Thursday, December 3, 2009

Obama: FOX News Channel's friend

Nearly one year in with Obama, FOX is up, CNN and MSNBC are down

Dobbs and O'Reilly.jpg Lou Dobbs, who suddenly resigned at CNN, spoke about his move with FOX News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, on "The O'Reilly Factor," one of the top-rated programs on cable news. (Photo by Kathy Willens / AP)

The Swamp
by Mark Silva
Who says FOX News doesn't like Barack Obama?
The first year of the Democratic president has been good for the nation's leading cable news channel - its viewership up 7 percent in prime-time hours so far in 2009, compared to the same time last year.
Make that 10 percent among the 25-54-year-olds whom advertisers love to court.
As opposed to both rivals CNN, suffering an apparent post-Dobbs slump as well, and MSNBC - down by double-digits from year to year.
So say the Nielsen ratings in this year of living Democratically, when President Barack Obama's White House has taken on FOX for being something other than a traditional news network - "an arm of the Republican Party,'' according to the outgoing White House communications director. It could be, perhaps, that all the vitriol which commentator Glenn Beck and company have stirred up for Obama and crew has been box-office for the network that the press office loves to hate.
Beck's own audience - 2.67 million viewers in November - includes a 101 percent gain among the 25-54 year-olds since last year.
It's both FOX's standard news fare - Brett Baier's report - and its commentary - Beck, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity - that have fared well during the first 10 months of the Obama administration.
FOX News, of course, has been dominant in the cable ratings for some time - No. 1 in total viewers for 95 consecutive months (since January of 2002), by Nielsen Media Research's count.
But Baier's Special Report and The O'Reilly Factor scored their best month of the year in November, both in total viewership and in the 25-54 cohort.
Both CNN and MSMBC were suffering their worst months of the year, by comparison - with CNN's Anderson Cooper down 70 percent from last year among the 25-54s, Wolf Blitzer's Situation Room off 63 percent among the same crowd.
And CNN's viewership was off 25 percent in the weeks following Lou Dobbs' surprise on-air resignation, comparing the pre-Dobbs and post-Dobbs segments of November's ratings.
Bill O'Reilly's audience of 3.669 million in November included a 12 percent gain in the 24-54 audience, compared with November of last year.
CNN's Campbell Brown's audience of 696,000 was down 62 percent in the same cohort. MSNBC's Countdown with Olbermann, with 1 million viewers, also was down 62 percent among the same audience, year to year.
Even Larry King's 853,000 was off 59 percent.
And Chris Matthews, playing Hardball over at MSNBC, pulled 672,000 viewers, including 184,000 in the 25-54 bracket, off 63 percent from the previous November. It could be all that interrupting of guests that the host does.


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