Home / Fox News – Wins Top Inaguration Coverage

Fox News – Wins Top Inaguration Coverage

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Fri Jan 21 2005 23:52:24 2005

CNN hemorrhaged more than half their audience from the 2001 Inauguration, overnights show. The troubled news network only averaged 779,000 viewers during yesterday’s Inauguration coverage from 10am-4pm with just 168,000 of those viewers landing in the coveted 25-54 demo.

Like CNN, MSNBC also suffered major losses, only averaging 438,000 viewers throughout yesterday’s coverage (141,000 in 25-54), down a whopping 68% over 2001 and faring even worse in primetime with just 385,000 viewers.

In contrast, Fox News averaged 2,581,000 viewers from 10a-4p (up 30% over 2001) and their 25-54 demo average of 705,000 came close to CNN’s total coverage ratings yesterday.


FNC — 2,439,000 (up 57% OVER ’01)
CNN — 1,353,000 (down 14% over ’01)

MSNBC — 385,000 (down 47% over ’01)

Other source data: Broadcasting and Cable News – Fox News Channel won the coverage of George Bush raising his hand hands-down.

According to Nielsen ratings figures supplied by Fox, FNC’s coverage of the inaugural ceremonies (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) on Thursday averaged 705,000 viewers in the key 25-54 news demo, over four times that of CNN, which averaged 168,000 during the same time. CNBC averaged 141,000.

Fox’s coverage was up 30% over the 2001 Bush inaugural, while CNN was down 63% and MSNBC down 68%.

In total viewers, the numbers were FNC, 2,581,000; CNN, 779,000; and MSNBC 438,000.

So let’s speculate. Given these figures, is the American viewing public perceiving FOX really as more unbiased than the other major Cable News outlets ? What could account for this drastic change as reported in the Drudge report?

ZZ Bachman / ZardozZ News & Satire Portal
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  • I think it’s misleading. The overall viewership for the inauguration wasn’t all that high. Only those particularly motivated to watch did so, and they are more likely to be Bush fans, and therefore also more inclined to watch Fox. Not a big surprise. If we were innaugurating Kerry the other networks would have done better.


  • The numbers pretty much hold with how the cable nets have been doing over the last several years, so I agree in saying that this news is not very significant.

  • Eric Olsen

    thanks ZZ, I think it’s interesting nonetheless – sure Fox was going to get a lot fo the Bush people for his inauguration, but the bigger question is why HAS Fox News risen so markedly, many would say alarmingly, over the past four years? Is it purely that people want their prejudices reaffirmed? Does anyone think they are the superior news organization?

  • I think they’re the first net to expertly cater to a market segment. Until the others learn to do the same, things will stay pretty much the same.

    Look at non-news cable channels: most are changing format to fing a niche (TNT is “Drama for Guys,” TBS is “Serious About Comedy,” etc.). I don’t think the cable news game is much different from a pure ratings standpoint, and right now Fox gets that.

  • Yes… the rhetorical questions I posed went to the larger question we are zeroing in on now. I tend to sense that as both of you indicate, “reaffirming” prejudices and the desire to find a “niche” are a manafestation of the current trend of market segmentation in all fields and industries for survival. The unfortunate element here is that, it seems to me anyway, that the concept of pure unbiased journalism is becoming obliterated due to ratings pressure and advertising revenue forces within the industry. Segment or Fail may be the mantra. Collect a niche following you can nurture or you may find yourself with no following because your unbiased broadcast presentation will be “boring” to both sides of an issue!

    Most people tend to seek out others with a similar point of view in society. The technique of market segmentation and niche creation takes advantage of this phenomenon. The underlying question I am wondering about is whether or not it is a positive or negative social force?

    There is more burden on the end user, to seek out multiple points of view from various sources and make up their own mind. As well we all should and that’s probably good. So from that aspect, perhaps it is positive. The negative element may be the reinforcement of entrenched thinking that polarizes further as since people can now identify with “their” group. History can repeat itself.. ala 1930s Europe if we are not careful.

  • Eric Olsen

    excellent points: with more choice comes greater ability to filter out opposing or mitigating views, which is why the Internet is home to such extremes, in addition to a more “information neutral” center

  • I’m not sure I buy that, Eric. I hear a lot about “echo chambers” on the web, but if anything, I think that the web provides an avenue for people to be more exposed to other points of view.

    Most of us move in social circles that don’t expose us to many people very unlike ourselves. If you’re a Republican, chances are good that a lot of your friends and so on are Republicans too, and if you’re a Democrat, chances are good that a lot of your friends and so on are Democrats too. There are, of course, exceptions, but even so people tend to preserve friendships by not getting working up over differences.

    On the web, however, I can read TalkLeft and OJ’s Best of the Web. I can sample from political sources all along the spectrum, knowing all along that they’re biased. Perhaps it’s just my social circle, but a lot of my friends do the same.

    There are stereotypes people who get all of their information about the world from a single source, either FNC or NPR, but I think it’s more myth than truth. I listen to NPR but read the Wall Street Journal. The Economist and Mother Jones.

    I’m also not entirely sure that people aren’t flipping between FNC and CNN, though even combined, there aren’t a ton of them.

  • Eric Olsen

    work and school have always been the best source of exposure to “others,” I think, and certainly there are many who avail themselves of spectrum of perspectives available on the Internet, and the other medai as well, but I think the relative marginalization of network TV has removed a former source of commonality for many Americans. I was just thinking about this is relation to Johnny Carson – would he have had the same impact today? I don’t think so because there are so many alternatives that didn’t exist 30 years ago.

  • Headed to the airport for a meeting in Vegas. I’ll pick it up later if the thread is still active. Great discourse! At least we do have the freedom to listen to, and protect, various points of view in our present culture. I sure hope it stays that way! From dissonance comes synthesis – zzb