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Lou Dobbs Is Up — But By How Much?

dobbsdec14.jpgCNN’s Lou Dobbs is “up 40 percent,” showing “the highest P25-54 growth in evening news,” according to new ads for Lou Dobbs Tonight. The ad calls the show “hard-hitting and relentless in TV’s most competitive hour.”

But take a look at the fine print. It says: “Year-to-date 12/26/05 – 10/29/06 vs. Year-Ago minus Hurricane Katrina month (12/27/04 – 10/30/05 exc. 8/29/05 – 9/25/05). All data based on P25-54 (000).”

In other words, the comparison to 2005 doesn’t include the abnormally high month following Katrina. With Katrina included, Dobbs is only up six percent in the demo (through October) compared to the year-ago. He’s up 20 percent among total viewers.

“Does Nielsen even check CNN’s ads? Some find it dubious that you can just eliminate a full month,” an e-mailer responds…

> Update: 12:07pm: “I don’t see anything sinister in CNN leaving out the Katrina month in calculating viewer growth,” another e-mailer says. “Katrina was a huge once-in-a-blue-moon anomaly — a giant spike in the data that actually tells you nothing about persistent viewers. Without the spike, you see actual trends.”

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