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Cable News: Still Irrelevant

Written by Gary North on December 17, 2013

The numbers are out for cable news. They indicate collapsing ratings.

According to Nielsen data through Dec. 8, Fox News Channel averaged 1.774 million viewers in primetime (down 13% from 2012) and 297,000 adults 25-54 (down 30%). It was followed by MSNBC with 645,000 viewers and 203,000 adults 25-54 (down 29% in both); CNN with 578,000 (down 15%) and 187,000 adults 25-54 (down 16%); and HLN with 403,000 total viewer (up 21%) and 142,000 in the demo (up 27%).

I got this news from the Drudge Report, which has 3 million hits a day. It is run by three guys, and is probably worth $150 million.

Fox News is the biggie, with under 2 million viewers a day. There are about 110 million households in the United States. This means about 200 million adults. So, Fox News gets under 1%, at best.

The idea that cable news affects the outcome of anything except the sale of advertised products is silly. The decision-makers are not watching cable news. They may have junior staff members watch, just for curiosity’s sake. But probably not.

What shapes public opinion? Facebook. Drudge. Network news. Jon Stewart. Rush Limbaugh. Not cable.

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34 thoughts on “Cable News: Still Irrelevant

  1. Texas Chris says:

    I quit FOX News. Couldn't stand O'Reilly and Hannity, or the "contributors" like Rove, Krauthammer, Kristol, and especially the token lefties they put up like Juan and Jehmu.

    I switched to Blaze. Prayer, faith, hope, real news, feel-good stories… Yeah, I like it.

  2. Jefe of Buda says:

    'Chris'…I could not agree more…the dumbing down of America, first by the major media, then by the cable media, and finally by
    the social media (idiots sharing idiosy with fellow idiots) has made us vulnerable to living life under lies. People need to search and read to find the truth…a skill set that can't be developed through texting pictures back annd forth between Smart devices or
    listening to self-aggrandizing pundits.

  3. maybe people cant afford cable anymore since they have to pay sooo much more in medical insurance because of barry and obamacare

  4. Stuart Shepherd says:

    Couldn't agree with you more, Tex. It's annoying. What is Blaze?

  5. Well, I guess I am odd man out because I watch FOX most of the day . If something seems too unbelievable that they are reporting I check it out. Got to say all has been true. I guess I can't watch the networks because they either under report or don't report issues that bad for the Dems. and their leader.

  6. There are alternative (which is actually a misnomer, because they are becoming the mainstream) news websites that get more hits in one month, than most daily newspapers have subscribers, or Anderson Cooper has viewers. The corporate owned media always went along with government's lies about Saddam's nonexistent nuclear arsenal (and a whole lot else going back decades) and now they're paying the price being consigned to irrelevancy. As well they should.

  7. As an old, thus ignorant, guy I hope you or someone else will give the names of these NEWS sites. Thanks. FOX NEWS is unendurable to me.

  8. Econoranter says:

    I tried to listen to Rush Limbaugh today as I have for about 20 years. For the first hour and a half he went on and on, praising or worshiping George W. Bush as he so often does. He sounded like a teenager who has fallen in love for the first time in his life. Does this seem weird to anybody besides me? Bush was hardly a good president; pointless wars, massive spending, substantial increase in the size, cost and power of government to the harm of the freedom and liberty of Americans. Rush said he disagreed with much of what Bush did politically but still seems overwhelmed by some wonderful aspect of President Bush's personality or something that is invisible to me to whom Bush is just another failed RINO mistake. Help! Why does Rush do this? Bush isn't likely to attract any more voters to the GOP and will never run for office again. I got a little queasy as it went on and on.

  9. The Blaze has a 30 day free trial.

  10. Many people are turned off to any news from ANY source, good, bad or indifferent, because they are Subjects rather than Citizens. Subjects take whatever is offered them. Citizens participating in their governance NEED to be informed.

  11. Patriot-Research says:

    Hagmann & Hagmann Report, InfoWars (Alex Jones), Drudge Report, have more listeners than nearly all the rest put together. InfoWars has 10 Million listeners a day and Hagmann & hagmann Report has around 2 to 3 Million listeners a day and they have listeners world-wide. Way more than the Lame stream media or cable news channels put together!

  12. So what is watchership of "Network News"? It's scary to think that a majority of Americans can watch that stilted messaging and be unaware that it's one-sided and biased. …way more one-sided and biased than FNC is.

    The sad reality is that what most people watch is their wallet. Whether what's in it is being taken, or what they have been given to put in it has been being increased at a slower rate.

    Of course, that isn't working out for the One at the moment. Lies catch up with you.

  13. Lighteredknot says:

    FNC has people who tell the news and there is talk and opinion as e.g.; O'Reilly and Hannity. If usually telling the truth is one-sided and biased then one could say FNC is that but I have watched and it seems to be only source of the truth. What news source other than FNC was revealing the Truth other than FNC on Fast and furious, Benghazi, the obscene and egregious IRS assault on Tax Exempt requests being audited by IRS of Conservative organizations??? I could list a litany of lies made by the incompetent pseudo savant genius obuma that the main stream media absolutely ignore and he just saunters on down the road with immunity. America is fiscally and morally bankrupt and one best pay close attention as hard austerity mandates are forth coming in the near future. That will mean rioting in the streets .

