Fox News Keeps Growing

 

Americans are spending more time watching cable news. According to a new study by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, it’s up in all age categories. But there’s a difference:

Most of those who regularly watch O’Reilly (63%) and Hannity (65%) are 50 or older; 44% of the public is 50 or older. By contrast, the Daily Show and Colbert Report have the youngest audiences of any outlet included in the survey. Large majorities of those who say they regularly watch the Colbert Report (80%) and the Daily Show (74%) are younger than 50; 55% of public is 18 to 49.

On the other hand, Fox News just keeps growing. More than ever among Republicans and “independents”:

The left thinks people are getting more conservative because of Fox News. They’ blame it for everything. But I think it’s the other way around. I think people are more comfortable being conservative — and a lot more comfortable being vocal about it — because of Fox News.

I don’t think Fox News has created an audience. I think they’ve uncovered one.

There are 14 comments.

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive
    @HumzaAhmad
    Conor Friedersdorf: Personally, I like my right-of-center media accurate and intellectually honest, so I ignore Fox News — I ignore all cable news, FWIW — and I read National Review, The Claremont Review of Books, City Journal, the WSJ editorial page, and other conservative journalism of much higher quality than anything you’ll find on tv. · Sep 14 at 12:33am

    It’s true, Mr. Friedersdorf, TV news is a total waste of time if your goal is to to be informed in an intellectually stimulating way. I watch it only occasionally and to get an idea of the effect it might have as a politically salient institution in the US. But to actually get my news, learn from it and be better off as an informed citizen from it, there is absolutely no replacement for high-quality print news in any of its forms.

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    @OttomanUmpire

    Stripping away the opinion shows (mainly O’Reilly, Hannity, and Beck) Fox’s straight news seems more objectively neutral than that of NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and certainly MSNBC. And I don’t think they let the opinion side bleed into the news side very often, as MSNBC did when they had Keith Olbermann cover the Republican Convention in 2008.

    Then there’s Red Eye. Hilarious stuff.

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    @EJHill

    Charles Krauthammer had the best line, “Roger Ailes simply identified a niche market – about half of the country.”

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  4. Profile Photo Member
    @
    Conor Friedersdorf:

    Personally, I like my right-of-center media accurate and intellectually honest, so I ignore Fox News — I ignore all cable news, FWIW — and I read National Review, The Claremont Review of Books, City Journal, the WSJ editorial page, and other conservative journalism of much higher quality than anything you’ll find on tv. If every conservative writer who holds himself to higher standards than Fox News would stop being so enamored with having a tv station “on our side” maybe they’d have to up their game. · Sep 14 at 12:33am

    Well, there’s high kultcha and low kultcha.

    Most of us here are unlikely ever to hear anything on Fox we don’t already know, so we might only watch it for breaking events. Or not at all.

    But consider: before Fox your 70-year-old aunt in Buffalo had only Peter Jennings or Newsweek to “inform” her.

    At least Fox offers an alternative, no matter how unpalatable it might be to those of us who prefer something more edifying than two guests shouting at each other past an “on-the-one-hand and on-the-other-hand” host.

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    @

    I remember about 20 years ago, strolling through Manhattan with a conservative friend.

    We were talking about media bias and I said, “There’s a huge market opportunity for some rich guy to start a conservative network.”

    But neither of us expected that to happen.

    And then it did.

    God bless Rupert Murdoch. His influence on the national dialogue has been incalculable. And he’s made a handsome profit in the process.

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    @jameslileks

    I still remember the first time I stumbled across Fox news – I went into a fugue state, stood stock-still, wet myself, then lost 48 hours, after which I found myself on the lawn burning back issues of the New Republic. Even the ones in which I appeared. I don’t know what kind of mind-control beams those guys use, but they are good.

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  7. Profile Photo Member
    @

    Am I the only one who finds Colbert – politics aside – extremely lame and un-funny?

    When he had Stewart’s writers behind him, he was terrific. Now? Eh!

    • #7
  8. Profile Photo Member
    @
    James Lileks: I still remember the first time I stumbled across Fox news – I went into a fugue state, stood stock-still, wet myself, then lost 48 hours, after which I found myself on the lawn burning back issues of the New Republic. Even the ones in which I appeared. I don’t know what kind of mind-control beams those guys use, but they are good. · Sep 13 at 11:01pm

    It’s the blondes, James.

