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The Five Leads Cable News For October

“Punctuating things for “The Five” was that for the week of Oct. 25, all five of its telecasts were the five most-watched non-sports offerings on all of cable, not just in cable news.”

Doug Pucci

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It was an historic month for the Fox News Channel afternoon talk show “The Five”. Even though temporarily hosts have filled in for Juan Williams who departed last spring, its audience figures have not dipped. For the first time in its ten-year history, it was the most-watched cable news program for one calendar month. For weekdays from Oct. 1-29, it averaged 3.108 million total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research, which eked past the network’s top prime time entry “Tucker Carlson Tonight” by 27,000 viewers (for the key 25-54 demographic, however, the two programs swapped rankings: Carlson was tops with 483,000 — +48,000 over runner-up “The Five”).

Punctuating things for “The Five” was that for the week of Oct. 25, all five of its telecasts were the five most-watched non-sports offerings on all of cable, not just in cable news. If sports are included, ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” along with its pre-game and post-game shows as well as NFL Network’s “Thursday Night Football” were the only cable telecasts to have drawn more.

As indicated here in recent weeks, Fox News dominated the cable news landscape for October, landing 13 of the top 14 cable news programs in total viewers (the lone non-FNC entry was sixth-place “Rachel Maddow Show” from MSNBC which averaged 2.09 million) and 15 of the top 16 cable news shows among adults 25-54 (the aforementioned “Maddow” ranked 12th with 250,000 viewers within the demo.)

At No. 17 on the demo list was CNN’s top program “Erin Burnett Outfront” (which just celebrated its tenth anniversary) averaging 164,000.

October’s top five most-watched shows, in total viewers, outside of the big-3 cable news networks were Newsmax’s “Greg Kelly Reports” (368,000 total viewers, 42nd in all cable news) and “Spicer & Co.” (285,000, 44th), CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” (283,000, 45th) and “Fast Money Halftime Report” (271,000, 46th) and Newsmax’s “The Chris Salcedo Show” (249,000, 47th).

HLN’s coverage of the Gabby Petito investigation was the top non-FNC/MSNBC/CNN original cable news entry in adults 25-54. Its seven telecasts averaged 66,000 viewers within the demo, ranking 41st place for all of cable news. (Several non-original airings of “Forensic Files” on HLN usually draw more.) Tied for runner-up were CNBC’s aforementioned “Squawk on the Street” and their Wednesday night celebrity docuseries “Jay Leno’s Garage”; each drew 56,000 adults 25-54, tied for 43rd in cable news.

Cable news averages for October 25-31, 2021. Fox News Channel extended their streaks to 37 weeks as cable’s most-watched network in total viewers and 11 weeks topping the combination of MSNBC and CNN in both total day and prime time among total viewers and adults 25-54.

Total Day (October 25-31 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.430 million viewers; 223,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.674 million viewers; 77,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.464 million viewers; 97,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.198 million viewers; 53,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.141 million viewers; 33,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.122 million viewers; 18,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.117 million viewers; 22,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.093 million viewers; 12,000 adults 25-54

Prime Time (October 25-30 @ 8-11 p.m.; October 31 @ 7-11 p.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 2.249 million viewers; 312,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 1.150 million viewers; 140,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.600 million viewers; 123,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.199 million viewers; 51,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.155 million viewers; 45,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.126 million viewers; 24,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.120 million viewers; 26,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.043 million viewers; 7,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top MSNBC and CNN programs with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:

1. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 10/28/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.339 million viewers

2. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 10/27/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.267 million viewers

3. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 10/26/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.264 million viewers

4. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 10/25/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.219 million viewers

5. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 10/29/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.193 million viewers

6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 10/25/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.185 million viewers

7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 10/27/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.153 million viewers

8. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 10/28/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.116 million viewers

9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 10/26/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.113 million viewers

10. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 10/28/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.802 million viewers

25. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Tue. 10/26/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.157 million viewers

166. The Lead With Jake Tapper (CNN, Wed. 10/27/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.779 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs (and the top MSNBC, CNN and HLN programs with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54:

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 10/27/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.503 million adults 25-54

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 10/25/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.498 million adults 25-54

3. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 10/26/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.459 million adults 25-54

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 10/28/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.453 million adults 25-54

5. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 10/28/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.450 million adults 25-54

6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 10/26/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.449 million adults 25-54

7. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 10/25/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.439 million adults 25-54

8. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 10/27/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.419 million adults 25-54

9. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 10/28/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.418 million adults 25-54

10. The Five (FOXNC, Fri. 10/29/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.398 million adults 25-54

45. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 10/25/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.280 million adults 25-54

93. CNN Newsroom (CNN, Thu. 10/28/2021 10:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.218 million adults 25-54

186. Forensic Files “Sibling Rivalry” (HLN, late Thu. 10/28/2021 3:00 AM, 30 min.) 0.134 million adults 25-54

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

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CNN Coverage of Iran Bombing Israel Left Much to Be Desired

Who wants to look at a half dozen people talking or interrupting each other as war is taking place in the upper right corner?

