Fox News Ratings Plummet In May

The latest ratings report for cable news networks reveals a sharp decline for America’s #1 provider of right-wing propaganda. Fox News is leaking more than the BP oil rig in the gulf. According to TV By the Numbers:

In May, all of Fox News’ primetime programs posted their worst 25-54 demo deliveries in a year or more. May represents The O’Reilly Factor’s worst performance since January 2009, Hannity’s lowest delivery to date since taking over the time period in January 2009 and On the Record’s lowest since May 2009. Fox Report with Shep Smith had its lowest demo delivery since December 2008.

Even worse for Fox, their ratings have dropped about 20-35% in almost every hour of the day from their numbers at the beginning of the year. Fox’s stars were all particularly hurt in the key advertising demographic of 25-54 year olds. Neil Cavuto was down 29%, Bill O’Reilly dropped 30%, and Sean Hannity sunk 35%. Glenn Beck was not immune either. Despite his claim on his program last week that his numbers had risen, the truth is that he suffered a 23% drop in the demo and 26% in total viewers.

To be sure, the cable news market was fairly soft last month. The only network that posted increases was CNN, and that was likely due to the favorable comparisons over their previous dismal performance. This ratings report is nothing to brag about for any of the big players. But Fox hit some milestone lows that need to be put in perspective considering their proclivity for lying about their market position. Beck has already made ludicrous claims about his numbers, and O’Reilly spends half his time boasting about himself.

While Fox remains in the top spot for cable news, we need to remember two things: 1) Cable news is a small market that in total draws about half the audience of the broadcast news providers. And 2) Being #1 is not a validation of quality. Just ask anyone who’s ever eaten at McDonalds.


12 thoughts on “Fox News Ratings Plummet In May

  1. It can also be argued that because Fox is the only news source that is decidedly dedicated to a right wing (and only right wing) agenda, that they have ALL of that demo. The REST of the news-watching public splits its time between several news sources. Fox News viewers go only to one source, so their numbers are a consolidation.

    • That is true. And it is the core of the Fox News business model, along with adapting sensationalistic talk radio and tabloid newspaper methodology to TV.

  2. And it can’t be mentioned enough that basic cable will include Fox but not MSNBC which has to be obtained with “extra channels”. And worst of all and mentioned by many obsevers who comment here, when you go out into public places you always see Fox news blaring like Telescreens from 1984.

  3. what an idiot. trying to discredit fox’s numbers by comparing it to McDonald’s food quality?????? How desperate you are. Fox’s numbers are fantastic and they will only get better. Why don’t you do this report every month. I’ll be sure to check back each month to see how your theory is turning out. The liberal media is like poison.The liberal media is full of hate. I cannot watch it. For Every Glenn BEck there is A Bill Maher on the Left. Did you ever hear Maher’s rants. I’m sure you find them amusing. The moron claimed that Brazil got “off oil” in the 70’s and the US should also.Brazil ranks in the top ten in oil consumption worldwide. So Maher, like most liberals in the media, saw some blurb somewhere on a liberal web site about Brazil and he ran with it, twisting the facts to support his agenda. My brother in law was injured by an illegal immigrant in an auto accident- the illegal immigrant had no drivers license , no insurance.My brother in law still cannot return to his job. Why shouldn’t americans support such legislation? why is it racist? why do liberals cry racism for everything. ? Its just the right thing to do.Have you seen Mexico’s immigration laws?

    • Wow! That’s quite a Beck-inspired, fact-free rant.

      First of all, it’s hard to take you seriously when you accuse the “liberal” media of being full of hate after beginning your comment by calling me an idiot. And just the fact that you think the media, which is predominantly owned by giant, multinational corporations, is liberal, is evidence of your naivete.

      Setting that aside, you are the one twisting the facts. Sure, Brazil is in the top ten of oil consumers internationally, but that factoid is useless without context (a favorite tactic of Beck and his fellow propagandists). The U.S. is number one using 20 million barrels a day. China comes in second with 7 million. Brazil is number eight using only about 2 million barrels a day. More importantly, Brazil is 103rd when ranked per capita by population. They have implemented strict and effective measures to reduce fossil fuel consumption. Bill Maher is right. You are an idiot wrong.

      You are as guilty of misinformation as your Messiah, Glenn Beck. You throw around baseless insults just like him, as well. And you leap from one unrelated subject to another just like he does. He has trained you well. Enjoy your freshly washed brain.

    • Geez, some Beckerhead criticizes Bill Maher for parroting a liberal web site then responds with a complete data dump of memorized right-wing talking points. Too rich.

