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OPINION
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The Final 2022 Cable News Ratings

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"Riffed from the Headlines" is Townhall's daily VIP feature with coverage of the deeply flawed aspects of journalism in the nation. We'll look to bring accountability to the mishaps, malaprops, misdeeds, manipulations, malpractice, and manufactured narratives in mainstream media.

12.21.22

Pre-Written Field Reports – CNN

  • If Zelensky is not in our back pocket, we are in Putin’s back pocket.

With Ukraine’s leader (and Time Magazine’s Man of the Year) Volodymyr Zelensky in town to get Jose Biden to cut even more checks for his war effort, CNN’s Manu Raju already had it in mind that we should take out another mortgage to pay the man whatever he wants. He challenged some GOP members on the hill who were less than 100% enthused about shipping over tens of billions of more dollars. 

Note the lack of scale in Raju’s thinking. Once you consider we have dropped over $100 billion on the effort so far – a figure close to double Russia’s entire military budget – and we are not the only country cutting checks to Zelensky, the lack of a reporter’s curiosity in questioning the payout is a clear sign that he has his narrative on the matter already cemented.

Reporting on the Mirror – CABLE NEWS NETWORKS

  • These year-end ratings will not stem the tide of layoffs…

The end-of-the-year viewership numbers have been tabulated, and the three major news networks show how there has been bad news in a noticeable direction. Fox News has largely held steady, reigning as the top network with a bare -1% drop in average viewers from 2021. MSNBC declined by over -20%, and CNN experienced a ghastly loss of one-third of its audience from an already dismal showing last year. All told, Fox’s primetime lineup doubled that of MSNBC and was more than triple the size of CNN. Even those wanting to claim the left-leaning audience was divided have little standing, as the combined numbers for the two also-rans did not add up to the Fox totals.

- "Overall, Fox News Channel finished the year with an average prime time audience of 2.33 million viewers, well ahead of MSNBC (1.208 million viewers) and CNN (730,000 viewers). Fox News was down just 1% from 2021, while MSNBC declined 21% and CNN dropped a massive 33%.

In the key demo, Fox News finished first with 346,000 viewers (down 7%), followed by CNN (174,000 viewers, down 36%) and MSNBC (133,000 viewers, down 39%). Fox News’ victory marks the network’s seventh consecutive year as the most-watched network in cable television, while CNN and MSNBC both had their lowest-rated years in history."

Democrat Custodial Services – CNN

  • Okay, fine – we'll cover the border issues. But we will NOT call it a bad news scenario.

Now that the midterms are over, the networks are showing a slight willingness to cover the border-just-don’t-call-it-a-crisis story. But even as they do, there is a noticeable reluctance to have things cast poorly on Jose Biden. (Look no further than Martha Raddatz’s desperation deflection.) At CNN, they looked at a number of issues taking place at the border, such as the Title 42 limbo, states taking action on their own behalf, and even the cold temperatures in Texas at the moment. Then CNN looked at the important aspect of these influences – it is making things tougher on those poor individuals violating our sovereignty by entering the country illegally.

Body Checking the Fact-Checkers – VERIFY

  • Surely there is a reason for denying the very thing they confirmed.

The fact-check outlet Verify addresses the growing story of the latest product that is becoming scarce – Children’s Tylenol. But in delving into the specifics, the site takes a curious stance of denial.

In declaring that the product is not facing shortages, it basically goes on to say that there are – shortages. It is just that they are localized, which means there is not a shortage…unless you live in those localities, but then it is simply a case of the product being hard to find – WHICH IS TOTALLY DIFFERENT FROM A SHORTAGE!

Stealth Story Evolution – FAST COMPANY

  • Just because we were 100% wrong is no reason to spike the story.

At the business publication, they took issue with the rollout of a logo at Twitter for the premium vertical Twitter Blue. In declaring the graphics with a notably garish 1980s feel, the write-up was condemning of both the logo and how it perfectly represented the crass and tasteless administration of the company under the dysfunctional rule of Elon Musk.

Then the outlet discovered that the logo had actually been created by the previous owners of the company, well before Musk took over the keys. Oh well, just a slew of wholesale deletion edits and a brief correction were needed to completely overhaul the piece to update it accordingly.


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