PUBLIC OPINION > Big News Is Bad News
News 2012/06/28 16:00:00
CNN reported a massive drop in viewership this year, losing more than a third of its total audience. Fox News, on the other hand, is floating along nicely, only dropping about 1%. But we wanted to know how viewership looked at the ground level. What percentage of the public watches major news networks? We asked the public to find out.
As ratings predicted, Fox News came out on top. However, even more respondents shunned the entire batch. That's evidence of two things. First, the so-called "major" news networks are hardly satisfactory outlets for news. They might have the most viewers, but as with the music charts, a high rating doesn't mean high quality. Second, it suggests most people are getting their news from alternative sources, because it's unlikely all these people are just ignoring world events completely. They're just sick of the major outlets. One commenter put it best: "If I want to hear nothing but lies, I'll talk to my ex wife."
Conservatives Back Fox
Naturally, all of these stations deny these claims of bias. Whether or not that's true is really a matter of opinion, but what is clear is that their viewers do lean. 77% of conservatives voted Fox, compared to 0% of liberals and progressives; 31% of liberals watch CNN or MSNBC, compared to 2% of conservatives. The vast majority of moderates (72%) avoid the major news channels all together.
The Internet Age
The reason "none of the above" was such a popular choice was clear in the age breakdown: People under 35 don't watch the news. Below that age, the difference in support between major networks was negligible. About two-thirds of them refused to pick one. And we think the reason for this is pretty obvious, too. Do they really expect us to wait 'til 11 when we could just check our personalized feed?
Simply saying that "the Internet" is an alternative source of news isn't specific enough. We wanted to see what other people were watching specifically. A quick glance through the comments revealed: YouTube, The Onion, Al Jazeera, C-SPAN, local news, college radio, The Weather Channel, and there were even a few hits for The History Channel.
If you'd like to vote on this question, dig deeper into the demographics, or engage in existing discussion about the topic, visit our poll on major news networks. We'd love to hear from you!
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