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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Continued Decline of Network News (We Love It)


Over the past 20 years, with the decline of the mainstream media and the rise of internet use and talk radio, the American people have gained many opportunities to get at the truth. No longer are Cronkite’s lies about the Tet offensive the only report we hear. No longer can Dan Rather use forged documents to smear an American president and go unchallenged, nor, without correction, can the New York Times, Reuters and the Associated Press publish doctored photographs and articles about Iraqi mass atrocities that never happened.

It is baffling to me that for-profit organizations, watching their liberal agendas drive away their audience, do not make adjustments and strive for more balance and truth in their reporting and their opinion pieces. The only network I see that is, in a very small way to be sure, making occasional efforts towards fairness is the domestic version of CNN – responding, I would guess, to the huge losses of its audience to Fox News.

StateoftheNewsMedia.com (Excerpt)

“The evening network news programs continued their steady but bumpy decline.
Between November 2004 and November 2005, ratings for the nightly news fell 6% and share fell 3%. That is an acceleration of the pace of decline in recent years. It translates into overall viewership on the three commercial nightly newscasts of 27 million viewers, or a decline of some 1.8 million viewers from November 2004. From the start of CNN in 1980, nightly news viewership for the Big Three networks has fallen by some 25 million, or 48%.

As measured in ratings, the percentage of nightly news viewing in all TV households, the three network evening newscasts had a combined 18.9 in November 2005, down from 20.2 a year earlier.

As measured in share, the percentage of just those television sets that are on at the time, the three newscasts earned a 37 share in November 2005, a drop from the 38 earned in November 2004.

In the previous editions of this report, we have illustrated the decline in viewership for the nightly network newscasts by using two landmarks: 1969, the historic peak of nightly news viewership, and 1980, the launch of the cable news network CNN. In 1969, the three commercial nightly network newscasts had a combined 50 rating and an 85 share. In 1980, they had a 37 rating and a 75 share. Based on November data for 2005, ratings have fallen 62% since 1969 and 48% since 1980. Share has fallen 56% since 1969 and 51% since 1980.”

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