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Archives: July 2006

Middle East Conflict: CNN Combines “Visceral ” & Intelligent Analysis

amanpourjuly31.jpgCNN is trying to explore the larger geopolitical questions raised by the current Middle East conflict, president Jonathan Klein tells the St. Petersburg Times. He says:

“Viewers have short attention spans. They tend to tire of a story and they tend to feel they know the story backward and forward, unless a news organization can provide a layered sense of what is behind the story. You could cover this as a series of rockets fired between one side and another … (but) we’re trying to combine visceral coverage with analysis from intelligent people and academia.”

ABC & CBS Giving ‘Today’ A Free Pass?

“Never before has there been such upheaval in morning television,” J. Max Robins begins in his latest B&C column. “With two of the three players in the throes of major change, the high-stakes game of network morning shows is as close to a free-for-all as it has ever been. Why, then, are ABC and CBS sleeping through this long-awaited opportunity to unseat morning leader NBC?”

He thinkd ABC is taking a “seemingly lackadaisical approach to GMA,” and CBS “has the resources to relaunch only one show this fall,” the Evening News. Here’s the full analysis…

The Ticker: Cavuto, Blitzer, Wershba…

> Don’t miss this illustration of CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on a treadmill…

> Neil Cavuto‘s exclusive interview with President Bush airs at 4pm today…

> Tom Shales can’t believe that former CBSer Shirley Wershba recently referred to Chet Huntley and David Brinkley as “Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum.” He says: “Whether exceedingly mean or unbelievably stupid, the remark was ignorant and offensive…”

> A tipster notes: Instead of rerunning CNN Saturday Night and CNN Sunday Night, the net aired CNN International for a couple weekend overnight hours…

> Over the weekend I noted Kiran Chetry‘s absence from Fox & Friends Weekend. She was on Fox & Friends First this morning…

> Here’s a riff on cable news coverage of the Middle East conflict…

> ICN has more Middle East weekend coverage notes…

Ann ‘Hard News’ Curry

“Pick your humanitarian crisis — whether it’s war in the Middle East, starvation in Africa, an earthquake in Pakistan or Hurricane Katrina — and chances are good” that Ann Curry will be there, USA Today’s Peter Johnson writes.

“If I can make Americans care enough to watch and be moved by it and maybe even do something to contribute, to care, to open up their hearts, then that’s my job,” she says. In interviews, she continues to emphasize hard news. She was in Lebanon last week and Israel this week…

Photo: Curry in Southeast Asia after the tsunami

Couric Watch: Meet & Greets In D.C.

Washington Whispers says:Katie Couric is hitting political Washington with a charm offensive, we hear. Her goal: reintroduce herself to key Republicans and Democrats. ‘Katie has been talking to politicians, diplomats, heads of state, and other Washington officials, something all good journalists do,’ says CBS spokeswoman Kelli Edwards. TV sources say Couric has scheduled about two weeks of meet-and-greets. It could be an uphill battle with Republicans, though, since many, including the first family, aren’t fans of hers…”

Pew: FNC’s Credibility Increases Among Republicans, Decreases Among Democrats

> Also: “Republicans are still much more likely than Democrats to say they regularly watch the Fox News Channel (34% for Republicans, 20% for Democrats), while Democrats are more apt to turn to CNN (28% vs. 19% for Republicans).” Or to say it another way: “Democrats are still much more likely than Republicans to say they regularly watch CNN…”

Fox News was the only major news organization NOT to lose overall credibility with viewers since 2004, the latest Pew survey of news consumption shows. In 2004, 25 percent of FNC’s viewers believed all or most of what the network said, and the figure remained unchanged in 2006.

CNN dropped from 32 percent in 2004 to 28 percent in 2006, and MSNBC dropped one point from 22 percent in 2004 to 21 percent in 2006.

The study notes that FNC’s stability “belies the increasingly polarized views of the cable channel. An increasing number of Republicans give Fox News Channel the highest rating for believability, while there has been a comparable decline in ratings among Democrats — doubling the partisan gap in views of the network’s credibility between 2004 and 2006.”

Pew: Evening News Aud. More Polarized

The audience for cable news is still “polarized along partisan and ideological lines,” just as it was in 2004. “But there has been a modest increase in partisan polarization for other news sources,” the latest Pew news consumption survey finds. “The gap between Republicans and Democrats in regular viewership of the nightly network news on ABC, CBS, or NBC is now 14 points, nearly three times as large as it was in 2004; currently, 38% of Democrats regularly watch compared with 24% of Republicans.” (See the chart, above right.) Some other examples of polarization:

> Regular viewers of Bill O’Reilly: 16 percent of Republicans, 5 percent of Democrats. O’Reilly’s audience is 64 percent conservative, 23 percent moderate, and 10 percent liberal.

