Thursday, February 03, 2005

MSNBC (not Fox) Fails to Provide Balanced Analysis of State of the Union

Guess which of the three major cable news networks -- CNN, MSNBC or Fox News -- failed to provide a balance of liberals and conservatives in its State of the Union coverage?

You might have guessed Fox, but in fact, the guilty party was MSNBC.

MSNBC featured 10 guests that would be considered Republicans or conservatives, and just two that would be called Democrats or liberals.

By comparison, Fox News featured eight guests from the right and six from the left, and CNN had six of each.

Here's a breakdown of who appeared on MSNBC:

Republican guests: White House Communications Director Nicole Devenish, Senator Trent Lott (R-MS), Senator John McCain (R-AZ), radio host Laura Ingraham, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, actor and Bush supporter Ron Silver, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) , former Bush speechwriter David Frum, MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan.

Democrat guests: Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen, MSNBC analyst Ron Reagan.

***

MSNBC's strategy of late is crystal clear. It wants to out-conservative Fox News -- a Hail Mary plan to try to boost its laggard ratings. Whether its the decision to bring aboard Tucker Carlson to the prime-time lineup (http://jabbs.blogspot.com/2005/02/carlson-signs-with-msnbc-tilting-their.html) or greatly favoring conservative guests on Hardball (http://jabbs.blogspot.com/2005/01/matthews-again-skews-hardball-panel-to.html) and Scarborough Country, MSNBC could not be more transparent in its efforts to win over conservative viewers.

There's nothing wrong with seeking out conservative viewpoints. But it makes no sense -- journalistically or ethically -- to have such a ridiculous imbalance between right and left. By going against a basic tenet of journalism -- providing balance -- MSNBC is doing a disservice to its viewers.

***

And did MSNBC's gambit work? Nope.

Fox News averaged nearly 5.08 million viewers from 9 p.m.-11 p.m. Feb. 2, versus 1.02 million for CNN and 716,000 for MSNBC, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

The performance represented a 14% viewership rise for Fox News over the 4.45 million who tuned in Bush’s 2004 State of the Union speech. CNN lost 48% of its watchers from the prior year (1.97 million), while MSNBC was off 1% (from 721,000) from the 2004 address.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Social Security numbers Mr. Bush is conveying to citizens are anything but artificial. They're real and they're disheartening for anyone under 40. The math is easy if you just open your mind. The fate of our ill-fated SSA can be summed up with simple arithmetic: First, life expectancy has risen to 78 years today from 62 years in 1935, when SSA came into being. Meanwhile, fertility rates have declined to two children per woman from the baby-boom peak of 3.7. The worker/retiree ratio has fallen to 3 to 1 from 16 to 1 in 1950. The first of the baby boomers will retire in 2010. Social Security benefits will exceed payroll tax revenue in 2018. Confronting "grave and gathering threats" before they explode in downtown Manhattan is, thank God, part of the Bush docterine. Applying that successful docterine domestically is the only way to prevent the Social Security meltdown

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the NY Times: Some Republicans have even gone so far as to suggest the one approach Mr. Bush did not mention in his speech, raising the ceiling on income subject to payroll taxes, which is now about $90,000 a year. The idea appeals to some politicians because only about 6 percent of Americans earn more than $90,000 a year. Imposing Social Security taxes on incomes of up to $200,000 would come close to eliminating the entire [$3.7 trillion] deficit.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The entire SS concept is absurd and fully loaded with politics at this point. no wonder no politician before Bush wanted to touch it.

Yes, the system will break down if not adjusted. It likely does not need a complete overhaul and private accounts may not be a viable solution and enter too much risk into the equation. Need more ideas than just what Bush has put out. Raising the limit over the 90k to get out of the problem just creams the upper middle class, or even the lower middle class in areas like the northeast where standard of living (and taxes) are so high. This is not a cheap tax---it costs real dollars. It will hurt the economy to do this. Maybe people shouldnt pay it until they earn 200k and then pay it on anything above that.

When the system will break down is a matter of debate and the answer is noone truly knows. Everyone on both sides has been wrong thus far. You can quibble about the definition of bankrupt, which decade it will falter etc....but it is irrelevant. The point is it will break down and there seems to be a great deal of time to tackle the problem. So lets start tackling it slowly now rather than in crisis mode 15 years from now. Bush is wrong to suggest this is an imminent crisis. But others are wrong to say "ignore it" for now.

7:10 PM  

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