When I was a kid, my Saturday morning routine was to listen to “American Top 40.” If I was at home, I’d spend the entire four hours listening to Casey Kasem count down the most popular songs in the country. (I didn’t know about Kasem’s lame leftist politics until much later.) The countdown got more exciting as we got closer to finding out what the number one song was. With a kettle drum roll and tons of fanfare, Kasem in his inimitable voice would announce the most popular song in the land, and then it was on to the rest of the day’s activities.
I love lists and countdowns. I’m drawn to rankings of what’s best, worst, or most popular. This fascination obviously informs my propensity to write lists and countdowns on my own blog as well as here at NRB. So this Huffington Post article listing the Top 30 cable news programs is right up my alley.
Here’s how the list shakes down:
- The O’Reilly Factor
- Special Report With Bret Baier
- Glenn Beck
- Fox Report With Shepard Smith
- On The Record With Greta Van Susteren
- Your World With Neil Cavuto
- America’s Newsroom
- Studio B
- The O’Reilly Factor (11:00 p.m. repeat)
- America Live
- The Rachel Maddow Show
- Happening Now
- The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell
- Fox & Friends
- Anderson Cooper 360 (10:00 p.m.)
- The Ed Show
- Piers Morgan Tonight
- Hardball With Chris Matthews
- The Situation Room
- Parker Spitzer
- Nancy Grace
- Anderson Cooper 360 (11:00 p.m.)
- John King USA
- CNN Newsroom
- The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell (11:00 p.m. repeat)
- Morning Joe
- The Daily Rundown
- MSNBC Live
- Andrea Mitchell Reports
What we’re seeing here is telling. Fox News Channel boasts 13 of the top 30 shows on the list, compared with nine for MSNBC, seven for CNN, and a single spot for CNN’s Headline News. All the Fox News programs on the list are in the Top 15, including the Top 11 on the list. Fox & Friends is the only Fox program on the list generating fewer than a million viewers, and it comes close — pulling 987,000 total viewers.
Why is Fox News so dominant in the cable news ratings? The easiest explanation would be to attribute the ratings to the network’s being a beacon of balanced reporting in a sea of leftist media dominance. To an extent, that explanation rings true. The anchors on Fox News appear to be more interested in presenting both side of most issues. Though Fox isn’t quite the right-wing propaganda factory the Left wants to paint them as (for example, Greta Van Susteren is no conservative, and neither is Shepard Smith,) the network offers much more debate and explanation of multiple sides to issues than other networks do, which is obviously refreshing to many viewers.
Next: What is the secret to Fox’s success?