Sea change in American media preferences

While Americans continue to put global warming aka climate change at the bottom of the list of worries, it seems the electronic media outlets that most often push alarming climate stories are losing favor. This interesting juxtaposition was from my Shoptalk TVSpy business newsletter today:

CNN Fails to Stop Fall in Ratings – from The New York Times

CNN Building

CNN continued what has become a precipitous decline in ratings for its prime-time programs in the first quarter of 2010, with its main hosts losing almost half their viewers in a year.

The trend in news ratings for the first three months of this year is all up for one network, the Fox News Channel, which enjoyed its best quarter ever in ratings, and down for both MSNBC and CNN.

CNN had a slightly worse quarter in the fourth quarter of 2009, but the last three months have included compelling news events, like the earthquake in Haiti and the battle over health care, and CNN, which emphasizes its hard news coverage, was apparently unable to benefit. More…

Fox News Has Best Quarter In Network Historyfrom Mediaite

Bret Baier Obama Interview

Fox News had their best year of all time in 2009. Now that we’ve finished the first quarter of 2010, it’s clear FNC is showing no signs of letting up –they just finished their best quarter ever, in total day total viewers.

It was also the second highest rated quarter ever in prime time total viewers.

While Fox News continues to see record ratings, their cable news competitors are dropping off even more year-to-year. In the A25-54 demographic during prime time, FNC was up 16%, while CNN dropped 42%, MSNBC was down 22% and HLN was down 40%. More…


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Henry chance

Joe romm’s book ranks a robust
Sales Rank: #749,920 in Books
Sarah Palin sold over a million books before they released the first one.
There are many topics CNN ignores. They twist some topics and people push back.


I have been following this scoreboard for quite a while. Some weeks Fox has more viewers than all the others combined. Fox is growing, they others are shedding viewers (and influence).
They are preaching to a smaller and smaller choir.


Sea change? It must be that pesky Atlantic conveyor belt after all. ;->


Here is a weekday example that shows what I mentioned above:
Total day: FNC: 419 | CNN: 153 | MSNBC: 138 | HLN: 153
Prime: FNC: 597 | CNN: 204 | MSNBC: 206 | HLN: 146
Total Viewers: (L +SD)
Total day: FNC: 1465 | CNN: 479 | MSNBC: 468 | HLN: 346
Prime: FNC: 2200 | CNN: 593 | MSNBC: 852 | HLN: 491
Fox is outdrawing CNN, MSNBC, and Headline News combined.

Henry chance

Resident Obama said to not watch Fox. That was a boost also. I think people have built in baloney detectors and catch on when a media style has an agenda.
Smithsonian, Nature, National Geographic NPR all add a tone of preaching and sad alarmism to simple stories.
I am realist. I sure miss the arctiic snipe. Snipe wings with buffalo xtra hot dipping sauce. Those were the days. March madness will nevah be the same.

John Galt

I don’t see a direct cause and effect here, except to say those sources that are falling out of favor lean left on virtually every issue. Nothing specific to global warming involved.
A person’s concern for the environment is strongly correlated to their sense of economic well-being. (Let’s leave out college students and others who do not work for a living.) When people feel prosperous, they have more money to spending on non-essentials. When times are tough, they become more concerned about the short-term.
Conclusion: Wealth and prosperity are the answer to our problems and not the cause of them!

Layne Blanchard

Environmentalism is clearly now a tool of oppression. The targets: Capitalism, America, Industrialization, humanity. Fox is not shy about offending others.
Our country is in the most terrible state of peril. It is encouraging that Americans are looking to our heritage for answers. For revealing this, and the clear, emphatic comparisons between the principles of freedom and statist tyranny, there is non like Glenn Beck. The intensity of Fox programming has put many off. It is important to look past this to the message. Once understanding the message, the reason for the passion is clear. God Bless Glenn Beck.


“…you decide.” Obviously people like to make decisions themselves rather than be fed what the media controllers wish to broadcast.


To my mind, this is a reaction to shameless way that the typical media, including CNN, are uncritical shills for various causes, including the global warming.


Either CNN and MSNBC are going down, or they are heavily subsidized by advertising that wants the global warming message pounded.
If it’s the latter, the money that is being spent is going down with the ratings.


CNN is painful to watch. There silly, fact-less stories are nothing but smears.


4 Networks with 8 business/news channels all carry the same center-left slant.
1 Network with 2 business/news channels carries a right of center slant.
The lone network pulls in more than 50% market share for several years, trending upward, yet none of the four others are willing to adjust.
They won’t even Colbert themselves and pretend to come from a different direction.