    Which reminds me – whatever happened to Laurie Dhue?

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    @

    It’s funny Rob, those lines look like they could also be tracking voter turnout as well.

    But is it just me or does it really seem as though the MSM is losing all pretense of objectivity as the mid-term elections approach. The wholesale acceptance of the president’s daily talking points, the endless discussion of what the Democrats need to do next, the incredibly hostile reception to d’Souza’s article all seem even more in-the-tank than usual.

    • #9
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    @EdDriscoll

    As the old joke goes, Rupert Murdoch somehow stumbled onto a tiny untapped niche market — half the country. But I think Jonah had the best take on Fox back in 2004, when the left cranked the BDS up to a fever pitch for the election year, it’s not so much they lean to the right, as they’re populist:

    “This is an important distinction. From the beginning, Fox anchors weren’t ashamed to wear American flags on their lapels. They aren’t afraid to refer to American troops as ‘our brave fighting men and women’ or some such. They aren’t terrified that they will lose their objectivity merit badges if they sound like they hope America wins.”

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    @
    Trace Urdan:

    But is it just me or does it really seem as though the MSM is losing all pretense of objectivity as the mid-term elections approach. The wholesale acceptance of the president’s daily talking points, the endless discussion of what the Democrats need to do next, the incredibly hostile reception to d’Souza’s article all seem even more in-the-tank than usual. · Sep 13 at 11:17pm

    I suspect that Fox, talk radio and conservative blogs have emboldened the MSM to throw off the mask of “objectivity” and engage in polemic combat.

    This is healthy: in most other countries, one knows the political orientation of whatever media outlet one views.

    There is much misunderstanding of journalistic “objectivity” in the US. It did not originate as some high principle: it began in the 1800’s, when newspaper publishers found themselves losing advertisers who objected to the political views in their papers. They then passed down an edict that polemics were to be banned from the news columns.

    As journalism came more and more to be dominated by Leftists at the reporter and editor level, this “tradition” of objectivity became convenient camouflage.

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  12. Profile Photo Contributor
    @EdDriscoll

    Kenneth,

    From what I’ve read, and from people I’ve interviewed (including for this article on the birth of the Blogosphere, for which I interviewed the esteemed Mr. Lileks, Glenn Reynolds, and other new media stars), I thought the whole fad for objectivity began when the first nationwide radio networks were formed in the 1920s, and then it carried over into TV. But as late as the mid-1960s, you still had city newspapers with both Republican and Democratic slants, and Time magazine was fairly conservative, until Henry Luce gave up the ghost.

    In that sense, Fox and the Blogosphere simply returned America back to the model of openly partisan news. Though, when I was at Pepperdine this spring for a conference on media bias, one of the other members of the panel said that he sort of wished Fox News had never been created, because it allowed all of the other TV networks to throw off their masks and lean much further to the left. Meanwhile, conservatives were all consigned to channel #360 on your DirecTV dial. And while that’s happened, I can’t fault Murdoch for finding a enormous market niche and filling it.

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  13. Profile Photo Contributor
    @EdDriscoll
    Trace Urdan: But is it just me or does it really seem as though the MSM is losing all pretense of objectivity as the mid-term elections approach. The wholesale acceptance of the president’s daily talking points, the endless discussion of what the Democrats need to do next, the incredibly hostile reception to d’Souza’s article all seem even more in-the-tank than usual. · Sep 13 at 11:17pm

    As the JournoList scandal highlights, the MSM went all in and then some for Obama in 2008. (They actually went all in for Kerry in 2004; but at least this time around, they had an infinitely more charismatic candidate whose water they could carry.)

    Why would they change now?

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    @

    The MSM is often invoked, and I’m guilty of using the locution too, but it really is misleading terminology. Good Morning America, The Wall Street Journal, and All Things Considered — to pick three examples — aren’t the same. Fox News and MSNBC have a lot more in common with one another than either does with The New Yorker, or This American Life, or The Atlantic.

    Personally, I like my right-of-center media accurate and intellectually honest, so I ignore Fox News — I ignore all cable news, FWIW — and I read National Review, The Claremont Review of Books, City Journal, the WSJ editorial page, and other conservative journalism of much higher quality than anything you’ll find on tv. If every conservative writer who holds himself to higher standards than Fox News would stop being so enamored with having a tv station “on our side” maybe they’d have to up their game.

    • #14

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