Sign Of The Times? Fox News Ratings Tumble In October, November
Fox News is still the cable news king, but its ratings are clearly tumbling.
Fox's ratings were down 24 percent from October 2005 to October 2006, from 1.7 million viewers to 1.3 million.
The news didn't improve for Fox News in November. Heightened viewership because of the mid-term elections, Donald Rumsfeld's resignation from the Pentagon, and increased discussion over Iraq War policy boosted CNN and MSNBC, but did little for Fox.
In prime time for the month, Fox's average total audience fell 19 percent when compared with a year earlier, to 1.35 million total viewers. CNN posted a 15 percent gain to average 826,000, and MSNBC's average audience grew 29 percent to 505,000.
Fox executives have spun that its ratings decline is the result of a slow news year. I suppose that's true, if you equate "slow news year" with "lack of happy stories for conservatives."
Think of the stories that grabbed headlines this year that folks like Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Neil Cavuto and John Gibson looked to dismiss quickly or avoid altogether:
-- Declining support for the Bush Administration's handling of the Iraq War.
-- Republican ties to the Jack Abramoff scandal.
-- Sen. George Allen's "Macaca" moment.
-- House Republicans not properly handling Mark Foley's improper interactions with House pages.
-- Americans rejecting Bush Administration policies by sweeping in Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.
And on and on ...
Fox News still has the inside track on covering "culture war" topics like the "War on Christmas," and the "controversy" surrounding the recent children's movie Happy Feet.
But it appears less and less people are interested in such things. Fox News is still on top, but the tide appears to be turning.