It's always music to my ears to hear that mainstream media continues its descent into irrelevancy. The media continues to have profound credibility and trust issues. According to Gallup "Americans' confidence in television news is at a new low..., with 21% of adults expressing a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in it. This marks a decline from 27% last year and from 46% when Gallup started tracking confidence in television news in 1993....."
Americans' Confidence in Television News Drops to New Low
Weirdly, Democrats have the highest level of confidence in TV news at 34% with Independents and Republicans tied at 17%. Print mainstream media performs better with 37% of Democrats approving, 22% of Republicans approving and 20% of Independents approving.
Interestingly, the highest level of confidence in the media is with the least educated folks. The more educated folks are, the less they trust the media. Astoundingly, Gallup appears to be totally puzzled by the lack of confidence in TV news.
It is not clear precisely why Americans soured so much on television news this year compared with last.Fox, MSNBC and CNN all have declining audiences but CNN seems to be taking the biggest hit, here.
CNN bore the brunt of the downward trend the news networks experienced this month and for much of the first quarter, when compared to the busy first few months of 2011. For the month of March, CNN was down -50% in total viewers and down -60% in A25-54 viewers (Total Day). The net was down -21% in Total Viewers and down -26% in A25-54 viewers (Primetime) compared to March 2011. Last March saw the earthquake and tsunami in Japan as well as the beginning of the allied campaign in Libya.In a nation of 310 million folks it's quite pathetic that a news giant like CNN only has 599,000 nightly viewers, a situation that hardly constitutes the raw and absolute power to influence anybody.
The ratings for March, 2012:
Primetime (Mon-Sun): 599K Total Viewers / 189K A25-54
Total Day (Mon-Sun): 382K Total Viewers / 117K A25-54
Compared to Q1 2011, CNN was down -21% in total viewers and down -26% in A25-54 viewers for Total Day viewing and down -5% in both Total Viewers and A25-54 viewers in Primetime. CNN did see slight growth in Primetime (Mon-Fri) due to three GOP debates it carried, topping MSNBC in the demo (Mon-Fri and Mon-Sun).
While Fox has also suffered a decline, Fox is basically GOP TV anyway. Establishment Republicans will continue to exclusively view Fox (they always do) but Fox also has the oldest viewers and as old Republicans die off, they aren't being replaced with a crop of young folks. Fox and the GOP have the same problem, namely it can't attract the young which is considered a very critical audience.
Jack Schafer, Reuters, wrote an interesting piece that practically declared cable news a dying media news venue.
The cable news audience has peaked
CNN’s rotten ratings have grown only rottener....News has definitely moved to the Internet and its extraordinary array of websites and blogs. Social media is also a huge factor because it's how folks share their Internet finds. In many ways, it's as if the First Amendment has been reborn by the people and the media is no longer controlled by government and corporate media giants.
Among those who noticed that cable news was flatlining was the Atlantic Wire’s Uri Friedman, who surveyed analysts for the underlying reasons in a March 2011 post. The consensus view put the onus on the Web: Now when big news breaks, the polled pundits agreed, the curious go to the Web (often via their mobile device) instead of cable news. Outside the Beltway‘s Doug Mataconis speculated that the potential audience for overtly liberal (MSNBC) and overtly conservative (Fox) TV news had maxed out.... Upwards of 90 percent of U.S. households already subscribe to cable or satellite TV, and most carry the news channels, so there are very few eyeballs out there that would like to tune in to CNN, Fox News and MSNBC but can’t.
Fox attempted to expand the market for cable news in 2008, when it started the Fox Business Network to compete with CNBC, but it has not succeeded.
Considering the shameless lack of depth, knowledge, integrity and journalistic standards, the death of mainstream media will be a welcome relief. It's simply outlived its usefulness, not that it was ever useful to begin with.
Let's all applaud the alternative media, the tireless bloggers and those who run websites that are truly packed with relevant and useful information.
The people finally have the power of knowledge.