I’ve heard NPR hasn’t covered a single news story about Climategate. They obfuscate and denigrate the same as CNN and MSNBC, so it isn’t surprising nobody listens to them anymore. People don’t trust a partial (as in only part or none of the story) news source so they tune out. Simple as that.

P Gosselin

FOX would be in serious trouble if the other networks ever wised up and shifted their focus to reporting news, and away from activism and elitism.

Next we will figure out that according ot our own government’s EIA, the USA has the largest fossil fuel reserves of any country.
And it’s quite easy to convert coal to liquid fuels. Just google up “Fischer-Tropsch” or ask the Crow Indians, who are using their reservation to get out of EPA regs and build a huge coal to diesel plant right now. Wanna know a secret, the NAZIs used this technology in WWII to supply their war machine.

Gary Pearse

An interesting media experiment would be for CNN to do a documentary in several episodes on prime time on the Rise and Fall of AGW (and its morphing GW-AGW-CAGW-CC- Cooling hiatus in CAGW) with arctic ice stuff, glaciers, pachauri, Nobel Prizes handed out, etc. and see what happens to their ratings.


I think this column and video by conservative republican Cal Thomas and liberal democrat Bob Beckel offers good insight regarding Fox and the other networks:

Rick K

If “CNN” meant “Climategate News Network” maybe they’d pick up some viewers… but then they’d have to change their agenda…

John Whitman

In order to evaluate why CNN has declining financials one of the factors I would require is observation of actual CNN news. Since I have no intention to watch CNN, I won’t be doing an evaluation.
Why don’t I watch CNN? A long time ago I decided they did not bring objectivity to the news.


My better half caught her parents watching FoxNews last week. Six months ago, CNN was all they watched & Fox was just a bunch of “liars.”
Only a matter of time before they’ll admit they agree with me about global warming.


Don’t think this set of facts has much to do with the climate change nonsense. Simply put, if 40% of American adults self-identify as conservatives and only 20% as liberals, and the liberal media has many outlets but the conservative only one, what would you expect? This is a “dog bites man” story… of interest, but unsurprising.

David Davidovics

Seems to me CNN is having similar problems as canada’s CBC. Although in the case of us folks here in canada, we still have to pay for that useless content weather we watch or agree with it or not. I love how people mock and attack fox news in a time that they are actually doing so well. I think I smell fear.
CBC still has yet to publish any official coverage of climate gate or ask climate skeptics for comment. Aside from Rex Murphy’s commentary that you carried a little while ago, they remain silent on that front.
Meanwhile David Suzuki continues to shed a tear every time some snow melts away. His influence alone probably forbids any objective climate coverage.

G.L. Alston

Fox does well in capturing the anger of populist notions, as per this short essay by Oson Scott Card —
It doesn’t indicate that Fox is wise or important. I’d be careful with the claim that their stand on climate change has anything to do with it; it seems that most of the Fox ratings surge is the feeding of those who are prone to tea party sympathies.
The obvious problem here is that being anti-AGW can backfire. There’s already a great deal equating the “it’s all a hoax” crowd with the same group who protests evolution. (Where do you think they learned to not debate from? Evolutionary biologists being assailed by uneducated imbeciles politically elected to school boards, that’s where.)

Stephen Singer

Quote from the NYT story on CNN.
“CNN executives have steadfastly said that they will not change their approach to prime-time programs, which are led by hosts not aligned with any partisan point of view. ”
Oh Really!!
Good bye to CNN the dinosaur of cable news. That’s what happens when you can’t or won’t adapt to changing times.

Bud the Chud

If I am not mistaken, Cartoon network gets higher ratings than CNN and MSNBC combined (there may be another news network I am leaving out).

wayne ward

The problem with CNN is right in that article where it says that “CNN executives have steadfastly said that they will not change their approach to prime-time programs, which are led by hosts not aligned with any partisan point of view. “… that is absurdly false and viewers know it. Nobody wants to watch a media that openly lies to it’s viewers constantly. It’s the same problem AGW is now facing. Climategate helped the world see what most of us knew or suspected. The average person isn’t going to trust any story about AGW that defends the scientists and science concerned. Newspapers, other liberal media, climate science, they just don’t get it. They continue to fail by trying the same templates that used to work before the ‘new media”/internet. Thank goodness for the “new media.”

Two things, amongst many I guess, I don’t understand:
1. Why comment an ad? chances are visitors will see different ads.
2. Does the number in “Sales Rank” mean the actual number of books sold to actual people, or simply the rank at which one’s sales’re at? To me the sales rank means the latter, but if it means the former in your version are we then talking US, or the whole planet, because I know of a person who beats both Romm and Palin in actual sold units in one country alone, but of course ’twas about loosing weight so it might not count what with all the energy spent.


