RealClearPolitics Media Watch

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Biased or Not, Fox News Still On Top

In spite of (or, perhaps because of) the perception that the Fox News Channel is hyper-critical of President Obama, it continues to dominate cable news ratings. In April, Fox News' viewership in fact grew from the previous three months, with an audience that exceeded the combined total of both CNN and MSNBC.

For prime time, (8-11 p.m.), Fox News averaged 551,000 viewers in the target 25-54 demo. MSNBC has jumped past CNN, though still finished a distant second, with 271,000. CNN is third with 248,000 and its little sibling HLN fourth with 231,000. In addition to the growth of Fox News (a staggering 63%) and HLN (47%) over April 2008, MSNBC was up 16%, while CNN was down 12%.

Fox News had the top 11 cable news programs in total viewers and 12 of the top 15 in the demo. The phenomenal success of Glenn Beck's program, at 5 p.m., has helped that growth. In fact, every program on Fox News from 9 a.m. and on has seen at least a 60% percent increase in the demo, led by Beck's 212% over the same period in 2008.

Despite Obama's robust approval ratings, at least one pundit thought Fox News' soaring ratings are a cause for concern for the left:

That most new cable news viewers are turning to Fox, rather than to CNN or MSNBC, is what's scaring the hell out of me. Fox anchors, particularly in primetime, preach a brand of ignorant negativity that will never help us get out of the economic mess we're in. They seem to hope that Obama will fail, while most of the rest of us hope that he will succeed. But, if I'm right when I say "most of us," why is it that more people are watching FoxNews in primetime than CNN and MSNBC combined.

I've written before that I believe what people watch on television more accurately reflects their true feelings than what they tell pollsters over the telephone. If that's the case, it would seem there are more haters than there are hopers, and we are in for a very hard time.