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Fox News, 1, CNN, MSNBC, White House O

Maybe it just means that anger sells. Maybe it means that television has gone niche, appealing to core audiences rather than the middle. Or maybe this really is, at heart, a conservative nation.

Whatever the reason, the trend is clear. Voted out of office in 2006 and 2008, Republicans are now the Party of Opposition. And their network of choice, Fox News, is now king.

Just-released ratings for the first quarter of 2010 show that CNN is in a precipitous free-fall, its prime-time hosts losing half their audience. Larry King, the septuagenarian who has been hosting a CNN show for 25 years, dropped from 1.34 million viewers for the first quarter of 2009 to 771,000 for the same period this year.

True, last year was all the hoopla over the inauguration of a new president. But this year saw plenty of action too -- the earthquake in Haiti, the epic battle over healthcare overhaul. Ratings on MSNBC plunged too. Conservatives are hailing the ratings news as more evidence of  a "liberal media death spiral."

Meanwhile Fox News, which broke records last year, continues to grow. Greta Van Susteren’s show was up 25%. Bill O’Reilly, whose show commands the biggest audience in prime time with 3.65 million viewers, was up 28%. And Glenn Beck, that conspiracy-fueling tinderbox for the Right? His audience was up 50% from last year.

The White House has already taken note. Last year, then-White House communications director Anita Dunn labeled Fox News "a wing of the Republican Party" and added, "They take their talking points, put them on the air; take their opposition research, put them on the air. And that's fine. But let's not pretend they're a news network the way CNN is." This year, President Obama sat for a lengthy, if contentious, interview with Fox News' Bret Baier.

O'Reilly has a theory about all this. “CNN basically stayed where they were 10 years ago, they didn’t change with the times,” he told “We live in a very intense country right now, a very difficult time. CNN doesn’t reflect that urgency.”

The standout on the Fox News lineup agrees that CNN does a great job of reporting the news. But he points out that, thanks to the Internet, most viewers already know the day's news, and are looking to cable networks for analysis and perspective.

For their part, CNN executives claim they are committed to presenting the news from a nonpartisan, neutral point of view, telling the New York Times they will not change their approach to prime-time programming.

Maybe they should reconsider.

-- Johanna Neuman

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Comments () | Archives (13)

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Unless and until the mainstream media step up and call the hate-spewing, fear-fomenting Foxers what they are, they will continue to sell themselves and this country's citizens short. We're coming close to Nazi tactics, and they're not emanating from the White House but from Rupert Murdoch. Enough!

All theese maybees show you are confused...very confused and frustration is
what stands out most in your 4 or 5 last articles of bashing the right.Over 30 %
of fox's audience is democrat.Stop just watching CNN and Rachel with the other hysterical nut jobs at msnbc...Riley is no. one for a good reason...he does
invite liberals on his show and does listen to them before he eviscerates their
crypto marxist diatribes.

The majority of this country leans conservative. Conservatives are sick of being demonized by the left- leaning media (the past two weeks of Chris Matthews, Ed Schulz, Maddow, etc. hurling bogus racisist claims is a great example). The majority of viewers are slowing changing the dial on the tube to news organizations who will NOT demonize them. This is what you call a "silent boycott" of the liberal media and it is growing like a grassfire. Case in point: NY Times subscribers - tanked! Ratings for CNN - tanked! MSNBC ratings - barely scratching at the back door of Fox.....ABC -laying off workers.....In a nutshell, you ain't seen nothing yet!

Um, facts please. Fox was #1 even before Republicans were the opposition party. But your main thrust is sound: the game is up for the MSM: a majority of the people (evidenced by Fox's massive audience) is sick of Obama talking points tarted up as "news" by MSNBCCBSCNNABC et al.

Hard as they may try, the liberals can't smear the FNC ratings and they refuse to face the truth of the state of our nation.

Neutral? CNN?

What a joke.

The "dozens of people attended the tea party in Searchlight" network?

A CNN 'anchor' named the tea partiers 'tea-baggers,' a sexual slur. Could it possibly be that Americans are tired of being insulted and condescended to by people who are so smart they get beaten by certifiable morons on Jeopardy?

As long as the liberal, socialist press continues to spew hatered the people will turn them off. We know who they are and ratings are king. Statements made by KNBC have distorted and angered viewers. The white house and most viewers tune into Fox. All others are in the bag. Fox is balanced and straightforward. The lesson for all others to follow. The media and newspapers are failing and accuse the internet or other outlets. Continuing with their liberal hatered has caused their doom. Go Fox.

Many independents voted for Obama because of the bi-partisan, middle of the road, deficit-reducing promises he made during the campaign. Now that he's thrown all that out the window and shown himself as a huge grow government, entitlements (and deficits) liar, MSNBC, CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, The New York Times (and the LA Times) etc have declared that anyone who is having second thoughts is a spitting racist.

Keep it up, dinosaur media, it just helps convince us which way to go in Nov.

I LOVE FOX NEWS!!! One thing about liberal progressive(in my opinion). They hate truth, they make things up, twist the facts, insult the masses, think they are smarter than everyone, and even more foollish they think no one will see through their B.S.. I hope at some point they will realize they are not fooling anybody but themselves. My advice to you liberal progressives. If you want to be heard, don't approach everyone as if they are idiots because they disagree with you. Realize everyone can contribute something of value no matter what their education level and labeling everyone outside your circle, a "hater" or "ignorant", certainly won't help you get your point across. These are some of the reasons way the liberal news network are struggling for viewers.

Well, I don't watch Fox News, in fact I removed it from my cable remote so I don't even have to flip past it!!

My brother, on the other hand, never turns it off -- he is on heart medication, has high blood pressure and is a generally hostile, argumentative person and criticizes pretty much anyone who doesn't agree with him.

I watch the Food network, History channel, Animal Planet, the Today show and Netflix movie rentals and am very easygoing and healthy/happy. I voted for President Obama and I don't lose a minute of sleep over how he is doing and I never expected rapid change in the way things are done - I am fine with the pace he has established and with his priorities, and I fully expect to vote for him again the next time around.

I think I am like a lot of people, I don't watch "news" shows on TV that are filled with rude, condescending people offering their opinion on the events of the day. I don't need someone to either agree with me or to tell me how I should view current events, I can decide for myself -- the only opinion that really matters to me is my own, so I gather my facts from various multiple sources. I just can't stand those nasty opinion programs, regardless of their point of view or partisan stands - even if I generally agree with their arguments I can't listen to the nastiness.

It doesn't surprise me that CNN, etc. are losing market share, because it seems they have tried to emulate the Fox model (opinionated partisan talk shows that focus on tearing down the other side), but that only draws in viewers like my brother who are angry to begin with -- political opinion talk appeals to angry right-wingers but does not work with angry left-wingers, they just turn it all off!!! Hence, more viewers for Fox and fewer for CNN....

“We live in a very intense country right now, a very difficult time. CNN doesn’t reflect that urgency.”
Fox news creates the urgency and sells it to a gullible audience.
Many of my family members and friends who watch fox are high school dropouts. Others derive their opinion by listening to their circle of friends who are angry by what they learn from their primary source of information (fox)
I am aware of studies that show democrats have on average a higher IQ.
Is there a study of education levels for viewers of Fox, CNBC and CNN?
It’s hard to deny that the tea party members have little intelligence. Most would not even watch Fareed Zakaria or Christiane Amanpour because it would require them to think IMO.
Also, how many watch the Daily show instead of O'Reilly?
How many now that Murdock was going to announce his support for Obama, until the guy that’s in charge at his cable news outfit threatened to quit if he did? All that money Murdock makes by using an immoral formula (lying), while enticing the likes of the uneducated, prejudice, hateful, fearful and Christian right.
Again, is there a study of education levels for viewers of Fox, CNBC and CNN?

First thing -- Brett's interview was NOT lengthy, it was strictly limited to 15 minutes which is unheard of. Go FOX -- they are afraid.

Democrats suffer from an educational gap. They are the victims of their own public educational system.

Republicans earn 60% more college degrees than democrats do, and always have since records have been kept in 1955. If democrats could just keep up we would not have a national debt nor social problems.

Democrats are hardly the elitists they pretend to be. Gang members, union thugs and Hollywood drop outs are their specialties and are the backbone of the democratic party. No offense to our hard working union brothers, but GED's just don't cut it in a global economy and Kennnedy and Biden were both caught cheating in college.


I came to America from Ireland when I was 67 and I had married an American nurse. I had moved around the world a good bit but never got to America before. I was amazed to see how backward and ill-educated most people were, even among the so-called educated classes; doctors,dentists,lawyers. Fox seems to represent the large mass of the populace and I have never heard such tosh and misrepresentation except from the Tory party in England and the republican party in Ireland. American don't seem to understand that they are being ripped off, right left and centre by the corporations and they are the financial backbone of Fox. I am told that America is a nation of Laws. Yes! Laws for the rich and the Banksters. When do you see a poor man getting into Congress or becoming President? Wake up America.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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