The better news — though not so much for FOX news — is that it’s about to become OLD news. It is now officially losing in the ratings to a comedy show, thanks in no small part to an aging audience. Their average viewer is 65+, and every important demographic for long-term viability slipped.
“Red Eye” was the only Fox News show to post ratings gains in 2011. Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and On The Record With Greta Van Susteren all lost viewers. In the morning, Fox and Friends remained flat. Fox News still showed its dominance by having the top 13 rated cable news programs, but a certain program hosted by a comedian that Fox News loves to hate on Comedy Central blew past most of the Fox News shows in the ratings.
According to Comedy Central, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart averaged 2.3 million viewers per episode in 2011. Unlike Fox News, “The Daily Show” was up in total viewers (+7%) and all key demos: adults 18-49 (+6%); men 18-34 (+2%); men 18-24 (+4%).” The Daily Show was also the top cable late night talk show in terms of total viewers, and was generally dominant. While Fox News was losing 14% in the demo in 2011, Jon Stewart was gaining 6%.
While I don’t always agree 100% with Jon Stewart (e.g. about atheism), he’s right infinitely more often than FOX News about the state of our society. Of course, when you’re comparing against an entity that explicitly gets things wrong intentionally, in order to benefit the party that would otherwise be detrimentally affected by reality itself, you only have to get things right once to be an infinite improvement.