Patterico's Pontifications

5/8/2006

L.A. Times: Extra! Extra! Fox News’s Ratings Plunge 17%!!!! (In a Much Less Important Story, CNN’s Ratings Slip by a Modest 38%)

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:29 pm



Get a load of the headline and opening paragraphs of a article [UPDATE: actually, a TV column] in this morning’s L.A. Times:

A RATINGS DOWNER FOR FOX NEWS

Some recent ratings news no doubt gladdened the hearts of Fox News Channel haters.

First, Nielsen Media Research reported that Fox News’ overall prime-time lineup dropped 17% last month compared with a year ago (MSNBC grew 16% during the same period, while CNN plummeted by 38%).

You must be thinking that I’m making this up. But I swear I’m not. Follow the link if you don’t believe me.

So, let me get this straight. CNN did worst, dropping 38%; Fox dropped 17%; and MSNBC gained 16%. Fox is just about in the middle.

So naturally, the whole focus of the story is how terrible Fox is doing! And in the above passage, CNN’s precipitous plunge — more than double that of Fox — is relegated to a mere parenthetical. (Oh, yeah . . . that.)

Obviously, the real story here is that Fox’s ratings went down. There’s no bias there. That’s just solid, down-the-middle news judgment. Because, you see, Fox News’s woes “gladdened the hearts of Fox News Channel haters.” And when we say “Fox News Channel haters,” we mean, of course, the editors of the Los Angeles Times. And since they’re the ones who decide what’s “news,” then Fox’s decline is the story — not CNN’s plunge.

Priceless. I’m filing this one away. When people ask me for an example of blatant partisanship at the L.A. Times, I couldn’t do much better than simply reading the beginning of this story out loud, giving special emphasis to the opening and closing of the parenthetical phrase.

(Thanks to alert reader Hank K.)

More ranting in the extended entry:

The story quotes Jonathan Klein, who is the guy who famously characterized the prototypical blogger as “a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing what he thinks.” Klein now runs the U.S. news department at CNN — which is, just to remind you, the network whose prime-time ratings nose-dived by 38%, over twice the rate of Fox’s loss. The Times lets Klein get away with theorizing that Fox is losing viewers because . . . it’s being too partisan! This is a theory that, unsurprisingly, is shared by MSNBC dimwit Keith Olbermann:

“When the stock market was through the roof in the ’90s, people used to sit around and watch CNBC and slap high fives and say, ‘I made another hundred bucks today!’ ” said MSNBC host and O’Reilly foe Keith Olbermann, adding that CNBC’s ratings quickly went south when the tech bubble burst.

“I think the same psychology applies to Fox. They’ll always have their hard-core audience that wants to hear, ‘Everything’s great! [Bush is] doing a great job.’ ” But less-partisan viewers are drifting away, Olbermann argued.

Jonathan Klein, president of CNN/US, agrees. “Maybe this is part of the deal with the devil you make when a supposed news network allies itself so closely with one point of view,” he said.

One wonders how it is that CNN’s ratings plunged at a rate more than double that of Fox. Could it be that CNN allies itself closely with a leftist point of view? Could it be that CNN’s leftist partisanship is driving away viewers at a rate more than double the loss suffered by Fox? Nah. Klein is allowed to explain away his network’s woes as evidence of success:

As for CNN, its lineup showed far greater erosion last month than Fox’s. “We’re down because we had such a phenomenal year last year,” Klein said.

Oh, I see! You can’t help but do badly now, because you have recently done so well!

Yet Fox has been absolutely clobbering CNN and MSNBC in the ratings. Does the same explanation work for Fox? Not on your life! While the story doesn’t seriously challenge Klein on his proffered excuses, it picks apart the excuses offered by a Fox executive, and goes on for paragraphs about the possible reasons that Fox is doing so badly:

Fox News says CNN is merely trying to deflect attention from its own woes. “It’s always amusing to watch Jon whistle past his graveyard of failures like Anderson Cooper and ‘American Morning’ as Fox trounces CNN in breaking news and ratings,” Fox spokeswoman Irena Briganti wrote in an e-mail. “We suspect Dick Parsons isn’t nearly as entertained.” Parsons is the chief of Time Warner, CNN’s parent.

Fox News says it’s hardly surprising its ratings are down this year, arguing that recent weeks have been fairly tame news-wise compared with April 2005, when Pope John Paul II died and his successor was chosen. What’s more, O’Reilly took seven nights off last month, the network says, leading to lower ratings overall for his program. But Fox has clearly reached some sort of turning point in audience dynamics. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, the network soared as if wearing flubber shoes, with gravity-defying, double-digit growth during news cycles slow and fast. Now it’s subject to the same laws of physics that encumber every mature network.

It’s possible, of course, that Fox’s loud, primary-color style of news packaging has gotten stale. It’s also true that there are limits on how big any TV programming can get, especially in a world of endless media fragmentation.

Maybe the real point, though, is not that Bush’s sinking poll numbers are hurting Fox News. Perhaps it’s that the network isn’t thoroughly engaging the issues that are giving the administration so many troubles.

Or maybe the real point is that, whatever Fox is doing wrong, CNN is apparently doing twice as badly — because CNN is the one whose ratings went in the toilet! But never mind that. Let’s keep hammering on Fox:

Consider O’Reilly, whose program has been the bellwether of Fox’s overall rise. Yes, he’s devoted plenty of time lately to such topics as immigration and the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui.

Yet on Friday, with Washington abuzz about the abrupt resignation of CIA Chief Porter Goss and Cheney’s combative speech on Thursday assailing Russia over human rights and other matters, “The O’Reilly Factor” temporized with segments about a sex offender registration law, the evidence behind date-rape claims and a controversy over Condoleezza Rice’s getting an honorary degree. (Larry King, who hosts CNN’s top-rated program, was only slightly more topical, by the way; after chatting with Christopher Kennedy Lawford about whether there might be a family curse given Rep. Patrick Kennedy’s recent drug-related traffic accident, King turned to attorney Robert Shapiro, who discussed his son’s death from a drug overdose.)

Each of these subjects has its own merits, but few would claim they dominate Americans’ thinking these days, during times of a growing energy debate, ongoing controversy over Bush’s handling of the Iraq war, worries over Iran’s nuclear aims and pending midterm elections. Talk about changing the subject.

Fox News didn’t get to be No. 1 by avoiding tough issues. Why start now?

Is CNN tackling these tough issues, Times editors? Your parenthetical — note how, once again, CNN’s failings are mentioned in a parenthetical — suggests that it is not. So why not go on and on about CNN? Why is CNN’s fluff worth only another parenthetical?

Why isn’t the whole story about CNN and its pathetic ratings?

The answer is obvious. It all makes perfect sense when you consider that the paper has had an ongoing feud with Fox News for years, starting with a well-publicized battle between its former editor John Carroll and Bill O’Reilly, and continuing with regular diatribes filed by Tim Rutten in his leftist “Regarding Media” column. Once you understand that, you immediately understand why the L.A. Times chose to focus on the declining ratings of Fox, when CNN’s ratings have tanked in a far more dramatic fashion.