As you sow so shall you reap
A big Thank You goes to Kusi, Fox news, PJTV – and of course Wuwt and all the other bloggers and websites that have kept us all informed and confronted and debunked the strange Cargo Cult Science of IPCC
Hurray for you all! – the rest of the “media” can go to hell for all I care…


I agree with David, the CBC is the worst place to watch news. I actually prefer to call it the LBC, “Liberal Broadcasting Corporation” Just last week I seen part of their latest “End of Days” scenario. (So full of dribble I had to turn it off) It seems 2025 is the new date for the end of the world.

Mark Wagner

you could argue that if the other networks are all showing the same slant, that their viewership is divided among them. Thus none will survive except the last when it will be one-on-one with Fox at something approaching 50/50 market share.
you could also argue that we live in a right-center nation and politicians and old media just don’t want to accept it. After coming out of the gate to the left and getting smacked, Clinton accepted it, and he was (and still is) a polpular president.
I don’t think you can argue that this is any way directly related to gorebull warmering. people of a certain political slant tend to believe one way or the other and watch news programming that reflects this bias.

Mac The Knife

In a world seeking verifiable facts and honest exchange of ideas and information, Fair and Balanced seems to be the increasingly prefered choice! Good On Ya, Fox!! And Good On Ya, Anthony and WUWT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Invictus Maneo!


Then FNC should be nationalized? ☺


The ratings results are not a surprise. Americans believe in freedom of choice and can not stand to feel as if they are being manipulated.
CNN et al, are have lost credibility with so many viewers because it appears that they are making the news, not reporting it. Now really, who can stand to listening to individuals who leave no choice to the listener, but instead tell them how to think.
What business can win when it approaches its customers in a condescending manner?
What FOX has capitalized on is this message: you are being manipulated by a media with an agenda.

Antonio San

CNN’s rating follows the main and only issue they focus on Obama’s.

Henry chance

Of course, this doesn’t solve problems with NASA’s data, as the newest paper admits: “Much higher resolution would be needed to check for local problems with the placement of thermometers relative to possible building obstructions,” a problem repeatedly underscored by meteorologist Anthony Watts on his Web site. Last month, Watts told that “90 percent of them don’t meet [the government’s] old, simple rule called the ‘100-foot rule’ for keeping thermometers 100 feet or more from biasing influence. Ninety percent of them failed that, and we’ve got documentation.”
Anthony is on the first page with a picture covering the story as I type this.
James Hansen is not tending to business he is paid to take care of.
“NASA’s temperature records are in even worse shape than the besmirched Climate-gate data.”
Why won’t somebody fire Hansen? He is not doing his job.

Robert A

Gone are those heady days of yore, when CNN could bring us “exclusives” from Baghdad Bob, subject of course to the propaganda filter as willed by Saddam.
Let it not be said that the “unfair and unbalanced” approach has not been tried.
But lefty media is hard to kill, like NPR and the NYT, and it is only a matter of time before cries for the return of the “fairness” doctrine grow stronger.
When they run out of Mexican oligarchs, a government subsidy in one form or another, lurks.

James F. Evans

The death of a former media giant happening before our very eyes.
The powers that be at CNN and other media outlets should sit up and take notice…
Apparently, the New York Times has at least noticed…the big question, now, is will they do anything about their own decline?

R. de Haan

As CNN and the NYT have become Cathedrals of Green beliefs and Green thinking.
It simply became too much to bare for their audiences and readers.
People know when their mind is screwed with and they respond by switching to another channel or cancel their subscription.
We see this process taking place all over the world.

I haven’t bothered to do the research but I suspect that CNN’s ratings decreasing while FOX News’ ratings increasing is more due to the rants against the status quo. When Bush and Republicans had the White House, liberals flocked to CNN to get their daily bashing; I imagine now conservatives get off watching FOX bash Obama and Dems in power. To cast CNN in their liberal bias, and rightly so, but at the same time hold up FOX News as some oracle of unbiased news, well…you’re just fooling yourself. Both sides, politically and newswise, play largely by the same rules – twisting and spinning to their advantage. Politics now is now more than ever a football game, neither side really caring what’s best for Americans but rather just wanting to WIN.
That’s why I latched onto the skeptics’ arguement against AGW – it was largely free of political bent. The information coming forth was simply borne out of inquiring minds and painstaking review of so-called facts and in the process of gathering data that generated the facts. The excitement for me in the arguement against AGW is the relatively politically free exchange of ideas. Yes, it appears the AGW movement has worked in-step with liberal political thought, but I don’t think it wise to hold up people like Palin and organizations like FOX News as beacons for scientific and political truth. They are the mirror images of Gore and the IPCC as far as credibility goes. Who or what is the indicator for truth, or at least that something closest to truth? Right now, I don’t know but it’s somewhere in the middle and you can only find it by examing both sides and being open to the exchange of ideas and inquiry – exactly what we wish of the AGW crowd.