Bill Zito

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A photo of bombs being sent toward Israel by Iran
(Photo: CNN)

On a Saturday evening in the Eastern Time Zone, I generally make a concerted effort not to catch up on the day’s events. With that in mind, when Iran gave the world a heads up that missiles and drones would be heading towards Israel, I frankly was more curious about the developments there than in anything else going on in my neighborhood.

Surfing the coverage, naturally, the beginnings of the Persian Gulf War came to mind as images of a night sky and flashes of bombardment came across the screen. I thought of CNN’s Bernard Shaw, Peter Arnett, and John Holliman and the grainy pictures from 1991.

Switching over to CNN, I anticipated something similar, with pictures certainly clearer than what I remember from 35 years ago. I mean, this early in the attack, the drones and missiles were still in the sky over Israel, nearly all being intercepted before impact but they were certainly visible.

Unfortunately, CNN’s coverage was a little too prepared, at least for my tastes. The images of the skies over Israel were squeezed into the upper right corner box, hardly discernible to the naked eye while no less than a half dozen analysts, maybe one correspondent, encircled the anchor who was centered on the screen.

Remember now, this was live as the attack was happening, not a recap. Let’s just say my time that night as a CNN viewer was not very long. Fortunately, the BBC and Sky News were in a better frame of mind and certainly had a better realization of what a 9 PM Saturday audience (5 AM London) was likely to stick with.

Let us begin with a gentle reminder: Television means pictures first, everything else is radio. There’s a reason the cameras at football, baseball, and hockey games are pointed outwards. That’s where the action is, that’s where what people care about is happening.

There is nothing wrong with analysis, even color commentary, but who wants to look at a half dozen people talking or interrupting each other as war is taking place in the upper right corner? I don’t go to my news source to attend a dysfunctional Zoom meeting. I have another job for that, thank you.

What was happening that night was clearly among the most important happenings occurring in the world, certainly at that moment. We know that, everyone else in news knows that and I’m sure CNN knows it and knew it then.

As I said, I flipped around, had the radio on, and checked things out on line, the usual protocol.  After all, I was in “News Geek” mode. The term “News Junkie” has never applied to me nor does it appeal to me when others use it to describe themselves. Ever speak with a self-described “News Junkie”? After five minutes you’ll likely remember you left the iron on or suddenly feel an urgent need to visit the comfort station.

That said, after two minutes of watching the Brady Bunch talk about what we all should have been watching, over to Sky News and the BBC I jumped. And, except for a couple of momentary visits to Fox News, it was with the British I remained.

Along with the improved visual coverage, I was more than content with their one-to-one analysis and discussion. It was encouraging to hear former CBS News State Department Correspondent Christina Ruffini discussing with BBC Presenter Carl Nasman what action will likely come from the White House as a result of the attack.

Meanwhile, Sky News took the updates from Israeli TV and Fox News spoke intermittently with a weapons analyst who was able to tell us what was streaking across the sky and what it was being shot down with.

All the while, the audience was able to see exactly what was happening over Israel without a cacophony of bobbleheads blocking the only thing we were really interested in.

All CNN had to do was wait a few hours and my guess is they might have annoyed fewer people and told us a better story. Most of the time, things have to actually happen before we can talk about them.

CNN should probably go back to the archives from 1991 to remind themselves of how well they used to do things. Maybe they can figure out where and when they took a wrong turn.

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Trace Gallagher Throws Cold Water on Climate Zealots

“Climate is the new racism, sexism, vaccine-ism. Once the word is written or uttered, there can be no doubt, debate, or dissent. The issue is settled.”

Rick Schultz

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A photo of Trace Gallagher and the Fox News logo
(Photo: Fox News)

Virtue-signaling and misguided efforts often have deleterious results on the very people such actions are supposedly designed to help. According to a media voice who made his opinions known on Friday, the results are both predictable and sad. Trace Gallagher was direct and straightforward during the Common Sense segment of his Fox News @ Night program. 

“The Fox News Common Sense department understands the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, with 19 million customers, is raising its rate 17%. That’s on top of a property tax increase. Why the rate hike, you ask? Well, if you read the far-left LA Times, you’re told it’s ‘to cover rising costs and conservation efforts’,” Gallagher explained. “Common Sense thinks it’s actually to cover rising costs because of conservation efforts.”

Trace Gallagher continued, explaining how he feels recent government actions have exacerbated the situation.