UPDATE: A couple of commenters have suggested that, because Fox’s ratings are higher, it may be fair to focus more on Fox’s decline. That observation might have justified a slight emphasis on Fox in a sober and balanced news story. But an article like this — which does a virtual dance on the supposed grave of Fox’s ratings, uncritically highlights quotes from executives in organizations doing far worse, and wonders at length what Fox (and only Fox) is doing wrong — this sort of slanted story is not even remotely justified by Fox’s higher ratings. The spin is furious, and can be explained only by the paper’s historic hostility to Fox News.

UPDATE x2: Commenter jmaharry “drummaster” masquerading as jmaharry jmaharry masquerading as “drummaster” notes that this piece is actually a television column. (The editors probably could have labeled it more clearly.)

This doesn’t change my criticisms in the slightest [UPDATE: except that I would have referred to the editors’ “news judgment,” but rather their judgment in general]. It simply means that my vitriol should have been directed primarily at Scott Collins, the columnist who wrote this silly, unreasonably biased piece — and only secondarily at the editors who greenlighted it.

By the way: jmaharry. If you’re going to comment here, have the guts to do so under the name you have always used. Don’t come on here under an assumed name and suggest that I’m a liar. On a lot of blogs, that’s a banning offense. You may not be a journalist, but have you learned nothing from the Michael Hiltzik affair?

108 Responses to “L.A. Times: Extra! Extra! Fox News’s Ratings Plunge 17%!!!! (In a Much Less Important Story, CNN’s Ratings Slip by a Modest 38%)”

  1. Why is it that liberals take everyday things like ratings so seriously, while vital subjects like terrorism interest them about as much as yesterday’s newspaper?

    DRJ (3c8cd6)

  2. While I’m in the Socratic mood, when will the mainstream media finally crash under the weight of its liberal bias?

    DRJ (3c8cd6)

  3. CNN has a leftist point of view? I don’t think so.

    The point of the story was that FOX, according to the author, is number one in the ratings. That’s why he was emphasizing FOX.

    Although the network still churns out ratings light-years ahead of competitors’ and O’Reilly remains cable news’ No. 1 host, Fox News’ explosive growth appears to be, like the president’s 90% approval rating in the days following Sept. 11, a relic from the first Bush term.

    He actually ends the article by giving FOX a compliment. Read the whole thing for yourself.

    Incidentally, FOX is big media too Patterico. Yes, it is part of the MSM. With all of your fussing about the MSM in general, you paint with too broad of a brush.

    Psyberian (dd13d6)

  4. Could it be that CNN allies itself closely with a leftist point of view?” – Patterico

    Lemme guess.. you’re pretty sure it is and they do.

    Why the dance?

    Or is it so obvious only a benumbed Bush-hater couldn’t see the lefty bias?

    steve (b0f950)

  5. hey, they do acknowledge that “Olbermann’s ratings climbed 35% last month, his total audience remains less than one-fourth the size of O’Reilly’s”… of course, it took them until the 10th paragraph to say so.

    steve sturm (d3e296)

  6. The LAT lost another 5.4% in paid circulation in the 6 months ending March 31, 2006.

    More revenge of the right?

    steve (b0f950)

  7. Patterico:

    Pat, this is one of those “perfect storms” of bias that are so clear, even James Carville would be forced to recognize them.

    Here’s one I saw a number of years ago. It begins in the 1980s: Ronald Reagan is president, and we’re ramping up the rhetoric against Iran, which is involved in the Iran-Iraq war.

    During the middle of the night (D.C. time), two Iranian MiGs paint a couple of American Navy Tomcats — who promptly splash the MiGs. They duly report up the chain that they engaged and shot down two Iranian fighter jets.

    It’s relayed to the Pentaton, from there to the National Security Advisor, who talks to the White House Chief of Staff… and the pair decide not to wake the president, since the incident is over. Instead, they tell him as soon as he comes downstairs in the morning.

    When the news heard about this, they went ape: this proves, they shrieked, that Reagan is just a doddering old man, asleep on watch and mentally negligible to begin with, who’s already senile and has delegated away all the presidential authority to low-level flunkies (such as F-14 pilots and RIOs). They had a field day with the “hands-off” president snoozing his way through his second term.

    Flash forward about six years. Bill Clinton is president. This time, a pair of Iraqi jets light up a couple of USAF F-16 Fighting Falcons… and swiftly become a duet of smoking holes in the ground. This, too, happens at zero-dark-thirty Washington time.

    Again, the various folks in la Casablanca decide (rightly) not to bother waking the president; the incident is over, and there’s nothing he can do about it now in any event. They tell Clinton in the morning.

    The news heard about it… and (I know, you’re way ahead of me) they inform the American people in story after story how this proves that Clinton is such a great and well-respected Commander in Chief that he’s not afraid to leave such decisions to the boots on the ground… or in this case, the butts in the cockpit.

    A great leader delegates, intones Jennings, Rather, and Brokaw in near unison.

    Bias, schmias… they just call ’em as they see ’em!

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (6e94cd)

  8. Lemme guess.. you’re pretty sure it is and they do.

    Why the dance?

    Or is it so obvious only a benumbed Bush-hater couldn’t see the lefty bias?

    I just wonder why the paper’s editors don’t ask *that* question, if they are asking the questions they *are* asking.

    The LAT lost another 5.4% in paid circulation in the 6 months ending March 31, 2006.

    More revenge of the right?

    Doesn’t seem that way. For one thing, I am not historically a subscriber to the “declining circulation results from bias” theory. Second, according to Kevin Roderick, the editors plausibly defend the decline as a

    deliberate cut in “other paid circulation,” mostly the copies distributed in hotels and schools.

    While such a deliberate cut may be indicative of problems at the paper, I didn’t even think it was worth a post, although I recognize that you were trying to goad me into one.

    I suppose, steve, that you find the thrust of this article to be perfectly fair — down-the-middle news judgment making a huge deal out of a 17% decline and relegating a 38% plunge to parentheticals?

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  9. CNN puts on boring shows. Period. People don’t watch straight news in large doses except in crises. Fox’s outrage schtick is wearing a bit, though Ailes’ production values still dominate.

    It’s possible to over-analyze this.

    Klein and Co. underestimate the right’s loyalty and the rest of the spectrum’s inconstancy.

    steve (b0f950)

  10. It could all be about who is putting on interesting programming, and not at all about partisanship. That’s perfectly plausible. But the point that you seem to be evading here, steve, is that the paper made a huge deal in this article out of the 17% drop by Fox, and whispered the news of CNN’s plunge in parentheticals. Do you agree with the news judgment behind this?

    We are all watching to see if you will answer this question, or just dance around it again.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  11. No dance…I was writing when you posted.

    The copy would have been less offensive as a mundane recitation of numbers with no embellishment. Cool?

    I was asking about your suggestion that CNN’s steep(er) trajectory was perhaps owed to viewers’ ideological distate.

    Anything specific you had in mind, or just a spirited hypothetical?

    steve (b0f950)

  12. It was a response to the paper’s analogous suggestion about Fox.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  13. The emphasis is defensible if you grant that Fox News is much more important than CNN. For example an article on a stock market crash might highlight an US market drop of 17% while merely noting that that the Canadian market had also dropped 38%.

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  14. Then you take issue with Klein’s assessment that Fox – more than CNN – is identified with one point of view?

    I agree it may be a label MSM works overtime to attach, but it seems more than just a cliche.

