Thursday, May 19, 2005

Fox News in freefall?

Good news from the News Hounds (the people who watch Fox so that you don't have to): Fox News is losing key viewers. Prime time ratings have dropped six straight months since the election among coveted "demo viewers," people in the 25-54 age demographic. Have a look:
Oct 04...1,074,000
Nov 04.....891,000
Dec 04.....568,000
Jan 05.....564,000
Feb 05.....520,000
Mar 05.....498,000
Apr 05.....445,000
Other cable news ratings also dipped since the election but appear to have stabilized. My personal theory - based on anecdote, completely unverified - is that we're seeing continued fallout from the Schiavo circus. Scales-falling fallout. Digby noted at the time:

[T]he Republican professional class, the libertarians and some common sense types saw FOX News and talk radio as being full of shit for the first time.… For instance, a conservative doctor of my acquaintance was stunned by the Schiavo matter. This man watches nothing but Fox news and could not believe the anti-intellectual religiosity of their coverage. This is a matter that he knows intimately and he could see clearly that the coverage wasn't "fair and balanced." Indeed, it wasn't true. It's as if a veil fell from his eyes.

My conservative Rush loving neighbor was heard complaining that his hero didn't know what he was talking about on the Schiavo case. That is a first. This guy is a true believer – who also has a very sick wife.

My nurse sister-in-law (also a born again Christian and avid FOX watcher) insisted that all the news be turned off in the house because she couldn't stand the exploitation of the patient or the sideshow outside that hospice. She's very depressed about all this. … [O]nce people have been shocked like this they don't fully trust again.

I don't know what Fox and the shrieking midgets of AM radio are doing right now with the filibuster issue, but since polls show Americans disapproving of the GOP's stance by a 2:1 margin, we may have another teachable moment on our hands.

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