  14. I often watch Fox and Shepard Smith to find out what CBS distorted or omitted. And like Jo Watts, I check anything sounding suspicious. And I get internet items all day long from a variety of sources.

  15. When Rush was charged with Oxycontin possession, Bush and Gov.Jeb helped keep him out of the klink.

  16. Cliffystones says:

    The timing of this article couldn't be better. I've given up on most of Fox News as well. But a couple on night ago I turned on O'Reilly for kicks and giggles. He're O and carl Rove discussing what Boner had to say about the "hard right" losing it's credebility. The whole dialog was nuanced like two elder, wiser men sitting on high. They both talked as if Boner's position was completely rational and reasonable and woe be to us Tea Party types for not :just getting along" lets we look like unreasonable fools and are destined for the ash heap of politics. I wanted to either through a brick at the TV or puke!

  17. Cliffystones says:

    Forgot to add, it seems like O was either bought off or threatened. He used to be a lot tougher say 10 years ago.

  18. Actually, you're on one of them now. Look for aggregators that provide links to multiple websites that give alternative views to the warm, fuzzy lies you get from the corporate owned media.

  19. Ah, Rush, that eloquent mouthpiece of the RNC.

  20. Here's what I wrote O'Reilly….he really chaps me

    Cable News: Still Irrelevant
    The numbers are out for cable news. They indicate collapsing ratings. According to Nielsen data through Dec. 8, Fox News Channel averaged 1.774 million viewers in primetime (down 13% from 2012) and 297,000 adults 25-54 (down 30%). It was followed by MSNBC with 645,000 viewers and 203,000 adults 25-54 (down 29% in both); CNN with […] READ MORE

  21. TIP OF THE DAY…your war on reality

    The point to which you strain credibility is starting to show in your ratings. The false info you purvey is starting to catch up with you…..especially now that people are seeing your political bias leaning towards the biggest RINOs in the republican party. Take for example your shilling for Romney and your disdain for Ron Paul during the last election….it was sickening. You claim to be a Christian but where was your disdain when the republicans booed the GOLDEN RULE during the last primary debates?

    Clearly you don't have your hand on the pulse of the populace & your opinions have misled a lot of people who would have been better off if you had kept them to yourself. You have lost a LOT of viewers shilling for the disastrous policies of the establishment republicans. Eg: Lauding Ryan's budget and supporting the troops at the same time is pretty disingenuous— even for you.

    Chris Christie ???….don't bother trying to sell that slab of progressive baloney anymore.

  22. cont. to O'Reilly:

    Your show is clearly UNCONSTITUTIONAL in theme. That's not washing anymore because people are now seeing the direct affects in their loss of liberty and financial security. Only morons buy that anymore.

    Being the best of the worst isn't worth bragging about. TV is going the way of the dinosaur. Try covering some important topics that we care about like the ongoing Fukishima disaster, Rx drugs psychosis in mass shooters, the Federal Reserve, our disastrous foreign policy, Israel's manipulation of our government, lack of wall street prosecutions, or Obama's ineligibility. So many things are missing from your commentary, and when they are mentioned, you are often selling snake oil.

  23. Not really true….just half truths

  24. Maybe he gets a thrill up his leg

    Bush was a disaster

  25. Just because FOX is "better than the worst" that doesn't make them good

    Try getting your news from the internet and cross reference to verify….it's a lot safer.

    FOX news "opinions" have led us down the path to destruction

  26. Yep….you don't know whether to laugh or cry…..sadly there are still millions of dummies who can't see the inconsistancies.

  27. Google the lawsuit between him and Andrea Makris and you will see he is easily black mailed.

  28. Alright Already says:

    I think the same as Rush. Even though Bush didn’t do everything perfect, you at least knew he was not trying to outright destroy the country like Obummer. He made some mistakes but I think he did what he could with the dems in congress. The dems is what I think ruined his presidency. GW I believe is a good man and when I see him now, after Obummer’s last five years, I miss him.

  29. To bring back a time-worn phrase, "it's the economy, stupid!" Most households have had to make deep spending cuts and cable is frankly a luxury. The most trusted news outlet is Fox; with broadcast channels in every major city and market, those who have had to cancel their cable are still tuning into Fox channels for news. Fox cable viewership is down but not because viewers do not trust Fox, it is because they can't afford cable anymore. Neilsen really should study the ratings for broadcast news; likely Fox broadcast viewers far outnumber CBS, NBC, and ABC.

  30. Lol Sure some people are politics weary. The majority of the loss is simply due to the election cycle. It will rise again slightlyin 2014 and continue to another high in 2016. 2017 will begin a new slide.

  31. Me too Jo – I know if I watch Fox I get both sides of the issues and no bias

  32. the reason viewing is down because people have to cancel because of the high rates , and they have to spend a lot more for their obamacare

  33. Sanford L korschun says:

    It takes all kinds. The danger lies in when we become arrogant and self-centered, then, we become our own enemy, a point we are fast approaching.