The results are in, courtesy of the Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling: Fox News is the most trusted TV news organization in the nation. Read
Before some of you start gagging, I don’t think this means that Fox is the most “fair and balanced” news operation out there. I enjoy Fox News, watch it far more than CNN, MSNBC or the antique news shows from ABC, NBC or CBS. But I’m a conservative, and Fox’s center-right slant appeals to me. The fact is, cable news is a boutique. No more than several million Americans watch it, the competition is fierce. Years ago Fox capitalized off a perceived left-wing-bias-in-the-rest-of-the-media feeling from conservatives. It covered news stories of interest to conservatives, stories that otherwise would rarely get beyond The Washington Times or the Wall Street Journal editorial pages. Fox also was the first network to devote its late afternoon/evening programming to political debate.
MSNBC has caught on to Fox’s strategy by becoming the partisan liberal network. Although its numbers have passed struggling CNN — which has no ideological identity; which is death for cable news — MSNBC still trails Fox by millions of viewers. The reason is most liberals don’t perceive a conservative bias in the media that necessitates loyalty such as conservatives have for Fox. There’s the major newsweeklies, NPR, The New York Times, network news, etc. Frankly, to get closer to Fox News, MSNBC needs Sarah Palin to become president of the United States.
As someone who is cheerfully addicted to cable news, there’s one more reason Fox has more viewers. Despite its conservatism, it’s not an echo chamber. When issues are debated, there is generally and equal number of conservatives and liberals. MSNBC, on the other hand, is an echo chamber, with very few conservatives on hand. Joe Scarborough and the seemingly ubiquitous Pat Buchanan are exceptions. Miami Herald TV critic Glenn Garvin noticed this on Jan. 19 when Scott Brown captured the Massachusetts Senate seat that had belonged to Ted Kennedy. Read