Earlier today, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell accurately noted that the Big Three TV news networks are “as guilty in … (the Benghazi) cover-up as is the administration.” He did so based on the fact that “For the sixth night in a row, ABC World News, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News refused to give one single second of coverage to a Fox News report that the Obama Administration denied help to those attacked and killed by terrorists at the US consulate in Benghazi on September 11.”
Not that it mitigates the legitimacy of Mr. Bozell’s outrage, but one can take some comfort in the fact that fewer people are tuning in to the three nightly news broadcasts than were doing so a year ago, and that their ratings in the 25-54 demographic in the past five weeks are down by almost 20 percent from the same five-week period during the 2008 presidential cycle. A table containing individual results from the past two weeks and the average results from the past five is after the jump (a previous NewsBusters post on the first three weeks is here).
Here is that table (source data is from Media Bistro’s TV Newser blog):
The fact that the non-demo audience has barely expanded is hardly a consolation, given that their population has grown by more than the amount of expansion and that advertisers are less interested in targeting their pitches towards them.
Since the comparables for the week of October 29 will be skewed by a spike in viewer interest due to Hurricane Sandy, this is a good place to stop and observe that the networks’ ignorance and possible negligence in the Benghazi coverup (it is believed that one or more of the networks has information which corroborates what Fox reported on Friday, and is sitting on the information rather than hurt the electoral prospects of the incumbent) and so many other examples of journalistic malfeasance for well over three decades have not gone unnoticed by viewers, who have been seeking alternatives and finding them. The idea that this decline is entirely driven by technology and the availability of other alternatives is absurd. You just don’t see a large majority of people who are happy with a product or service abandon it (Big Three news viewership was over 50 million in the early 1980s when the nation’s population was at least 25 percent smaller).
In the current instance, millions of Americans now know that the Obama administration ordered Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty to “stand down,” and that these heroes ignored orders and saved the lives of dozens who would likely have perished if they hadn’t intervened. If this were the 1960s or 1970s, almost no one would know. The networks seem not to care — heck, they may be seeing it as a badge of honor — that they’re constantly being scooped by those in the alternative media.
As long as the outrageous bias and negligence continue at the Big Three evening newscasts, so should their decline.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.