    I admire FNC for what they’ve done in ten short years. That their abrupt change in fortune got noticed over CNN’s longstanding swoon is only a slight indignity.

    steve (b0f950)

  15. The times used Nielsen figures for those station percentages, evidently because they looked worse. They cited TVNewser regarding O’Reilly.

    You’d think they’d use the figures from one site or the other, not play mix and match.

    So I checked the April monthly figures for all shows at TVNewser. Certainly not the same figures as the Neilsen ones they used.

    Here they are.
    April #'s: Total Viewers Vs. April '05
    Total day:

    FNC CNN MSNBC HLN CNBC
    April '06: 787 423 249 216 187
    April '05: 822 529 249 235 125
    % change: -4% -20% 0% -8% +50%

    Primetime:

    FNC CNN MSNBC HLN CNBC
    April '06: 1,433 701 370 360 180
    April '05: 1,511 893 343 274 131
    % change: -5% -22% +8% +31% +37%

    Bob_K (e05609)

  16. D’oh!
    I see what the times did. They didn’t inform the reader that the figures they were citing were for the 25-54 demo. and not all viewers.

    Here’s the 25-54 demo.

    April #'s: 25-54 Demo Vs. April '05
    Total day:

    FNC CNN MSNBC HLN CNBC
    April '06: 207 135 96 84 65
    April '05: 262 176 94 99 44
    % change: -21% -23% +2% -15% +48%

    Primetime:

    FNC CNN MSNBC HLN CNBC
    April '06: 312 172 143 115 87
    April '05: 383 277 124 93 67
    % change: -19% -38% +15% +24% +30%

    Bob_K (e05609)

  17. The emphasis is defensible if you grant that Fox News is much more important than CNN. For example an article on a stock market crash might highlight an US market drop of 17% while merely noting that that the Canadian market had also dropped 38%.

    And allow the head of the Canadian stock market to mock the policies of the US market, while allowing his defenses to stand, while scrutinizing mercilessly what the head of the US market had done?

    What you are missing, James, is the unabashed way that the Times article dances on the poor ratings figures of Fox News. The main thrust of the article is devoted to the issue of what Fox is doing wrong. If an article had simply soberly slightly emphasized Fox a bit more, explaining that Fox’s numbers are more important because of its much larger ratings share, that would be one thing. This ridiculous article is quite another.

    Did you actually read it? I recommend that you click through and do so. Then tell me what you thought.

    The parentheticals are just inexcusable.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  18. Although I believe Klein is certainly a partisan, I do think there is a kernal of truth in his statements regarding Fox’s ratings drop. As a Conservative first and a Republican second, I find myself much less inclined to watch Fox or read certain blogs (e.g. Redstate, Polipundit) that sometimes seem to argue the need to sacrifice Conservative principals for some greater Republican party good.

    With Republican control of the Presidency, House and Senate we have domestic spending increases not seen since Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, amnesty proposals for illegal aliens and a inexplicable reluctance to confirm Conservative judges. It turns my stomach. I have absolutely no desire to spend my time watching or reading those that seem like cheerleaders for this bunch.

    Still, that doesn’t explain or excuse the LA Times. They don’t even seem to try and hide the bias anymore. I’m certain they view the rise of the “Right-wing media” as justification for the overall slanted coverage. They aren’t going to change, I wish they would just admit it and be done with it.

    Jeff C. (428193)

  19. By printing articles like that, they’re admitting their inbred partisan approach (see: declining circulation).

    Vermont Neighbor (a9ae2c)

  20. I, for one, would absolutely deny a leftist bias at CNN.

    That they would allow Saddam Hussein to monitor and censor their reports, and not broadcast a regular disclaimer in this regard, that they would trumpet Saddam’s reelection as somehow legitimate, that their director would blithely accuse US soldiers of “targeting” journalists means that they are merely anti-American, or, to paraphrase Orwell, objectively pro-Saddam.

    Not even the entire Left is anti-American with such consistency.

    In addition, they are not “biased,” necessarily, in the sense that they are politically leaning to one side. They are merely unethical journalists, whose sense of proper reportage would bring shame to a high school newspaper.

    Lurking Observer (7f220b)

  21. This is reminiscent of a story I once heard about an automobile race in Berlin shortly after World War II — a Russian Moskvitch raced against an American Ford. Pavda reported the result as, “The Soviet Moskvitch placed second, but the American Ford was next-to-last!”

    Mike G in Corvallis (089848)

  22. Glenn Beck, a conservative radio blow-hard, is on CNN in primetime now. Yeah, what a liberal station CNN is.
    http://www.ajc.com/business/content/business/stories/0505bizwebbeck.html

    Psyberian (dd13d6)

  23. I don’t know, FoX News losing 17% is way bigger news than CNN dropping 38%, which for CNN is the equivalent of about 12 viewers.

    JAF (182e86)

  24. Actually, in defense of the headline and thrust of the piece, it actually IS news that Fox is losing viewers and it isn’t much news at all that CNN is doing so. Fox has been doing very well in recent years, so a drop, even a smaller one, is significant. CNN hemmorhaging viewers is “same-old same-old”.
    Of course, the quoting of CNN execs is indefensible as are the explanations, but a 2 paragraph story highlighting Fox’s decline wouldn’t have been biased.

    Zach (2998ab)

  25. Beck isn’t on CNN. He’s on CNN Headline News, a totally different animal on a totally different part of the dial.

    Laddy (b10318)

  26. I think the reason that both CNN and Foxnews are down in viewership is the format. I hate watching talking heads! It is a waist of my time. Give me the news (“Just the fact’s mam”) and don’t talk about it endlessly over and over again especially if you are speculating. Both CNN and Foznews do this. I will not watch either.

    All hail Drudge!

    Semper Gumby (a8a817)

  27. A Perfect Storm Of Media Bias

    So I was moseyin’ around the blogosphere this morning, looking for some better news than what I’ve been posting lately. Patterico has a hilarious analysis of media bias this morning titled L.A. Times: Extra! Extra! Fox News’s Ratings Pl…

    euphoricreality.net (20aa0c)

  28. The obvious story here is the implosion of CNN. Naturally Fox can easily recover from a 17% decline because of it’s lofty ratings. Can CNN stay on the air if keeps hemorrhaging viewers?

    Capitalist Infidel (b6f4f6)

  29. Kind of reminds me of an old Soviet news story covering a competition between a US athlete and a Soviet athlete. “The Soviet athlete came in a respectable 2nd place while the US athlete came in next to last place.”

    There were only these two athletes so the story was true. Would have been reported the same way by the LATimes.

    Retired Navy Chief (e4adad)

  30. Maybe Fox News Ratings are down because of some of their anaylsts have become too liberal (Wesley Clark comes to mind along with Bob Beckel)

    George (caee0e)

  31. It's a Beautiful Thing

    Patterico has a glorious rant about --what else? -- bias in the Los Angeles Times. A mere taste: So, let me get this straight. CNN did worst, dropping 38%; Fox dropped 17%; and MSNBC gained 16%. Fox is just about in the middle. So natur…

    Yippee-Ki-Yay! (02b366)

  32. Fox News Channel went to hell when they signed Geraldo Rivera.

    And what’s with all this rock and roll music nowadays, anyway?

    McGehee (5664e1)

  33. What is it with the left’s infatuation with Fox News? In those NPR weekend shows that have an audience, every joke that has “Fox News Channel” in it somewhere gets a huge laugh. These guys are giddy with hate.

