Fox News, after dominating CNN, MSNBC, and other cable media outlets in the ratings for well over a decade, is no longer the unquestioned king of cable news.
The news of Fox News’ demise was captured in a press release from CNN, which claims that it bested the Rupert Murdoch-owned news channel “for the fifth time in the last eight months in M-Su prime time (four of the past eight in M-F prime) among adults 25-54.”
AdWeek says it was “the fourth time in the past eight months that CNN has won the demo in prime time.”
“In April, CNN had the most growth of any television network (cable or broadcast) among both total viewers and adults 25-54, increasing triple digits in prime time,” CNN continued.
Among the other highlights from the press release are the following.
- CNN has narrowed its viewer gap with Fox News (-9 percent) to its lowest level since October 2008.
- CNN beat Fox News in its viewership from the 25-54 demographic in April.
- CNN’s afternoon shows, The Lead with Jake Tapper and The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, have seen increased viewership of 48 percent and 60 percent, respectively, from the 25-54 demographic in the last year.
- For the 7 p.m. time slot, Erin Burnett Outfront has widened the gap significantly with its Fox News rival, On The Record with Greta Van Susteren, from -18 percent a year ago to -7 percent today.
- For the 8 p.m. time slot, Anderson Cooper is number two in the time slot in both total viewers (1.005 million) and the 25-54 demographic (310k).
- CNN beats Fox News in all weekend programming in the 25-54 demographic.
The shift in ratings was first seen in December by Variety, which noticed a three percent decline in the 25-54 demographic for Fox News (209,000 viewers), and a 19 percent jump by CNN (151,000 viewers).
Why The Ratings Shift for Fox News, CNN?
Certainly one reason for the CNN boost has been its coverage of the presidential primaries, which according to The Wall Street Journal has played “a major role in doubling its prime-time audience” in the past year.
As with Fox News, CNN has also hosted a number of town hall meetings with the candidates, which have garnered heavy ratings.
But many are wondering if Fox News’ losses to CNN might be attributable to a perceived pro-Donald Trump bias in its reporting. Examples abound.
Today, Trump surrogate Allen West complained to Neil Cavuto that it’s “deceitful” to say that Donald Trump does not have the support of the majority of Republicans. To which Cavuto replied, “You’re absolutely right. You’re absolutely right.”
But according to Real Clear Politics, while Trump leads the other GOP candidates, more than half of the voters have selected other candidates.
On March 4, Eric Bolling of The Five referred to Trump’s flip-flopping on torturing terrorists as “refreshing.”
On the April 20 edition of Fox News’ Hannity, Sean Hannity re-broadcast a portion of his radio show which featured a heated exchange with Texas senator Ted Cruz. Hannity asked Cruz about about his going to the Georgia state Republican convention, and talking delegates into supporting him in the second round of balloting. Cruz began to respond, “The only people asking me this question are the hard-core Donald Trump supporters.”
Hannity then angrily cut Cruz off, yelling, “Why do you do this? Every single time I have you on the air, you throw this in my face. I’m getting sick of it!”
But later on in the Hannity episode, Hannity bizarrely stated that he had no problem with candidates “courting” delegates — which is why he was purportedly angry with Cruz.
But perhaps most surprising is Megyn Kelly, who had a long feud with Trump after the first GOP debate last August — this led to his boycotting her show. The Fox News star had Cruz on her show last Thursday, April 28.
Cruz said that Clinton and Trump agree “in many respects on Obamacare,” to which Kelly disagreed, saying that Trump is against it. The two argued this point for several minutes.
Kelly then moved on, using Trump’s talking point that “the person who enters the convention with the most delegates” should get the nomination, even if he does not have a majority.
What do you think? Is Fox News too pro-Trump, and has this hurt them in the ratings?
[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]