Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Do You Want News With an Attitude?

DURING TUESDAY'S ELECTION, Fox News drew larger audiences than any other cable news operation.

Fox News averaged 6.96 million viewers in prime time on Tuesday, according to ratings results from the Nielsen Company, the New York Times reported. CNN averaged 2.42 million viewers. MSNBC averaged 1.94 million viewers.

Does that mean that people with conservative leanings were more engaged in this election? Or is this a sign that viewers want information with a particular slant?

If news with an agenda is gaining larger audiences, should other networks and news programs try presenting the news with more analysis and maybe some opinion?

Should journalists abandon the idea of objectivity?

11 comments:

Mark Longacre said...

It's a dog-eat-dog world. I think journalists should do what they have to do to keep readers. If people want opinionated news, stations should give them what they want. The most popular media outlets (perez hilton, phawker, etc.) all have a very specific voice. They're doing very well, so why not try a broadcast outlet with a very strong voice?

Tracy L. Kirkendall said...

I agree with Mark's statement that journalists should do what they have to do to keep their audiences. However, agenda-based news should be reserved for the realm of niche publications and cable networks. As someone who does watch one particular news outlet, I often switch back to local stations because they are more objective. FOX News and CNN often go too far in my opinion when endulging in one-sided arguments. We must have objective media outlets because if we don't, then we'll have a bunch of half-wits walking around the country. How can a citizen be a constructive voter if they only have half the truth...think of it this way, if more than half of Delaware only watched FOX News (which praised O'Donnell), then Delaware would most likely have voted in a "witch."

Alexis Wright-Whitley said...

I also agree with Mark. Journalism is a business, so journalists must do everything in their power to have as many viewers as they can. However, without objectivity, the news will become to biased and one-sided. It would further ruin the craft of journalism, making it pointless.

Erik Lexie said...

What am I reading? You guys all sound like Fox News. Personally, I don't subscribe to the notion that you always have to have the most viewers, the most money, the best shoes or the highest grades. Sometimes doing what you believe in or what you like the most or maybe even just what nobody else is doing is the best idea.

That said, I haven't got a problem at all with TV news or anyone else adopting an opinionated style if that's what they want to do. There will always be others to be objective, and nowadays TV news is really only good for espousing opinions anyway, since everything's already been reported online by the time they get it.

Erik Lexie said...

Oh, and the extra attention to Fox probably was very heavily related to the voter turnout, which was overwhelmingly old, white, and conservative, so pretty much Fox's exact audience. All those Obama zealots from two years ago apparently tuned out after they got him in office.
-Erik, who thinks Fox is a symptom and not a problem

Sean Carlin said...

Well at least Fox put non partisan anchors on for the coverage of election night. They may lean right, but what MSNBC did Tuesday night is outrageous. Having all of your liberal opinion broadcasters airing together on the biggest night of the year for news is atrocious. Fox at least attemped to cover election night objectively....sort of. MSNBC did not and blatantly covered the elections with a cynical, liberal slant. Fox does lean right, but for MSNBC to call Fox out on it everyday and then put all of their opinion people on the air at once to cover the elections is despicable. MSNBC should be the news here, not fox.

Geo said...

So, MSNBC went with the agenda and had the crappy ratings? Maybe the future or journalism should remain objective then?

- George
(the teacher who really prefers the notion of objectivity either way)

Cassandra D'Amelio said...

Fox is also the largest right-winged news program. It seems there are more left leaning news programs to choose from which could account for Fox's high ratings. Objectivity is ideal but lets face it, most people want to hear thei beliefs confirmed. They don't want to expand their mind to hear about new possibilities- they're stuck in their ways. Since the right tries to root their propoganda in religion, family, etc. most people who vote for them are doing so based on their core beliefs, not through any education on other policies. If the masses really tried to view the other point of view, they'd see that the party which now represents the majority of the country in house and senante is really aimed at helping a very small percentage of extremely wealthy people.

Haley Kmetz said...

Whether people want news that leans one way, or not, it is the duty of journalists to restrain themselves from providing that. It is inappropriate and simply not good journalism. I know, I know...Journalism is a business and ratings are king, but I wish that the corporation heads would stop worrying about their already outrageous profits and be a little more concerned with the quality of their product - the news. Just because people may want to hear their political policies repeated back to them with no other outside information or alternative viewpoints, does not mean that we should give it to them. This is where journalists as gatekeepers need to trust their instincts, instead of cave in to ratings pressure.

Eleana Wehr said...

I personally don't think that journalists should abandon the idea of objectivity. Although people may lean towards a certain station because it is biased or presents mainly their beliefs, doesn't mean journalists should cave and do whatever they can to get a larger audience. I don't have a solution for this problem but I do think the reason for this is because most people are only concerned with themselves and want to see the things they like and the things they believe in and don't want to see the other side. That problem needs to be fixed first. Then maybe journalists wouldn't have to think about abandoning objectivity.

Giulia Valtieri said...

All cable news is slanted in some way, so there must have been a reason, like someone said voter turnout and election results, that influenced Fox's high ratings.