    Wesson (c20d28)

  34. The writer’s take is definitely contrived and doesn’t jibe with the facts he cites. However, this is a column, not a regular news article. Columns are supposed to have a personal point of view.

    I would hope the Times ran an actual news article pointing out how CNN’s ratings have cratered.

    Bradley J. Fikes (e7ae94)

  35. You make the call:

    The AP headline reads, “Report: Duke Response to Rape Charges Slow.”

    Yet, in the third paragraph we learn: ” The woman initially told police she was raped by 20 white men, then said she was attacked by three, the report said.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060509/ap_on_sp_co_ne/duke_lacrosse_5

    Black Jack (d8da01)

  36. The examples of media bias abound. But the MSM won’t report on it. Go figure. 😉

    Great work, Patterico. These kind of stories almost write themselves. The LA Times is the punchline to its own joke.

    California Conservative (e362dc)

  37. While I’d like to chime in on Fox news, I can’t, since Dish network doesn’t carry it on their basic package. Anyone want to speculate why I get CNN and MSNBC, but no Fox news?

    I agree with Semper Gumby. I don’t want to watch “talking heads” rehash the same old stuff all day, although I realize we need to update those who’ve “just tuned in.” This is why I much prefer starting with Michelle Malkin in the morning. Yes, she’s conservative and reports on things that concern me as a conservative. And that’s the way I like it! I proudly claim my conservative bias!!! But, what I also like about Michelle is that she’s not afraid to criticize the prez or any other Republican, which is good for the party, I think.

    BTW: Never been to California Patterico, but love to read your blog!

    Lyric Mezzo (428353)

  38. Media Bias – Say it ain’t S0!

    I’ve been reading through some of my favorite blogs this morning and ran across a story at Euphoric Reality that I just can’t pass up passing along.
    As hard as it is to believe, the media has a way of phrasing things so that the facts sound…

    Blue Star Chronicles (722ffb)

  39. With CNN’s plunge and MSNBC’s growth, when will we see airports change their TVs from CNN to MSNBC?

    FNC? Do we really want the unhinged wing of the left setting themselves on fire on airport tarmacs?

    Sweetie (f6fb72)

  40. Fun with numbers, or ways of framing a story…

    …………2005……2006…..%change…..#change
    FNC…….383………312……..-19%……….-71
    CNN……277………172……..-38%………-105
    MSNBC..124………143……..+15%……..+19
    HLN……..93……….115…….+24%……..+22
    CNBC……67………..87…….+30%……..+20
    Total…..944………827……..-12%…….. -115

    The last line, “Fox News didn’t get to be No. 1 by avoiding tough issues. Why start now?” is probably the most accurate in the whole article, and had it been the lead, would have justified Times’ focus on FNC – focus on FNC as a harbinger for the industry. Highlighting MSNBC’s 15% gain dishonestly gives the impression that O’Reilly’s lose is Olbermann’s gain. But by looking at primarily percentage changes, the LATimes obscures the fact that as a whole, cable news lost 12% of its viewership.

    Now my fun with numbers*…
    Presuming standard leanings, all of CNBC’s gains and half of HLN’s gains only account for 31,000 viewers leaving 40,000 FNC right-center viewers unaccounted for. Similarly, MSNBC and HLN pick up 30,000 of CNN’s viewers leaving 75,000 left-center viewers unaccounted. That’s right folks, 75,000 lefty viewers per hour fled cable news compared to 40,000 righties.

    Of course that analysis is just as sophomoric and superficial as the LATimes article, but it does exemplify how numbers can be used to “prove” a point. Not surprising however, that one never sees the LATimes manipulating the data that way.

    (*I’m presuming units here – cant find them listed at the source)

    bains (b7cdc0)

  41. A perspective from one who cares little for either Fox or its rivals: like the vast majority of educated Americans, I pay little attention to national TV news unless there’s a breaking story with a compelling visual angle (eg Katrina disaster). The coverage on everything else is truncated into tiny bite-sized morsels, the analysis is lame, and most of the world’s big stories are ignored altogether. How many stories do we see about the increasingly disturbing trend of events in Russia? South Africa? How about Japan’s economic recovery? Could we have an intelligent piece on outsourcing that does not descend into horror stories and know-nothingism?

    As to the right-left foodfight, I suspect many are, like me, left cold by the slanging match between one network’s bullying blowhard and the smirking sportscaster; for the life of me I can’t understand why the New Yorker pays attention to this scrap between this pair of “weasels who are fighting in a hole.”

    The big story, IMHO? The basic irrelevance of superficial, lame, irrelevant TV news of *any* stripe, be it right, left or whatever.

    thibaud (74f733)

  42. This is an opinion column, not a news story or article. You either don’t understand the difference, or you are intentionally obscuring this central fact. Probably the latter, given your serial lying.

    The collapse of Fox and O’Reilly, and the possible reasons, is what the writer wanted to focus on. That is his perogative. Besides, the collapse of the ratings leader, given its fast rise to the top, is the story.

    drummaster (74c3ec)

  43. Drummaster, you’re right about the opinion column issue, but there’s no need to accuse anyone of lying. As a reporter, I’ve observed that those conventions of opinion column vs. news article can be missed by those outside the tent. Patterico was just hasty in this instance and jumped to an faulty conclusion.

    Bradley J. Fikes (e7ae94)

  44. How long before CNN shows a boost from the whiners in the White House Press Pool?

    john p. (df06fa)

  45. There’s an easy explanation for this. Actually two.

    The Lakers made it back to the playoffs.

    The NHL is back on the ice.

    TNugent (6128b4)

  46. Wesson – I’ve had a fairly visceral dislike for Fox news ever since I saw the streaming caption, during one of its news shows a few years ago, which said “Shiites fight with Muslims in Iraq.”

    If that’s at all representative of the quality of their reporting, they’re a national disgrace.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  47. Patterico’s Right: This Is Horrible Bias, Even for the LA Time

    Patterico notes the way the Los Angeles Times’ Scott Collins played some recent cable news audience information. The facts are that in the 25-54 demographic, Fox is down 17%, CNN is down 38%, and MSNBC is up 16% off of a very small base.
    Talk a…

    BizzyBlog.com (475ea5)

  48. Rejoice in the fact that the editors of the LA Times feel irresistibly drawn to trash their own credibility in this way even as they report on the results of CNN doing the same thing, and even as their own circulation continues to melt away as a result.

    They can’t help themselves. Which means it’s unlikely they’ll stop, even as the paper’s reputation fades into irrelevancy. Yay.