“It turns out during the drought, which ended last year, Californians were given a mandate — save water or get fined. Residents not only complied, they conquered. They saved so much water, the water district lost revenue,” Gallagher said. “So customers conserved water to not be penalized, but are now being penalized for conserving water. The LA Times explained it away by saying, quote, climate change. Seven times in the same article.”

The LA Times story detailed that “District leaders said the increases are necessary to cover the costs of importing and treating water, as well as finance climate change adaptations to infrastructure and make up for declines in revenue due to widespread conservation efforts.”

As Trace Gallagher noted, the phrase “climate change” has become a catch-all for activists, simply because it cannot be quantitatively explained or defined. Whether it gets hot or cold, wet or dry, the cause is “climate change.” 

Regardless of what you think of their rationale, the true zealots are hard-core. Take, for example, the case of the The View host who said this month’s earthquake and solar eclipse were due to “climate change.” Or 86-year-old liberal, Jane Fonda, who said last week at a fundraiser that the “climate crisis” is a “manifestation of racism, misogyny, and patriarchy.” She also apologized, saying her generation has created this “crisis” for young people.

“Not enough rain, climate change. Too much rain, climate change. Normal rain, climate complications,” Gallagher continued. “The Times never explains the complications, mind you, because climate is the new racism, sexism, vaccine-ism. Once the word is written or uttered, there can be no doubt, debate, or dissent. The issue is settled.”

In the article, Metropolitan Water District Board of Directors Chair, Adan Ortega Jr., discussed the rate hike.

“It’s the cost of climate change,” Ortega said. “The reason why we have to invest in our water systems is because we have to use our water systems differently with climate change.”

Many have wondered how this issue of weather, or climate, has become such a politically divisive issue in the first place. After all, most people believe in keeping the environment clean and better for future generations. Don’t litter. Don’t pollute. Leave it better than you found it. Some have said it is simply a matter of from where the motivation comes.

For the Left, it is a matter of worship of the earth.

For the Right, it is a matter of stewardship of the earth.

In an opinion piece published last week in The Hill, Steve Krakauer wrote “Not all of the media’s coverage of climate change is this blatantly stupid. But it does seem to be almost entirely based around a single hysterical narrative. Yes — the climate is changing, and humans are contributing to that change. But there’s so much we don’t know, and yet the mainstream coverage we see is positioned with such certainty and such condescension.”

Many would even argue Krakauer’s basic premise. First, that climate is changing, relative to recent millennia. And second, that humans have anything whatsoever to do with it. In fact, scientists are divided on these basic questions. Weather Channel co-founder John Coleman, who passed away in 2018, used to refer to man-made climate change as a hoax. 

The late talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, used to wonder aloud why God would create in man such a yearning for improvement, greatness and innovation – a desire to advance the lives of civilization through industry and technology –  if that very progress would destroy His natural creation.

The LA Times article published last week noted that the water rate hike action “stirred controversy.”  It explained how the board members representing Los Angeles objected to the increase in the property tax rate and abstained from the vote. They wrote a letter, in which they said “shifting water bill collections onto property taxes will effectively raise the cost of housing for every citizen in the region, especially those in the disadvantaged communities.”

The result, according to Trace Gallagher, is that California residents are punishing themselves. Unfortunately, he doesn’t think it will be the last time.

“Common Sense thinks it’s only a matter of time before crazy California mandates electric vehicles and penalizes drivers for not buying enough gas.”

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Uri Berliner Told Us What We Already Knew About NPR

Is it possible that by going public, Berliner’s efforts will cause even the slightest self-reflection within NPR – if not actual change?

Andy Bloom

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A photo of Uri Berliner and the NPR logo
(Photo: NPR)

On April 8th, a rare celestial event, a solar eclipse, occupied the national zeitgeist. On April 9th, something even more rare occurred. A respected liberal journalist — Uri Berliner — became introspective and said out loud what many already believed about National Public Radio (NPR): It has become a liberal wasteland.

A 25-year NPR veteran and senior business editor, Uri Berliner wrote a column for the Free Press that pulled the curtain back on NPR’s DEI and liberal political agenda.

Far from being a conservative, Berliner describes himself as a Subaru driving, Sarah Lawrence College graduate, raised by a lesbian peace activist mother, and fits the mold of a loyal NPR fan.

The column is stunningly frank and revealing. It is instructive to conservatives, who incorrectly assert that NPR has always had an ultra-left agenda, and to NPR insiders, who fail to see how the organization’s current path has damaged its brand and listenership.

The column is blistering but honest and specific. It lays out NPR’s journey from journalism to advocacy. The question is whether others at NPR will become more reflective and consider changes.

The choice of outing NPR in The Free Press is interesting in itself. Bari Weiss founded the Free Press after leaving The New York Times in 2020 for what she called a “hostile environment.”

Weiss had been hired from The Wall Street Journal by then-editorial page editor James Bennet to expand The Time’s viewpoints.