> Regular viewers of Larry King: 3 percent of Republicans, 7 percent of Democrats. King’s audience is 35 percent conservative, 35 percent moderate, and 24 percent liberal.

> Regular viewers of Jon Stewart: 3 percent of Republicans, 10 percent of Democrats. Stewart’s audience is 19 percent conservative, 33 percent moderate, and 41 percent liberal.

Pew: Evening Newscasts Losing Younger And Older Viewers

Network news is losing regular viewers at both ends of the age spectrum, according to the latest Pew news consumption survey: “Only about one-in-ten Americans (9%) under age 30 say they regularly tune into the nightly network news on CBS, ABC, or NBC;” that’s a significant drop from the 18 percent who said they watched in 2004 (and 19 percent in 2002).

In addition, “roughly four-in-ten of those ages 65 and older say they regularly watch one of the nightly network broadcasts (43%). In 2004 and 2002 (and in previous Pew surveys dating to 1993), solid majorities of seniors tuned into an evening news program. A decade ago, fully 64% of respondents ages 65 and older said they watched one of these programs.”

24 percent of 30 to 49 year olds said they watched regularly (down from 26 percent in 2004) and 38 percent of 50 to 64 year olds said the same (down from 43 percent in 2004). More…

Pew: CNN Still The “Most Trusted Name In News,” But Not By Much

CNN’s promotional tagline, “the most trusted name in news,” is becoming less and less trustworthy. The cable news net still ranks as the most believable television news source — just barely. The latest Pew news consumption survey says: “In 1998, 42% of those familiar enough with CNN to rate the network said they believed all or most of what CNN reported, significantly more than for any broadcast or cable news outlet tested. Today, just 28% give CNN the highest believability rating, a share which is statistically indistinguishable from most other television news sources.”

In other words, “no outlet stands out as most reliable.” 60 Minutes comes in second behind CNN, with 27 percent believing “all or most.”

In the last two years, Democrats have become more skeptical of CNN (and other news outlets). “In 2004, 45% of Democrats gave CNN the highest ratings for credibility, compared with 26% of Republicans. There has been a 13 percentage point drop in views of CNN’s credibility among Democrats in the past two years, significantly shrinking the difference in opinion across party lines.” FNC, on the other hand, “receives the highest credibility rating among Republicans and one of the lowest ratings among Democrats.”

Most Americans “generally give positive credibility ratings” to all the major broadcast sources. “But the share who say they generally do not believe what they see and hear has grown across the board.” Details…

Pew: Who Has The Smartest Audience?

> Update: 2:21pm: “Bill O’Reilly has the ‘second-dumbest’ audience ranking (college grads) in the stats posted on your site,” an e-mailer responds. “And if you go to the link you cited, it’s even more apparent that O’Reilly’s audience is mid-level in the rankings at best — below The Daily Show, CNN, and even Larry King, for chrissakes.”

Bill O’Reilly has one of the oldest audiences in television, but he also has one of the most knowledgeable. That’s according to the latest Pew news consumption survey, which used a three-question quiz to determine if respondents had “high knowledge.” They were asked which party has a majority in the U.S. House, who the current U.S. Secretary of State is, and who the current president of Russia is. Here are some of the results, ranked by percentage of high knowledge viewers:

> 27 percent of O’Reilly Factor viewers have a college degree, identical to the national average. 58 percent are age 50+. 42 percent have high knowledge. Only three audiences in the Pew survey scored higher on high knowledge: Regular readers of New Yorker/Atlantic, regular Rush Limbaugh listeners, and regular Weekly Standard/New Republic readers.

> The Daily Show: 37 percent college grads, 23 percent age 50+, 38 percent high knowledge.

> CNN: 28 percent college grads, 43 percent age 50+, 31 percent high knowledge.

> Evening newscasts: 26 percent college grads, 54 percent age 50+, 30 percent high knowledge.

> Larry King’s audience: 30 percent college grads, 56 percent age 50+, 30 percent high knowledge.

> FNC: 27 percent college grads, 50 percent age 50+, 28 percent high knowledge.

> CNBC: 30 percent college grads, 38 percent age 50+, 23 percent high knowledge.

> MSNBC: 31 percent college grads, 42 percent age 50+, 21 percent high knowledge.

> Morning news: 26 percent college grads, 44 percent age 50+, 20 percent high knowledge.