    ZF (6f173f)

  49. […] Whilst I was writing about the problem of excessive orgasms for some women, Senior Administration Official was cruising Craigslist with the keyword “breast”, and Chad was making really bad comment puns on the above, we missed yet another example of editorial bias with the LAT headline writers. Fortunately Patterico caught it but you can imagine our embarrassment at being so late to the party on this: L.A. Times: Extra! Extra! Fox News’s Ratings Plunge 17%!!!! (In a Much Less Important Story, CNN’s Ratings Slip by a Modest 38%) […]

    Independent Sources » Blog Archive » Blogosphere pans Independent Sources for missing story in its own backyard (dd41d6)

  50. Blogosphere scolds Independent Sources for missing LAT story

    “We should have had our eye on the ball,” admits Insider
    Whilst I was writing about the problem of excessive orgasms for some women, Senior Administration Official was cruising Craigslist with the keyword “breast”, and Chad wa…

    Independent Sources (dd41d6)

  51. […] So why isn’t CNN the focus of this article? Why didn’t CNN earn the headline instead of Dick Cheney’s favorite news channel? Because, as Patterico would point out, that’s not the message the L.A. Times was intending to leave its dwindling readership with. […]

    TOBY PETZOLD » Blog Archive » Hatin’ on a Playah (54b5e8)

  52. All three branches of government.
    Powerful corporations pulling their strings.
    The #1 rated cable “news” network.
    And still you whine. Whine, whine, whine.
    Seriously, just clam up until the Dems have Congress back, OK?

    Theo (cc7764)

  53. #52
    How will the Dems get Congress back? In order to get votes, you have to have a plan. The Dems are victims, not problem solvers.

    Vermont Neighbor (a9ae2c)

  54. I am more interested in the MSNBC numbers and the reason for their increase.
    I have a personal reason for the interest, you see I live in Sacramento and right after the first illegal alien march MSNBC started piping Spanish subtitles at me which I have no way of turning off.
    I am wondering if this bump in viewers is in fact a result of the network pandering to Mexicans. Also I am wondering how widespread these Spanish subtitles are. I suppose they’re not national but they can’t be restricted to my TV.

    Papertiger (71415b)

  55. CNN viewership down? Yeah, I guess that really is a dog bites man story.

    sharon (fecb65)

  56. Bradley J. Fikes,

    I will have much more to say to drummaster aka jmaharry later. In the meantime, please explain the logic behind your claim that the cited piece is an “opinion column.” I’d like to know how you came to that conclusion. Because I gotta tell you: if it is, it sure doesn’t come across that way to the casual reader.

    — Naive Media Know-Nothing Patterico

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  57. Here is a link to the list of LAT columnists. I don’t see Scott Collins listed there. Nor was the piece in the opinion section.

    I see that the piece has a small designation at the top: “Channel Island.” Perhaps that means it is a television column. If so, the editors sure don’t make that point clear. And even if it is a television column, we have a biased and unreasonable columnist, rather than an biased and unreasonable reporter. It doesn’t excuse the excessive focus on the network that did twice as well as CNN.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  58. Patterico:

    The column is plainly labeled as such. (Online, it’s only given the column label on the end, but it has the “Channel Island” tag at top.)

    Columns are supposed to give a personal point of view. Writers are free to give voice to opinions in columns that are not allowed in news stories. That’s SOP in the news business. I do this at my own paper with my Sci-Tech column.

    You should talk about this with Evan Maxwell. I do agree that the Times should be clearer online about labeling its columns.

    — Bradley

    Bradley J. Fikes (e619fc)

  59. Ah. I see the designation at the end now.

    Again: so we have a ridiculous obsession with Fox by a columnist instead of a news reporter. It doesn’t change the thrust of my complaint. If it had been Tim Rutten, I still would have mocked it.

    But for clarity’s sake, I’ll do an update later this evening, once the kids are in bed.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  60. “And even if it is a television column, we have a biased and unreasonable columnist, rather than an biased and unreasonable reporter.”

    I agree that the take was strange, focusing on Fox’s drop and downplaying CNN’s much larger one. But biased? Unreasonable? You’re applying news article standards to a column.

    Of course, you can argue that there are too many LAT columnists biased toward the left, and not enough biased toward the right or center. But that’s a different matter.

    Bradley J. Fikes (e619fc)

  61. Columnists, and columns, can be biased and unreasonable. You are claiming that being a columnist insulates you from the charge of being unreasonable? Spoken like a columnist.

    Had I realized that it was a column, I would have directed more vitriol at the writer and less at the editors. That’s about it.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  62. “Again: so we have a ridiculous obsession with Fox by a columnist instead of a news reporter. It doesn’t change the thrust of my complaint. If it had been Tim Rutten, I still would have mocked it.”

    Uh, Rutten is a media columnist and associate features editor, not a news reporter. You still appear to be missing the distinction between news coverage and other sections of the paper.

    I’d like you to show the same standard of factuality you showed about Hiltzik. Not reading a piece to the end can cause misunderstandings.

    Bradley J. Fikes (e619fc)

  63. “Had I realized that it was a column, I would have directed more vitriol at the writer and less at the editors. That’s about it.”

    My point precisely!

    Bradley J. Fikes (e619fc)

  64. Well, that’s fair enough, and will be the point of my update later.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  65. Columns don’t go by an editor? They demoted Hiltzik for “pseudonymity”. Ladeedah for them. They can feel morally superior while twisting all to hell slanting stories like this. As a saving grace, they did do it very obviously. It’s not a reflection on our host to say that the bias was immediately apparent to anyone with the ability to read the column. I, for one, would never have read it until he brought it to my attention. So the columnist is preaching to the choir. Telling the leftie readership base of the LAT what they want to hear. And anyone without a leftie bias and the ability to read without moving his lips will recognize it as BS.

    nk (947b03)

  66. Oh, I think the editor deserves blame too. Just not as much as if it were a news column.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  67. I added the update, 1) castigating jmaharry aka drummaster for pretending he’s someone else, and using that identity to suggest that I’m a liar; and 2) noting that the piece is a column.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  68. If I were editing that column, I’d certainly ask the writer to give more context. (What were the actual ratings, not just the percentage change?)

    If the author wanted a novel take, he could have written about MSNBC’s rise, nearly as high in percentage terms as Fox’s loss. However, since MSNBC has lower ratings than Fox, that gain is not as impressive in actual viewership as it seems on the surface.

    Or maybe this all passed over the editor’s head. There are plenty of ways to play with numbers and percentages, and journalists tend not to be the best with figgers.

    Bradley J. Fikes (e619fc)

  69. Uh, Rutten is a media columnist and associate features editor, not a news reporter. You still appear to be missing the distinction between news coverage and other sections of the paper.

    “Uh,” that was my point, Bradley. I already knew that Rutten is a media columnist, and I was making the point that I still would have shown plenty of vitriol even if it had been someone like him, whom I already recognized as a columnist.

    If you hadn’t been so quick to condescend, maybe you would have actually understood my point. Do you understand it now?

    “Had I realized that it was a column, I would have directed more vitriol at the writer and less at the editors. That’s about it.”

    My point precisely!

    “Uh,” no, that wasn’t your point, precisely. Your quote was: “I agree that the take was strange, focusing on Fox’s drop and downplaying CNN’s much larger one. But biased? Unreasonable? You’re applying news article standards to a column.”

    Perhaps you didn’t mean it to be taken this way, but that sentence clearly implies that a columnist is immune from criticism for writing columns that are so biased that they are unreasonable.

    That certainly appeared to be your point, anyway. Based on the way you expressed it.

    I’d like you to show the same standard of factuality you showed about Hiltzik. Not reading a piece to the end can cause misunderstandings.

    Well, actually, I did read to the end of the piece. I just didn’t read the italicized stuff below the end of the piece.

    But, as I say, I don’t think it invalidates my criticism. It just changes the main target of my anger.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  70. Speaking of newsrooms and crazy decisions, I’m glad they didn’t hand off the 6:00 news to Ryan Seacrest.
    Dan Rather into Ryan Seacrest. It could’ve happened.