Shortly after Weiss’ resignation, Bennet was forced out after he invited Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) to write an op-ed with opposing points of view to those other Times editorialists had written about the George Floyd riots.

Liberals don’t tolerate opposing views; a point Berliner makes.

Berliner takes NPR to task for no longer having an “open-minded spirit.” He correctly asserts this wouldn’t be a problem if it were a “news outlet servicing a niche audience. But for NPR, which purports to consider all things, it’s devastating  for both its journalism and business model.”

He reveals that in NPR’s Washington, D.C. newsroom, there are 87 registered Democrats and not a single Republican. Imagine the spirited debates that must lead to – does Trump deserve the death penalty, or is life in prison enough?

Berliner traces NPR’s “rise of advocacy—as in many newsrooms” to Donald Trump’s election. He cites the Russian collusion fixation and NPR’s obsession with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who Berliner seems to have figured out bamboozled them. Then he goes on to do something I can’t recall any other liberal media figure doing; he criticizes the organization for not only blowing the story but “to pretend it never happened, to move on with no mea culpas, no self-reflection.”

“Russiagate was not NPR’s only miscue,” he continues, excoriating NPR for its handling of the Hunter Biden laptop story and its Covid coverage.

The problems at NPR, according to Berliner, started when NPR’s former CEO, John Lansing, went from working behind the scenes primarily as a fundraiser and liaison with member stations to a more visible role after George Floyd’s death in 2020.

What Uri Berliner describes, “NPR itself was part of the problem,” must have been a nightmare for guilt-ridden white liberals.

To fix the problem, “He (Lansing) declared that diversity —on our staff and in our audience—was the overriding mission, the ‘North Star’ of the organization. Phrases like “that’s part of the North Star” became part of meetings and more casual conversation.”

The effect? “And I believe, is the most damaging development at NPR: the absence of viewpoint diversity,” Berliner writes.

He cites stories that this mindset led to, including “How The Beatles and bird names are racially problematic; justifying looting, with claims that fears about crime are racist; and suggesting that Asian Americans who oppose affirmative action have been manipulated by white conservatives.”

The results? According to Uri Berliner: “Back in 2011, although NPR’s audience tilted a bit to the left, it still bore a resemblance to America at large. Twenty-six percent of listeners described themselves as conservative, 23 percent as middle of the road, and 37 percent as liberal.”

“By 2023, the picture was completely different: only 11 percent described themselves as very or somewhat conservative, 21 percent as middle of the road, and 67 percent of listeners said they were very or somewhat liberal. We weren’t just losing conservatives; we were also losing moderates and traditional liberals.”

The numbers he cites are from a combination of Pew Research Center and NPR’s data.

There is additional evidence that before 2020, NPR wasn’t as far to the left.

AllSides is an organization with the following mission statement: Free people from filter bubbles so they can better understand the world – and each other.

Their website states: “Don’t be fooled by media bias and fake news. We display the day’s top news stories from the Left, Center, and Right of the political spectrum – side-by-side so you can see the full picture.

AllSides also rates news organizations on a scale: Left – Leans Left – Center – Leans Right – Right.

In its most recent review (2022), AllSides rates NPR Leans Left.

In its previous ratings dating back to 2016, NPR was rated Center, Though Close to Lean Left.

AllSides ratings reflect what Berliner believes and NPR’s audience composition then and now.

Before he wrote the column for The Free Press, Uri Berliner tried to bring about change within NPR. He pushed for minor changes to make reporting less left-skewed, and more accurate, even scheduling a meeting with then-CEO Lansing, which never happened.

Is it possible that by going public, Berliner’s efforts will cause even the slightest self-reflection within NPR – if not actual change?

The answer came the same day (and was updated a day later) in a story written by NPR’s media correspondent, David Folkenflik, and posted on its website.

Folkenflik reports, “NPR’s chief news executive and chief content officer, Edith Chapin, wrote in a memo to staff Tuesday afternoon that she and the news leadership team strongly reject Berliner’s assessment.”

Reading into the memo, we should assume that life will continue as before at NPR, although perhaps not for Berliner.

At least one former NPR staffer disagrees with the organization’s response. Jeffrey Dvorkin, NPR’s former VP for news and ombudsman, posted on X (formerly Twitter), “I know Uri. He’s not wrong.”

The shame is that this is a perfect opportunity for NPR to consider course corrections. NPR has a new CEO, Katherine Maher. She started on March 25th.

At least on the surface, it doesn’t appear that Maher is interested in Berliner’s views. A network spokesperson says Maher supports Chapin and her response to Berliner’s critique.

NPR used to practice journalism. Over the past several years, it has become another news organization advocating for liberal causes. Uri Berliner has done a tremendous public service by showing exactly how that transformation happened. It’s too bad that it looks like NPR won’t be returning to journalism anytime soon.

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