Thursday, February 11, 2016

News Media Coverage of 2016 Presidential Election - Fair or Biased? Fox, CNN and MSNBC duke it out for ratings!


After the first caucus and primary and the stunning results to the prognostications of political pundits what have we learned?

The most dominant and controversial news media story this election season was the Comcast - MSNBC decision to depoliticize their left-leaning, progressive liberal news slant and attempt to compete as a real journalistic news organization.

Of course, the liberals were shocked and denounced the move, conservative citadel Fox News probably liked the chaos in their competitor, CNN did not like a challenge to their false claim of being the only source of fair and balanced reporting, and the radical mouthpieces of the old MSNBC screamed as they were ushered out the door.

Chris Matthew

Lawrence O’Donnell

In the ensuing months the MSNBC line up went through painful shake ups at the anchor and reporting levels and the results have been interesting to date.  Unfortunately, MSNBC has continued to over-expose the old progressive-liberal anchors, guests, and reporters.

Rachel Maddow

Chris Hayes

People like Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, and Lawrence O’Donnell continue to trash Republicans in general, Trump in particular, and anyone not agreeing with their leftist views.  The result for the New Hampshire primary, Fox garnered 4.17 million viewers, CNN 2.73 million viewers, and MSNBC 1.75 million viewers.

Overall cable news did quite well since all the major networks were running new shows for the Sweeps period.  The Iowa caucus spectacle still drew higher ratings but a real battle between Fox and CNN is in place, and if MSNBC can continue to improve by eliminating the liberal bias and report more news, they could become a major force.

Brian Williams

More than anything else MSNBC needs continuity.  In order to accommodate their anchor egos the election coverage is broken up between the return of Brian Williams and the revolving door of worn out radicals trashing the latest news developments rather than reporting the news.

A single host with alternating partners could solve the problem but the anchor should have no baggage and most MSNBC anchors have baggage.  The sad news is that there are rising stars at MSNBC, the next generation of anchors and reporters, who are free of the bias in their reporting and entertaining to watch.  They are getting lost in the constantly changing faces of election night coverage.

If I wanted to compete with CNN and eventually Fox here are the rising stars I would push to the forefront at MSNBC, the latest of the new journalists you should check out because of their news sense, journalistic principles, charisma, and camera presence.

Chuck Todd

Chuck Todd and Willie Geist are the most underutilized of all on air personalities.  However, Chuck would be a great news analyst while Willie, effectively buried on the ego driven Morning Joe Show, could be one of those rare anchors who do not take themselves too seriously.

Willie Geist

Potential anchors

Steve Kornaski

Gigi Stone Woods


Hallie Jackson

Jane Timm

Kate Snow

Anderson Cooper

Of course CNN has some of the same problem, too many old and worn out anchors and is slow to recognize and promote those fresh voices and faces.  Continuity is also a problem but they do have some underutilized people and new faces.

Erin Burnett

Anderson Cooper remains one of the most unbiased and entertaining anchors on the air and Erin Burnett brings a lot of objectivity to the desk.  Between them, they have helped drive CNN closer to Fox in the ratings.  If they shared the anchor desk throughout the election night broadcast, the results could be interesting.

Here are the rising stars at CNN.


Poppy Harlow


Brianna Keilar

As Variety Magazine reported on the Nielsen survey of the election to date:

February 10, 2016 | 11:23AM PT

Fox News Channel finished on top in both the demo (narrowly over CNN) and total viewers Tuesday as it and the other cable news networks combined for another sizable slice of the viewership pie with coverage of the New Hampshire primary.

Despite going up against all-original sweeps programming on the broadcast networks, Fox News Channel (4.17 million), CNN (2.73 million) and MSNBC (1.75 million) drew 8.65 million viewers during primetime, according to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen. Last night’s tune-in for the cable networks was well above average for a typical Tuesday but couldn’t quite match the record-setting tune-in eight nights earlier for coverage of the surprising results in the Iowa caucuses (10.16 million).

For Fox News, whose Tuesday coverage was anchored by Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly, last night’s average audience represents the second highest ever for a night of primary coverage, behind only its 4.46 million for the Iowa caucuses.

After finishing second to CNN in the key news demo of adults 25-54 on the night of the Iowa caucuses, FNC moved to the top spot on Tuesday. It averaged about 992,000 viewers in the age group, with CNN a close second (951,000) and MSNBC (494,000) drawing about half the total of its rivals.

CNN reported that CNN Digital’s traffic surpassed last week’s record-setting audience on the day of the Iowa Caucuses, with more than 7 million unique visitors and 15 million page views on Nearly 3 million unique users engaged on CNN’s mobile app and there were 13 million unique visitors for CNN Digital overall.

Tuesday night proved to be a big one for Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, who scored huge victories for their respective parties. Next up on the political front are a Democratic debate on Thursday (PBS) and a Republican debate on Saturday (CBS).

No comments: