People Are Already Nostalgic About the GOP Primary of 2011

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Fox News felt a 17 percent drop in viewers this month compared to March 2011 -- guess that means everyone hates Republicans, right? CNN fared much worse, losing 50 percent of its viewers compared to a year ago. "Remember when CNN decided to sell itself out, and climb in bed with the Tea Party?" Jason Easley writes at Politics USA. "I guess maybe putting all of their eggs in the 2012 Republican basket wasn’t such a hot idea." He blames Fox's decline on having "only the Republican primary to cover." Media Matters' Eric Boehlert tweets, "astonishing: Fox News ratings down double digits vs. 2011, even tho it's sponsoring a GOP primary this year... wasn't 2012 election year supposed to IMPROVE Fox's ratings?" But it's more likely that viewers aren't turned off by Republicans, but by these Republicans. After all, Fox is still the No. 1 cable news network. But the primary has gotten much more boring.

Think about the glorious days for political news coverage in March of 2011: Wisconsin's state legislature was melting down over a law to curb union power, and 100,000 people protested in Madison. John Ensign quit the Senate over a sex scandal. There was the Arab Spring. Most important, Sarah Palin toured India and Israel -- excitement over her presidential run heated up. (She had to visit foreign countries to look presidential. Or that's what we thought. Guess she was just going on vacation?) A year ago, speculation intensified that Michele Bachmann was going to run for president, too. Back then, the congresswoman was considered Imitation Palin -- lots of fodder for stories imagining a juicy catfight. Back then, it was like the early days of a fling -- the presidential race was exciting and new. 

And now look. What was thrilling has become tedious. Boring old Mitt Romney is probably going to win. Palin and Bachmann are both out of the race, so are other fun candidates like Herman Cain, Rick Perry. Newt Gingrich's campaign is a ghost of his its former self. Why would voters tune in to watch this dull show, when they can play outside in the unseasonably warm weather? 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.