The Billings Outpost

Cable takes beating from viewers; blogs soar

TV Viewers are dropping CNN like a dirty shirt while the Montana Cowgirl is riding high.

The Cable news channel posted its lowest ratings in 20 years last week, dropping more than 50 percent in the last year.

MSNBC reported similar bad news on June 1: a 54 percent plunge since last April of viewers aged 24 to 54.

Fox News took the lightest licks but still dropped 21 percent with the same age group.

Politics are blamed for much of the loss. The almost weekly GOP primary debates may have dulled the interest of many viewers. The nation cruised into spring missing some of the series’ best players: Newt Gingrich, who promised $2.50 gasoline; the guy with the helmet hair; Michele Bachmann; the real old guy; and Rick Perry, who left his brain in Texas.

We finally trimmed the contenders to the two dullest: Democratic incumbent Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. Obama blamed the recession on former President Gorge W. Bush. Republicans swore they had never heard of Bush.

Romney pledged support and opposition to everything at least once. That left Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda’s head bull goose. The CIA found him. Navy Seals killed him, dropped him into the ocean and shipped his several wives to Saudi Arabia.

Cable TV execs would never have treated the old terrorist so shabbily. Instead, they would have booked him on every American TV talk show before

putting him on an island with 76 virgin bachelor wives.

With the loss of Rick Perry and Bin Laden, 83.2 million viewers stopped paying their cable bills. “The U.S. subscription-TV industry first showed a small net loss of subscribers a year ago. This year, that trickle has turned into a stream. The chief cause appears to be persistently high unemployment and a housing market that has many people living with their parents,” according to an Associated Press report.

CNN’s answer to its historic plunge is diversity. The all-news channel will abandon its all-news format. CNN began the shift by signing Anthony Bourdain, celebrity chef from the Travel Channel.

The network has also upped its celebrity coverage on the ratings-challenged primetime show “Piers Morgan Tonight.” In May, Morgan delivered the lowest 9 p.m. numbers for CNN in 20 years in both total viewers and viewers 25-54.

Look for more Royals, fewer presidential candidates. If Rick Perry’s Texas secedes from the Union, Morgan will provide Gonzales-to-San Jacinto coverage. (The battle book ends with  Texas’ fight for independence from Mexico.)

Fox News Channel claims to be “fair and balanced.” It is neither. Neither are CNN and MSNBC.

MSNBC is  furthest left. Fox covers the far right. CNN is somewhere in the middle but leans to the left. These are the networks Gush Limbaugh calls “the drive-by media.”

So, where do  news junkies go to get their fix? Look for them on the internet.

Look for the neo-cons, Tea Partiers and Grand Old Party stalwarts on “The Drudge Report.” Matt Drudge, a C-, D- high school student, got his start as an unpaid free lancer who filed his “scoops” on blogs run by others.

Next, he started the website The Drudge Report. In a short time, Drudge was making more than $1 million a year with a reputation for scoring big “scoops.” Critics say Drudge gets it wrong more often than not, but he still makes the big bucks.

The Huffington Post, an online newspaper, was created in 2007 as a liberal alternative to The Drudge Report. The Huffington Post boasts a long string of awards, including the 2012 Pulitzer Prize.

Political junkies looking for news closer to home might check out the Montana Cowgirl Blog. MCB leans acutely to the left, almost never has a kind word for any Republican, has targeted Rep. Denny Rehberg and several GOP gubernatorial candidates.

Both fans and critics speculate that the blog is written by someone in the Governor’s Office. The Cowgirl’s access to high level state news seems to confirm that guess. No one knows if the Cowgirl is a Cowgirl or a Cowboy.

Or try the blog Left in the West: activist, progressive and literate.

Here’s a sample from regular Rob Kailey:

“There are very few mechanisms which lever change into place. Violence is one. Voting is another. Pick one of those or suggest something else.


Copyright 2012 Wild Raspberry Inc.

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