Henry chance (10:57:07) :
Obama’s ‘Do not watch Fox’ gaffe made me start reading and watching Fox News.

@John Galt,
You hit the nail on the head. If you care about the environment, you want as much growth as possible. The richer a country is, the cleaner and healthier it is and the more folks care about the environment and the more they are willing to do for it.
This is well established in the economic literature.


We in NZ have a better explanation for such things, Ordinary peoples Bull-Shit detectors are being activated.


Fox News currently is leading with a global warming story featuring the same map we saw on WUWT a few days ago (somebody at Fox may be monitoring this site!) The caption under the map reads:
“Maps from NASA’s GISS reveal temperatures where no data exist, thanks to mathematical extrapolation of data.”
You’d never see a story like that on channels rooting for Obama.


Speaking of FoxNews: .
A little late in airing this, but they got NASA admitting their data sucks.

CNN et al will soon be screaming for the Fairness Doctrine


WOW!!! SUPERB!! Beautiful!!! One of the most BEAUTIFUL news that I have seen in my whole life!!! For milleniums Big Academia, Big Media and Big Bureaucracy have fed us one lie after another, one falsehood after another, one fallacy after another. These lies usually are used to allege for more oppresive power for politicians and bureaucrats; not only having political opressive power is the oldest passion but achieving exorbitant wealth trough political opressive power is the oldest way to riches, so it is not surprising that Big Media, Big Academia and Big Bureaucracy are permanently pushing for increasing the politicians and bureaucrats oppresive power.
But sites like (WUWT) are writing the book on how to defeat those liars!!!! A small site like WUWT has around 100.000 views per day, compare that to Larry King 770.000 views that NYT alleges!!! WUWT is already HUGE!!!
People are FED UP about being told that we must be bureaucrats and politicians slaves and that their power should be increased and that we will reach paradise if we give them total control and power over our lives, but internet sites like WUWT are demasking with integrity, with honesty, the lies, the fallacies, the falsehoods of Big Media, Big Academia and Big Bureaucracy. People cannot de hoaxed anymore thanks to wonderful marvelous sites like WUWT. WUWT is the David that ALREADY defeated the GOLIATH!!!
Broadcasters that do not push so much the increasing opressive power agenda -like FoxNews- are going up up up. And the main outlets promoting opressive power like CNN, NYT and others are going down down!!! WONDERFUL!!!!.
So beautiful! Keep your SUPERB work at WUWT!!! You are making history! Probably, more than any other entity, you are showing how to defeat megalomaniacal bureaucracies like United Nations! You already defeated United Nations, one of the most dangerous bureaucracies that ever existed since they seek WORLDWIDE oppresive power, a power that you cannot escape because it would be WORLDWIDE and if achieved and there would be no country left to flee to!


I’m not too surprised that this has happened in the US. Here in England. the BBC News is having the same problem of bias, as is much of the rest of the MSM.
People are starting to realise that these news outlets are just the mouth-piece of the controlling elite and their gang of self effacing, hand-picked, money grabbing politicians. The Internet gives access to the facts about many issues should you wish to take the time to find out what’s really going on in the world, and the lies dished up by most of the MSM are blatant and biased.
I don’t think they will survive in the long-term as better information is available, often real-time, on the web.


Fox has done a much better job of acquiring talent. The best new moderator on TV, bar none, is Chris Wallace. Look at MSNBC’s lineup in Prime Time. The dregs.


All the media outlets are in the same wink-wink-nod-nod club– you say this and then we will say that and the viewers will think we are actually giving them two different stories –ha-ha to those gullibles that can’t get out of our media created reality. FOX getting it right on global warming is just part of the script.
The reason many honest liberal people are fed up with Obama is he is not acting like what they perceive to be liberal rather he is acting like a conservative.
“In health care, as in war and peace, as in the environment and education, as in the rights of women and immigrants, the First Black President’s historic role is clear. His job is to smile and speechify and neutralize the left on every front, while taking the country further to the right than his white Republican predecessor would ever have been able.” (Dixon, op. cit.)
There is no competition between any TV media sources; they just want you to think so. Just like the political parties do. Think out of their box. (Be not left or right wing – be truth wing as one internet commentator put it!)