Why Is Fox News Trouncing CNN?

Beck and O'Reilly are sitting pretty while Andersoon Cooper bleeds viewers

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CNN just can't stop hemorrhaging viewers. In the last quarter its main hosts, Larry King and Anderson Cooper, lost almost half their viewers. Ratings dropped 43 and 42 percent respectively. Meanwhile, the Fox News Channel enjoyed its best quarter ever, bolstered by strong numbers from hosts Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck. Media observers and pundits dig into the statistics for explanations. One thing's clear: CNN doesn't look set to recover anytime soon.

  • Hot-Button Issues Trump Real Reporting, reasons Michael Calderone at Politico: "For major news events this year, such as the earthquakes in Haiti or Chile, CNN has excelled in pulling its vast international resources to cover the story from a variety of angles. Both Fox and MSNBC, by comparison, have focused more on hot-button political issues and debates, a strategy that seems to be working better in pulling prime time viewers."
  • Many Explanations, One Conclusion  Johanna Neuman at The Los Angeles Times writes: "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... Republicans are now the Party of Opposition. And their network of choice, Fox News, is now king."
  • CNN Alienates Conservatives, writes right-winger Ed Morrissey at Hot Air: "When conservative points of view are expressed by guests, the CNN hosts display a lot more skepticism for them than with the expressions of liberal points of view. (Full disclosure: I’ve been on with both Campbell and Rick and they’ve treated me fairly.) It’s not hostility, like one sees on MSNBC, but if CNN thinks that equates to not having a partisan point of view, then small wonder they haven’t been able to stanch the bleeding."

  • Fox Ratings Will Only Increase, writes Steve Krakauer at Mediaite: "With health care passing, there’s no reason to doubt the second quarter of 2010 will be any different. With midterm elections just around the corner, Fox News could conceivably be headed for another year of stronger ratings than the one before. Whether you’re a fan of the ‘fair and balanced’ or not, it’s an amazing feat."
  • This Will Ultimately Help the WSJ, writes Thomas Lifson at The American Thinker: "FNC's lush profits (reportedly well into the hundreds of millions of dollars a year) are helping finance the expansion of the Wall Street Journal into serious competition with the NYT as a general interest national daily.  Rupert Murdoch has openly spoken of his intent to go after the luxury goods advertisers which provide a large share to the Times' advertising revenue, while attracting subscribers with enhanced general interest content and special price offers to both advertisers and readers."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.