Homosexuality and anti-porns not to be messed with but underreported, Net neutrality needs to rule. We already paid our tax dollars for the building of the Internet; the telecos (and energy companies as well) need to figure out how to profit better without government handing over our wallets to them just to control what I content I want to see or in the case of energy companies, for war profiteering purposes. The government’s function is not make businesses money, but certainly, getting road blocks out of the way for entrepreneurs are good things.

    I’d rather see more op-eds on this site by Francis Fukuyama rather than Tucker Carlson, that’s for sure. Has Professor Fukuyama been invited to blog here lately?

  32. joshua corning writes:

    i really don’t see what all the hostility is here over fox news…yes it is partisan but so is every friggen other tv news outlet…and they all claim to not be partisan.

    There’s a difference between being blatantly partisan like the shows on Fox (the only “partisan” one on CNN is Lou Dobbs), and those who at least attempt to be objective. It appears you’re not old enough to know the difference.


    anyone ever listen to NPR? Jesus Christ that sucker is more partisan then Rush.

    The shows I listen to on NPR in LA (KPCC) are fairly balanced (Airtalk, Talk of the Nation, BBC). Why don’t you name the shows that are partisan.

  33. Andy- In most cases, “Partisan” means “They don’t indulge my biases and tell me what I want to hear.”

  34. There’s a difference between being blatantly partisan like the shows on Fox (the only “partisan” one on CNN is Lou Dobbs), and those who at least attempt to be objective. It appears you’re not old enough to know the difference.

    Now wait just a minute. Hannity & Colmes/O’Reilly never pretend to be objective reporters. They are commentators paid to give their views. Expecting “unbiased” news from them is like expecting it from Reason. I don’t come here for straight news (tho’ I get plenty) but for the point of view of the editors, authors and commenters. There are however plenty of anchors and reporters at Fox News who do attempt objective reporting. But don’t take it from me, take it from Susan Estrich who says it a hell of a lot better than I can.

    By the way, Susan, who is as “blue” as they come appears regularly on FNC and has a regular column on foxnews.com where she gives her liberal opinions. One thing Fox does well is at least attempt to balance right vs. left views in their guest commentators. Some of the attraction of FNC is watching guests square off with each other. Say what you want about Sean Hannity (and I’m by no means a member of his fan club) at least they put Alan Colmes (as left as Sean is Right) to balance him. And he typically gets equal time for questioning guests etc.

    As for Lou Dobbs being the only Partisan on CNN: ever hear of Jack Cafferty, Soledad O’Brien, and Miles O’Brien? I watch them regularly give their (liberal) opinions during reporting and yet they are considered legitimate “objective” journalists? Give me a break.

    Finally, I agree with Nobody Important that CNN-HN does the best of all the cable nets. And they have the best looking anchors.

  35. Watch PBS and get the REAL NEWS. Skip the propaganda.

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