    Vermont Neighbor (a9ae2c)

  71. Why would you take it upon yourself to disclose the prior screen name I used for posting? I changed it because it’s too similar to my real name, and because of the venemous and threatening email and phone calls I received from your readers, some of whom used that earlier name to track down my personal email and phone number. Now, you go ahead and reveal it. This is a vicious, unethical act.

    Besides, I thought your problem with Hiltzik was his ‘sock puppetry,’ (your infantile phrase), and not his use of a pseudonym.

    BTW, your writing and thinking is sloppy, as usual. You state: ‘“drummaster” (is) masquerading as jmaharry.’ Which is the reverse of what you’re trying to say. Of course, in fact, I’m not masquerading more any than any commenter who relies on a pseudonym; I’m using a different screen name, which is any commenter’s prerogative, espcially when a prior name leads to threats.

    drummaster (74c3ec)

  72. Why would I publish the fact that you are jmaharry? Because on most blogs it’s a banning offense. And you never once e-mailed me or commented to say that you were being threatened by my readers.

    Let’s find out if any of these claims are really true, jmaharry.

    You have posted as jmaharry all over the Web. What is your evidence that it is my readers who contacted you?

    I am not going to take your word for it that you have been threatened. Prove it, and prove that it’s my commenters that did it. If you can prove it, and it’s truly threatening as you call it, and we can identify who did it, the commenter(s) will be banned instantly.

    Any truly threatening e-mail loses any claim on privacy. The same goes for their e- mail addresses. Publish it/them right now, right here in these comments.

    I bet you don’t, because I bet you can’t back up your claims. I bet they are, at a minimum, exaggerations — if not fabricated entirely. I bet they are a flimsy excuse for your cowardly act in taking potshots at me under a name other than jmaharry, because you have been embarrassed by your performance here under that name.

    But I don’t know that I’m right about this. It’s my suspicion. So prove me wrong. Substantiate these serious accusations you have made against my commenters.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  73. Here is how the Atlanta Journal Constitution covered the numbers in Saturday’s paper as a sidebar to a story on Glen Beck’s new show:
    *****************
    TALKING IT UP
    Larry King has interviewed people on CNN for two decades. But cable TV is now filled with talk programs. Here’s a glimpse at April ratings for several hosts. Note that April 2005 ratings were boosted partly due to coverage of the death of Pope John Paul II.
    Bill O’Reilly, Fox News Channel
    > Average weeknight viewers in April: 2.1 million
    > Percentage change from April 2005: -3%
    Sean Hannity & Alan Colmes, Fox
    > Average weeknight viewers in April: 1.57 million
    > Percentage change from April 2005: -4%
    Greta Van Susteren, Fox
    > Average weeknight viewers in April: 1.43 million
    > Percentage change from April 2005: -4%
    Larry King, CNN
    > Average weeknight viewers in April: 1.07 million
    > Percentage change from April 2005: -15%
    Lou Dobbs, CNN
    > Average weeknight viewers in April: 817,000
    > Percentage change from April 2005: +46%
    Nancy Grace, CNN Headline News
    > Average weeknight viewers in April: 580,000
    > Percentage change from April 2005: +29%
    Keith Olbermann, MSNBC
    > Average weeknight viewers in April: 452,000
    > Percentage change from April 2005: +35%
    Chris Matthews, MSNBC
    > Average weeknight viewers in April: 437,000
    > Percentage change from April 2005: +34%
    Sources: Nielsen Media Research, CNN
    *****************
    The AJC prominently displayed the Fox News shows’ declines, but also included the explanation that the April year-to-year numbers are skewed by the Pope J2P2 passing coverage.

    Steve Barton (b4c0fa)

  74. jmaharry,

    The crickets are chirping. Show us your evidence — or let your silence stand as evidence that my suspicions are true.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  75. Why would I post information that would only engender further vitriol and abuse directed to me? That is why I changed screen names to begin with. I inferred they were from your readers as the messages referred to subjects and specific posts on your blog.

    To be accurate, I do not post ‘all over the Internet’ as jmaharry. Half a dozen places, maybe, including CoffeeGeek, a blog for Roland Drums and AimeeMann.com.

    drummaster (74c3ec)

  76. You could post the content of the messages to 1) dispel the increasingly likely inference that your explanation is not true, and 2) accomplish the banning of any commenter who was truly threatening to you — which I have promised.

    In short, I’m not buying it. Your refusal to post any shred of proof of your story is exactly what I expected. It strongly suggests that you simply couldn’t handle posting as jmaharry, because you had disgraced yourself here under that name — so you sneaked in here under a different name and slandered me.

    If you had a good reason to do it, that’s one thing. But if you didn’t, as now seems increasingly likely, then you’re just a coward.

    My guess: you’ll continue to refuse to post any evidence, snorting huffily that you don’t need to prove anything to me or my readers. That’s nonsense, of course — you made a serious accusation and should back it up. But I’m betting you won’t, because I think you made it all up.

    Prove me wrong.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  77. Might be the return of Hiltzik. At a new computer, trying to stir things up? Who knows.

    Vermont Neighbor (a9ae2c)

  78. Maybe I would’ve noted this article had I read my LA Times, but then again they haven’t delivered my paper in a while. Oh, oops, I forgot to pay my bill.

    Your post helps explain that deliquency.

    Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest) (d8da01)

  79. FWIW I kind of doubt that most folks think about whether or not they like the political slant of CNN or Fox when they decide to tune in. What Fox does is just more interesting I’d guess – although I rarely watch either of them.

    I love this part: “Some recent ratings news no doubt gladdened the hearts of Fox News Channel haters”. Why would Fox news haters be thrilled with CNN having double the drop in viewership Fox had in the same period? The world wonders.

    Psyberian are you seriously arguing that CNN is not a liberal network? Please let us know. I read and respond to you normally because you at least seem to have a foot on Earth. I you’re one of these guys that argues there isn’t a liberal tilt to the media that would mean I have seriously misjudged you.

    Dwilkers (a1687a)

  80. “Larry King Live” is CNN’s highest rated show, even though its ratings have slipped in recent years. Last Friday night, Christopher Lawford, son of Pat Kennedy and Peter Lawford and a cousin to Rep. Patrick Kennedy was on to discuss addiction in general (Lawford has had his troubles) and Rep. Kennedy in particular. It has been said that King seems disinterested in his show’s guests and topics lately, and this show was a prime example. According to the transcript, King made the comment to Lawford that he “married into the (Kennedy) family”, when he actually was born into it. It seemed that King got the younger Lawford confused with his father, who has been dead for a few years. Later, King said to guest Mariette Hartley that she was “into depression.” Hartley tried to laugh it off, and King corrected himself to say “dealing with depression.”

    I think it maybe time for Larry to hang up the suspenders and pack it in.

    ClericalGal (d2537c)

  81. Dwilkers, no self-respecting bastion of liberalism would hire Glenn Beck to be on a primetime show. So no, I don’t see CNN as a liberal network. So you think Larry King shows liberal bias?

    I think that most conservatives label anyone who steps on republican toes as a liberal. The only way to make such republicans happy is to fill the airtime with republican sycophants. What a way to run a democracy – by groupthink, patting one another on the shoulder and saying: “Heck-of-a-job.”

    Psyberian (dd13d6)

  82. Psyberian, there may be some conservatives like that, but most of us don’t consider FoxNews liberal, and it’s not as though they never step on Republican toes. Refresh my memory: who was it that broke the Bush DUI story, mere days before the 2000 election, thereby costing him the popular vote and every nearly the electoral one as well?

    Nope, the problem isn’t with journalists who step on Republican toes, but with journalists who seek out Republican toes upon which to step and, more importantly, avoid equally exposed toes that happen to be attached to Democrats.

    Xrlq (f52b4f)

  83. I am boggled by the “logic” that a network that puts a con on the payroll suddenly becomes illiberal.

    To put it in real small words that even the logic challenged should be able to understand what bothers Cons about news coverage is bias in their NEWS reporting, not in their entertainment programming.

    Is Larry King liberal? No idea. I haven’t watched that program even one time. The Oprah’s and Kings and Rosies of the world are decidely uninteresting to me.

    Using your logic psyberian the LATines is no longer a liberal paper since they hired Goldberg and the NYTimes is conservative because they have David Brooks.

    Dwilkers (a1687a)

  84. Just listen to the chirping crickets. It appears jmaharry has slandered the commenting community here without cause.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  85. I think 95 or more percent of the time when people toss that out they’re flat out lying Patterico. Nobody threatened them. Saying that makes them feel important or sympathetic or something.

    Of course he says phone calls so it is unproveable there, but he should be able to provide the e-mail, no? “Proof” would be forwarding them to you in their entirety including the headers of course, not just a supposed cut and paste job BTW. A copy of the supposed “contents” would establish exactly nothing.

    Dwilkers (a1687a)

  86. I am boggled by the “logic” that a network that puts a con on the payroll suddenly becomes illiberal.

    It’s the ideological version of “some of my best friends are black.”

    Xrlq (f52b4f)

  87. #81
    Psyberian, this is why FNC was launched, in response to newspapers and network news bias.

    (What a way to run a democracy – by groupthink, patting one another on the shoulder and saying: “Heck-of-a-job.”)

    Vermont Neighbor (a9ae2c)

  88. The angry Left can’t tolerate dissent.

    Lou Dobbs at CNN insists the public debate over illegal immigration actually identify them as “illegal” rather than gloss over their actual status and refer to them as “immigrants.” Dobbs refuses to knuckle under to the Left’s propaganda frame, so ideologues in the diversity crowd conclude that CNN must be in league with Karl Rove.

    Another example, the card carrying Lefty, Richard Cohen, wrote about Stephen Colbert and his embarrassingly unfunny performance at the White House Correspondents’ dinner. His opinion differed from the angry Left’s talking points. So he got over 3500 emails calling for his scalp and threatening the tortures of the damned.

    No dissent is allowed, freedom of expression is forbidden, no discouraging words tolerated by the angry Left. Tow the party line or be consigned to the flames of the Left’s hit squads.

    Black Jack (d8da01)

  89. “Perhaps you didn’t mean it to be taken this way, but that sentence clearly implies that a columnist is immune from criticism for writing columns that are so biased that they are unreasonable.”

    Not immune from criticism, Patterico. *Nothing* in the media is immune from criticism.

    But the columnist didn’t violate journalistic ethics or the standard of impartiality that a news story should have. Columns are supposed to have opinions. Where you went wrong was holding it up as an example of the Times’ institutional bias.

    The problem with the column was not that it expressed an opinion or bias, but that the opinion/bias so blatantly didn’t match the facts presented in the column. Passages like this show you didn’t understand that point:

    “Obviously, the real story here is that Fox’s ratings went down. There’s no bias there. That’s just solid, down-the-middle news judgment.”

    Missing the point completely.

    Bradley J. Fikes (97a885)

  90. Why does Fox lead?

    There are 4 or 5 major liberal media outlets. They divide the 50% of the country that is blue state minded.

    Fox concentrates the 50% that is red state minded.
    So by taking a different side and being the only ones they automatically have higher market share.

    Eduardo Alvarez (2a713a)

  91. Maybe Fox News Ratings are down because of some of their anaylsts have become too liberal (Wesley Clark comes to mind along with Bob Beckel)

    That’s why I stopped watching. I know they have to include the odd liberal for balance, but they don’t have to consistently include ones that are that odd. Is there really no better than those 2? And Geraldine Ferraro… c’mon, you guys — why not just get Jimmy Carter and be done with it?

    Batfink

    Batfink (de13a1)

  92. […] Patterico beat us to a post about the Los Angeles Times’ Channel Island columnn yesterday, where Scott Collins turned a piece about Fox News Channel’s declining ratings into extended sniping about the network. […]

    Independent Sources » Blog Archive » The Los Angeles Times on Fox News Ratings: Wrong Number (dd41d6)

  93. “Perhaps you didn’t mean it to be taken this way, but that sentence clearly implies that a columnist is immune from criticism for writing columns that are so biased that they are unreasonable.”

    Not immune from criticism, Patterico. *Nothing* in the media is immune from criticism.

    But the columnist didn’t violate journalistic ethics or the standard of impartiality that a news story should have. Columns are supposed to have opinions. Where you went wrong was holding it up as an example of the Times’ institutional bias.

    The problem with the column was not that it expressed an opinion or bias, but that the opinion/bias so blatantly didn’t match the facts presented in the column. Passages like this show you didn’t understand that point:

    “Obviously, the real story here is that Fox’s ratings went down. There’s no bias there. That’s just solid, down-the-middle news judgment.”

    Missing the point completely.

    No. I didn’t “miss the point completely.” I did something different: I made an error, which I corrected when it was pointed out to me. I initially believed that a column was a (Calendar-style, fluffy) news story. Ergo, I criticized the news judgment involved. Had I realized it was a column, I would have mocked the columnist first, and the editors and the institution second. I believe the institution deserves its share of scorn for allowing such tripe into print, but had I known it was a column, I would have criticized the columnist first.

    Once I had my error pointed out to me, I didn’t miss any point entirely — or at all. Indeed, the person who missed the point, by reading my comment in a condescending manner, was you, Bradley. I made the statement:

    Again: so we have a ridiculous obsession with Fox by a columnist instead of a news reporter. It doesn’t change the thrust of my complaint. If it had been Tim Rutten, I still would have mocked it.

    This point makes perfect sense: I know Tim Rutten is a columnist — why, if you read my post all the way to the end, you would have seen that I referred to him as a columnist in my post. My point was, even if I had known that Collins was a columnist, I would have written the same post, but would have criticized the columnist for his idiocy, not the editors for their news judgment.

    Then you came along and treated me like naive old Patterico, who doesn’t even know Tim Rutten is a media columnist. To emphasize the error of my ways, you began your sentence with the word “Uh”:

    Uh, Rutten is a media columnist and associate features editor, not a news reporter.

    “Uh,” I knew that, Bradley. I said so in the post. This comment of yours missed my point entirely.

    I generally like your comments, Bradley. But in this case, you were condescending and, in your condescension, missed the point I was making.

    Also, your language suggested that columnists are immune from being criticized for being unreasonable. Again, if I took it that way, it’s because you wrote it that way.

    I made an error, which I acknowledged. Time to acknowledge a couple of your own.

