Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Battle of the news entertainment networks continues

It is said that the news media really loves war -- nothing drives sales quite like a new war. So it is with New Media: there is nothing quite like a war between old media outlets, especially if they involve Fox News, CNN or MSNBC.

So let's see if we can get the timing of this latest "war" correct: First, Fox News goes off on CNN's Nic Robertson and other journalists for, as they alleged, allowing themselves to be use as human shields -- their accusation. Fox News, you see, wouldn't have allowed themselves to be used that way. (As for MSNBC, with Keith Olbermann gone things are starting to slide, see below.)

That brought a now pretty famous reply from Nic Robertson:

In the meantime, Fox News amended its original report that said that Fox News was not represented at the tour of the damaged compound in Tripoli. Instead, they said that while correspondent Steve Harrigan stayed behind at his hotel. Fox News sent a camera crew instead -- oops, and how wonderfully brave of Harrigan to volunteer to stay behind and do his job while the other journalists wasted their time, you know, reporting.

But after Robertson's blast Fox was not going to let the facts get in the way of another round of battle with a rival network. Speaking to the Huffington Post, Harrigan said of Robertson "I think he's dull. I fall asleep when he gives a report."

"Is that heroic what he’s doing?" Harrigan asked. "He puts on his blue blazer and gets on the government bus, and then pats himself on the back and calls that news? Bullshit."

Meanwhile . . . the New York Times reports that CNN ratings have been increasing due to the events in Japan and Libya. According to a Times post today, CNN averaged 678,000 viewers in primetime on Saturday among viewers 25 to 54, while Fox News averaged 353,000, with MSNBC dropping to third at 254,000.

Overall, however, Fox News rated as the second most watched cable channel, though well behind leader USA Network, according to TVNewser from Mediabistro. CNN was ranked ninth in primetime, while MSNBC was 27th. The only "news" show ranked in the top 40 was "The O'Reilly Factor", which I would contend (as would Fox News) is not really a "news" show anyway.