Fox News overtakes CNN in viewership
January 30, 2002 7:07 AM   Subscribe

Fox News overtakes CNN in viewership even though fewer people get Fox News in their households.
posted by mrbula (31 comments total)
I've tried to do it, but I cannot think of any way this would actually be a good thing.
posted by mrbula at 7:08 AM on January 30, 2002

Because it means that whoever has Paula Zahn is destined to be the loser.
posted by dagnyscott at 7:31 AM on January 30, 2002

If Fox would drop all the fanciness and flashes and stupid music they got going on, AND if they can invite people from the real left, I think they will go way over CNN.
posted by adnanbwp at 7:39 AM on January 30, 2002

If Fox would drop all the fanciness and flashes and stupid music they got going on

Isn't that all Fox is? I never thought I would say this, but CNN is gleaming bastion of journalistic integrity next to Fox News. These are the folks with the gun-toting, lying Geraldo on staff, no?
posted by malphigian at 7:41 AM on January 30, 2002

In other news, more Americans watch Married With Children reruns than Nova.
posted by jpoulos at 7:51 AM on January 30, 2002

that's just sad. I knew things were looking down when Gretta Van Sustern left CNN for Fox. I still feel betrayed! Gretta, how could you?
posted by mariko at 7:51 AM on January 30, 2002

Fox motto: We decide for you and swallow. CNN suffers from not being sexy enugh--Lou Dobbs et al simply dont have it (image, etc) and this is sad but true: the medium is the message.
Fox is glitzyk fast, sexy by comparison but so right-leaning that it is embarrassing. All you need do is check out the guest andsee which are from the Right and how few representan opposing view from the left of center. But thek who owns it?
posted by Postroad at 7:54 AM on January 30, 2002

Fox is conservative and doesn't put a liberal spin on news. The only news I can stomach watching.

And that's why they are winning.
posted by Macboy at 8:03 AM on January 30, 2002

I watch Fox a lot less now than I did a year ago, generally only watching Brit Hume. MSNBC (Chris Matthews, Alan Keyes) and CNN ("Inside Politics" is back! Praise the lord!) get most of my news viewing time. O'reilly (imho) has really let success get to his head. I'd rather watch Alan Keyes who (when I disagree with him) still engages me, although I can't imagine that show will last long.

It was interesting to switch between the channels last night after the speech and see the difference in coverage.

MSNBC wanted to talk about the speech itself and what it meant to most viewers. Is this what the nation needed to hear? What in this is new, etc? Chris Mathews (who loves sports analogies) called it a "inside the park home-run".

Fox wanted to talk about what was "right" with the speech and the political implications of boxing in the dem's. They also tackled the "what's new" angle but spent alot of time patting each other on the back for saying it would be a good speech. Juan Williams (sp?) got quite a bit more airtime than he usually does, which was nice to see considering he is generally left-ish in his views on Brit Hume's show.

CNN wanted to talk about what was "wrong" with the speech and how the dem's should take advantage of it. It seemed like the re-read the dem talking points a half dozen times just in case you missed Gephart's moment in the sun. Then they put Larry King on to lob softballs and I couldn't take it anymore.
posted by revbrian at 8:46 AM on January 30, 2002

If you're like me and think any television news at all is a waste of time, you fold back the A section of your newspaper and turn the radio a bit higher. I care nothing for squabbles among jackals.
posted by Mo Nickels at 8:47 AM on January 30, 2002

Larry King is embarrassing.
posted by jpoulos at 8:48 AM on January 30, 2002

I used to be a CNN junky (i miss you Lynn Russell!).

The 'improvements' made to Headline News are so shallow, and CNN (nice living room set on American Morning - almost as bad as the show's name). So, it's no suprise the Fox is beating them. I think I will join Mo by reading more, and upping the radio.
posted by bluno at 8:57 AM on January 30, 2002

MoNickels, I turn my radio up everyday, but sometimes I wish NPR had a backbone and tried to be a little critical.
posted by panopticon at 8:57 AM on January 30, 2002

panopticon: NPR isn't perfect, but they're better than so much of the news out there. I'm pleased with the coverage I get from them, especially since I can supplement it with local/Internet news.

I'd take All Things Considered over any television news (with the obvious exception of Washington Week in Review, which is just NPR on TV, IMO), and over any newspaper I regularly read.

I don't have cable (I won't pay for media if it's not necessary) so I can only judge free news against free news.
posted by rocketman at 9:08 AM on January 30, 2002

Fox News has always seemed like rubbish, but I grew so fed up with CNN a year ago that I abandoned them as well. Larry King infuriates me, but I since I never watched him to begin with, that wasn't what drove me off the deep end.

I think it was the election, and those endless panel sessions with the local punditry. At some point I realized that all the coverage was obsessed not with what was happening, but rather with how what was happening "positioned" people, etc -- in other words, coverage of the election in terms of its mechanics as a game had surpassed coverage of the election itself.

And why shouldn't it? People seem to love this stuff. Everyone wants to feel like an insider, and the news networks sell the impression that they're giving you a look past whatever political front is being thrown up to fool all those chumps who don't watch CNN/FXN/etc. There's a smug, conspiratorial tone to the whole thing. [Is this just an American obsession? Because it crops up in other places -- for example, the proliferation of DVD film releases with incredible quantities of previously unreleased garbage that make them "must own"-able.]

The net result is political coverage (and, apparently, a populace) that's often more concerned with politcal machinations for their own sake than for the policies that are supposedly being discussed. While this is probably a healthy attitude to keep in mind, in large quantities it seems pretty detrimental to democracy. Keeping people locked into an obsession with politics as a spectacle (with an emphasis on rep-v-dem/right-v-left while de-emphasizing the actual issues of policy ) just strengthens the grip of a two-party system in which power shifts are zero-sum and everyone can afford to be fairly corrupt.