    I have already explained all of this and find it irrritating to have to explain it again.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  94. Using your logic psyberian the LATines is no longer a liberal paper since they hired Goldberg and the NYTimes is conservative because they have David Brooks. – Dwilkers

    I didn’t make the claim that CNN is a conservative network Dwilkers. I think that FOX pretty much has that niche covered. But hiring a hard right bozo like Glenn Beck who will apparently run a show for an hour every weeknight isn’t exactly a good example of liberal bias now, is it? Desperation maybe, but not liberal bias. If CNN is willing to stoop this low, being liberal is not at the top of their agenda. Sorry you can’t seem to grasp that idea Dwilkers.

    Psyberian (dd13d6)

  95. Patterico,

    I apologize for the condescencion, and for implying you didn’t know Rutten is a columnist (the way you referred to him in relation to news confused me). And I have already clarified that columnists are certainly open to criticism. Strange that anyone would think otherwise.

    But the columnist did nothing journalistically unethical or wrong. He gave his opinion on facts that were accurately given. There was no deception. (“You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts . . .”).

    Ridicule the opinion for being stupid, yes, but to ridicule it for not having “solid, down-the-middle news judgment” — as you did — fundamentally misrepresents what columns are all about.

    Best,

    Bradley

    Bradley J. Fikes (e619fc)

  96. That is a fair, if minor, point. It calls their judgment into question, but to call it “news judgment” in the context of a column makes no sense. I have added a small bracketed update to make this clear. This is little more than a semantic quibble, but it’s a fair one.

    By the way, there is some question about whether the facts were indeed accurately reported. Follow the link in #92 above for more on that.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  97. The Los Angeles Times on Fox News Ratings: Wrong Number

    Patterico beat us to a post about the Los Angeles Times’ Channel Island columnn yesterday, where Scott Collins turned a piece about Fox News Channel’s declining ratings into extended sniping about the network.
    Patterico rightly points out…

    Independent Sources (dd41d6)

  98. You claim I’m a slanderer. A coward.

    Yet, still, the two points I made were accurate enough to force you amend in two places your initial post about the Channel Island column.

    Because, as always, my points were unerringly factual and correct.

    As for your demand that I publish on your site the unhinged email to me — you must be deluded. I don’t want any more abuse than I’ve already recieved.

    As for slander, I guess it’s time you went back to law school. Or a dictionary. My phrase “serial liar,” as it pertains to you is something that I have proven in several posts. The phrase is neither false or malicious. In fact, I have a new favorite epithet for you:

    Patrick Frey, Prevaricator

    drummaster (74c3ec)

  99. Patterico,

    Okay, I’ll follow up on 92.

    Also, have you talked with Evan Maxwell about what I said about the distinction between columns and news articles? His take would be interesting.

    Best,

    Bradley

    Bradley J. Fikes (e619fc)

  100. It is nice to know the % of change of the ratings but what are the RATINGS?

    A multi-millionare can lose 17% of his income and be far better off than I. Likewise someone on minimum wage can get a 16% raise and STILL be for worse off than I.

    Dan Kauffman (0cf47b)

  101. Just read the link at #92. No question that the news story was more informative than the column. And Independent Sources found the buried lede:

    “We also think cable TV news is feeling the effect of free news on the internet even more than print newspapers. The 25-54 numbers drop more than the overall audience because younger cable TV news viewers are moving to the internet for their news.”

    I haven’t seen this explanation anywhere else before. Have you?

    Bradley J. Fikes (e619fc)

  102. drummaster/jmaharry,

    What do you think is going to get you more abuse? Proving your point and showing how badly you have been wronged? Or leaving people with the reasonable belief that you made this story up?

    I cannot imagine anyone heaping abuse on you for proving that you have indeed been threatened by a commenter from this site.

    I am tempted to throw the issue open to readers in a stand-alone post. I could quote generously from your comments in this thread, and note that I have offered to let you prove your points — and that, if you do, I will ban the offending party. In such a post I could note your patently ridiculous assertion that proving your point will lead to abuse. I could then ask people to comment on which course would lead to more deserved abuse: a) proving your assertions; or b) failing to.

    I have a feeling I know which my readers would choose.

    As for your so-called “proof” that I am a serial liar, I hereby challenge you to provide proof of a single, solitary instance where I have lied, as opposed to having made a mistake. The fact that you have noted mistakes of mine and I have readily corrected them is a testament to my *honesty* and not the opposite. Are you indeed so dull that you don’t recognize that simple fact?

    The assertion that someone is a knowing liar is indeed potentially defamatory, and if you don’t know that then you had better study up on some law yourself. I am not the type to sue someone as pathetic as yourself over something like this. But there are others who are. If you are this prone to making reckless accusations, you may eventually run into the type who is. If that happens, you had best know the law.

    As for your speculations about which course would bring you more abuse, would you like me to ask readers in a new post? Or would you simply like to provide the proof?

    Go back and consult the rule book about what to do when you are digging a hole. Come clean and admit you made all this up. It will be tough at first — but in the long run, honesty is always the better policy.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  103. As for your unerring accuracy, jmaharry, I invite readers to examine this. It’s a long laundry list I compiled of flatly inaccurate statements made by you in the very first thread you ever commented on on this site. Once I listed all these inaccuracies, you ran from the thread. Just like you are running from your moral obligation to substantiate the very serious charges you made about my commenters here.

    I let you get away with failing to answer my laundry list then, but if you are going to make the uproariously ridiculous assertion that your facts are always accurate, then I am quite naturally going to throw this long list of laughable statements by you back in your face.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  104. […] Remember that TV column in the L.A. Times that screamed about Fox News’s ratings decline and whispered about CNN’s much larger ratings plunge? […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » More on That TV Column About Fox News and CNN Ratings (421107)

  105. FNC’s numbers are still way beyond CNN & MSNBC combined but I can tell you why this conservative only watches 35 minutes of FNC a day: they’re overrun with liberals. I watch the first 35 minutes of Hume’s show every week night– through the Grapevine segment. That’s it. During the day it’s fluff with ALERTS! about trivial stuff. At night its one shout show after another with liberals spouting hooey at increasing decibel levels. Life’s too short for that noise.

    Ted Dart (4158b8)

  106. CNN liberal? Puh-leeze! CNN’s ratings really started to go in the toilet once they started their lurch rightward to compete with Fox. How much longer you idiots going to whine about the so-called non-existent liberal media? If there really were a liberal media, your little retard of a president would be in the slammer right now.

    It’s amazing how you cons continue to whine like little babies about being victims, yet you are the ones in power. Also pathetic how you can’t hold your own accountable. GW could get caught molesting a small boy on the White House lawn and you would spin it as “Bush supports and cares for children.” Morally and intellectually bankrupt pussies, destined to be the used toilet paper of history, not unlike the Constitution you all continue to wipe your asses on.

    I’m not saying the Democrats are much better, but at least they don’t hate America like you all do. It’s not a black and white, all or nothing world, people. Get your heads out of your asses. REAL PATRIOTS who love their country want it to do the right thing, and will QUESTION EVERYTHING IT DOES, no matter who is in power, and can tell the difference between ‘America the country’ and ‘America the government’. But that would require critical thinking skills, something in short supply on your side, cuz you’re all so damn scared of everything.

    JD Ryan (1a2fae)

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