      Your unsubstantiated claim Maher is parroting a liberal web site – huge surprise – is wrong. If you read the context you’ll see Maher was depending on his memory. You’ll also see, unlike the demagogues on Fox News with their absolute truths, Maher openly discussed where he was right or wrong on what he remembered.

      What Maher was remembering was Brazil’s Pró-Álcool program which came on the heals of the 1973 oil crisis. The program has reduced the number of cars running on gasoline by 10 million. However, they still rank 7th in oil consumption.

      Lost in the right-wing’s kneejerk piling on of Maher to demonize him to score political points is his central premise that Brazil has shown far more leadership than America in reducting consumption of fossil fuels is sound.

      Of course, your anti-Maher screed and anti-immigration story have nothing to do with the topic at hand other than to point out you’re a very angry right-winger. All you had to say is you’re a Beckerhead and we’d realize that.

      Long ago, Rush Limbaugh was just starting out and used to say popularity is not an indication of being right. Dittoheads swallowed his argument because it fit what they wanted to believe. Now that that he’s top of the talk radio charts we can change the spin to popularity validating truth and the quality of his ‘journalism’ without any sense of irony over the contradiction.

      Ditto Fox News. Yet, Fox News draws a fraction of the traditional 6:30 national news broadcasts the self-serving Foxies like to mock as liberal propaganda. How can this be? Isn’t it an indicator that they’re of higher quality and reliability than Fox News?

      The fact that a Konservative Kool Aid drinker such as yourself so rabidly attacks any Fox News critics validates in my mind it’s a propaganda outlet. You’re wigged out like an addict afraid his pusher will cut him off from a fix.

  4. Brazil went to major sugar cane production to make ethanol the primary fuel and has planned to end oil dependency. Mc Donalds can be compared to National Enquirer leading in weekly sales. Sure doesn’t mean it the best journalism. Mark, why do you hate his brother-in-law? I bet he’s a swell guy!

    • Recent polls show that moonchief’s brother-in-law is hated by 62% of Americans, so I’m in the mainstream of opinion on the controversial moonchief brother-in-law issue.

      I am really impressed at how moonchief was able to slip his brother-in-law into this discussion of cable news ratings. It hadn’t occurred to me before that the Arizona immigration law rested on television viewing habits, or that Fox’s ratings decline contributed in some way to auto accidents involving illegal immigrants.

  5. Well, speaking of Bill Maher: Did you catch his “joke” last weekend? “I thought we were voting in a BLACK president. When he is in these meetings with BP, I want him to lift up his shirt and show them the gun hidden in his pants. ‘Are we going to have a m*****f***ing problem here?'”

    Ummm…that’s a racist joke, yes? Where is the outcry from Jesse or Sharpton?

    • Uhm, I’m Black and I’m not offended. You see, Bill Maher is a comedian; and an uncensored political satirist only on subscription-based cable television at that. Telling racy, sometimes over-the-top, anti-PC gags is what he has done on his show(s) for ages.

      Please don’t compare this to Don Imus or something. Imus made an attack on the appearance of a group of barely-public figured black females. Bill Maher mad a joke on the President of the United States satirizing a stereotype.

      And PLEASE don’t even bring up Limbaugh. Comedy and “satire” is not even close to the man’s trade.

  6. Responding to moonchief. Since you all have responded well to the whole Bill Maher, Brazil thing, I wanna get on his comment about the immigration law.

    First off, let me say, I’m sorry for your brother-in-law and all, but this seems to be a common tactic of right-wingers to support these racially charged legislations. Take a completely isolated incident that involved an illegal immigrant or a minority, and imply this is the responsibility of that entire race.

    I mean, what upsets you more? That your brother-in-law was the victim of a drunk driver, or that the guy was a Mexican? You’re willing to use an unfortunate accident that can be caused by people of any race or nationality, as a way to push your politics, rather than do something that would REALLY make a difference.

    If you really cared about your brother-in-law you would be fighting for tougher enforcement against drunk driving. You think people from Mexico are the only ones who have driven drunk before? You think ALL Mexicans are drunk drivers? You think keeping undocumented Mexicans out of America could stop anyone in the future from being in the same accident?

    Now are you willing to just cut the sob story and admit that you believe all Mexicans are bad criminals? Is this incident with your brother-in-law suppose to be proof that we need this law? ‘Cus last I heard, anyone can drive drunk.

    And you Tea Bagger, Beckheads wonder why you’re called racists?

    • Well said. And thanks for picking up the slack. I just didn’t have the patience to respond to everything moonchief spewed.

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