From what revbrian said (I missed both the speech and the coverage last night), it sounds like both CNN and Fox were up to the usual tricks. (Strange that MSNBC apparently wasn't -- I've never really gave them much of a chance.)
posted by tingley at 9:15 AM on January 30, 2002

As a lefty-leaner, Fox News is a hell of a lot more interesting television to watch than the continual bore that is CNN. Personally I like MSNBC because Ashleigh Banfield is so darn cute and Lester Holt makes EverythingBreathtakinglyNewsworthyNoMatterWhat.
posted by owillis at 9:27 AM on January 30, 2002

Just more proof that if you tell people what they want to hear, that they'll lap it up like a kitten drinking milk. I don't watch TV news anymore, but from watching Fox "News Channel" in the past, it wasn't too difficult to figure out that they have no desire to report the facts in a balanced manner. After all, this is the network that sent Geraldo to Afghanistan, wasn't it? CNN has dug it's own grave by trying to imitate them, same thing with MSNBC, which was never interested in covering any real news anyway. I suspect that people who take anything they see on CNN, FOX, CBS, NBC or ABC news seriously, only want to be told that every little thing is going to be alright.

No one with more than two brain cells to rub together watches TV news for anything more than entertainment anyway. O.J. Simpson killed news a long time ago. They certainly don't give us the facts; only propoganda, pundits and endless hype. After all, isn't that why we all pay for a internet connection?

Beware the Infotainment Era!
posted by mark13 at 10:49 AM on January 30, 2002

All I have to say about Fox News is that I hope someone fires John Gibson into the sun eventually.
As far as the state of TV news in general goes: if the right is getting pissed off at the mainstream media for being 'liberal' and the left is getting pissed off at the mainstream media for being 'corporate' (read: conservative)…they've got to be doing something right, because nobody is being fed a stream of exactly what they want to hear.
posted by darukaru at 10:57 AM on January 30, 2002

This is not surprisimg given that CNN has always had a certain generic, mildly southern, bland feel to it. With Fox, even if you don't like their slant, it's more compelling. How did MSNBC do? Overall, I like it best of the three.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:16 AM on January 30, 2002

And those constant scrollers just closed the deal for me. I stick to the web and the newspaper, now.
posted by benh57 at 1:01 PM on January 30, 2002

With Fox, even if you don't like their slant, it's more compelling.

Exactly -- Fox News Channel allows itself to have a "personality." The correspondents report roughly the same facts that other network correspondents do, but the in-house anchors -- Shep Smith, the morning crew, etc -- are free to spin, interpret, pundit-ize, and express an opinion. Quite refreshing, actually.
posted by davidmsc at 1:43 PM on January 30, 2002

Shep Smith, the morning crew, etc -- are free to spin, interpret, pundit-ize, and express an opinion. Quite refreshing, actually.

...and a far cry from responsible journalism, IMO.
posted by jpoulos at 1:53 PM on January 30, 2002

NPR is not your only option for radio news. One of the reasons I have DSL at home is to listen to the BBC over the Internet, as well as Radio France International and a few other stations. Totally worth the money to me (plus I use the high-speed connection for my tech work).

In New York City, we have the advantage that the local NPR affiliate, WNYC, broadcasts the BBC all night. It's suh-weet. I catch an hour or so at least before I go to bed.
posted by Mo Nickels at 1:54 PM on January 30, 2002

I'm much with owillis on this one, left-leaning yet finding Fox News so much more entertaining than other news outlets. While I get most of my news here on MeFi, I watch FOX news because they make a whole circus out of some trivial issue. Plus, it's fun to see them so wrong so often.


O'Reilly Factor (some 2 months ago),

Guest: "I mean, we both know that conservatives are the ones for conservation of the environment."
O'Reilly: "Right, absoultely."
posted by Mach3avelli at 2:44 PM on January 30, 2002

...and a far cry from responsible journalism, IMO
I'm sorry, but responsible journalism is damn boring. There are already biases seeping through, might as well have yelling people and sexy anchors to make it entertaining.

What I love about O'Reilly is that he's only 2 seconds away from hopping all over someone for nothing.

Guest: So, the sky is blue.

O'Reilly: Senator, you say the sky is blue - but isn't that just what the fat cats and elites say when they're overtaxing the average working joe? Look. I'm a blue collar guy (even though I make about $50 mill) and that argument just doesn't wash with the kind of folks that watch this show. Its why this show and Foxnews are so successfull... yada yada yada
posted by owillis at 2:54 PM on January 30, 2002

Owillis - I think you nailed exactly what bothers me about O'Reilly
posted by revbrian at 3:11 PM on January 30, 2002

I used to be hooked on TalkBack Live on CNN. I think it has about the same appeal as a boxing match, or a hanging, or watching a bunch of Christians get eaten by lions. Applying high ideals to any of the networks is rather difficult.
posted by dagnyscott at 3:41 PM on January 30, 2002

The print media is not immune from the vulnerability CNN is experiencing. A dark horse challenger to the Grey Lady.. aka the New York Times is a little webpage. But, funding may change the David vs. Golliath odds.

This story flared once in Metafilter apparently but I couldn't get the search engine to find it.
posted by Real9 at 4:22 PM on January 30, 2002

We have a little engine rumbling here out on the left coast too...
posted by owillis at 4:50 PM on January 30, 2002

just watch c-span... i used to watch headline news too like an addict. cnn has depressed me since bush won the election really...
posted by rhyax at 7:50 PM on January 30, 2002

I like BBC radio, but I'm always a little bit suspicious of it. I know it's "independent" but it's still funded by the state, and if there's one country that pretty much aligns with US foreign policy, it's England...
posted by panopticon at 12:49 AM on January 31, 2002

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