Late last month, research was done regarding ratings for cable news outlets and demographics.
Most who have viewed ratings in the recent months would surmise that Fox News generally has a higher viewership in primetime compared to CNN and MSNBC. But one might have asked, who is watching these networks? Well, according to that recent research; not too many blacks are watching Fox News.
Brian Stelter from the New York Times reported that according to the Nielsen Media Research, Fox News averaged just 29,000 black viewers or just 1.38% of its 2.1 million viewers over this current television season from September 2009 to now. However, CNN and MSNBC are bringing in far more black viewers. CNN has averaged 134,000 black viewers or 20.7% of its 648,000 viewers over the same time. While MSNBC has averaged 145,000 black viewers or 19.3% of its 751,000 viewers in the same time.
Stelter also published a piece entitled “When Race is the Issue, Misleading Coverage Sets Off an Uproar”, which takes a look at how the conservative media has approached race.
Then, on Tuesday it was announced that News Corporation, the parent company of Fox News, had donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association. The action has led the Democratic National Committee to question Fox News’ objectivity as a news organization.
Hari Sevugan, the DNC’s national press secretary, stated that “Fair and Balanced has been rendered utterly meaningless.” Sounds about right. Any questions or unknowns surrounding Fox News and the Republican Party are pretty much answered with this move.
It can certainly be argued that anyone from the Republican Party, who appears on Fox News in the future, will be dealing with a media group that favors them. Additionally, their political coverage can be viewed as partisan propaganda that sides with the Republicans. Those are not facts, but possibilities.
Jack Horner, the News Corporation spokesman, defended the donation by saying, “News Corporation believes in the power of free markets, and the RGA’s pro-business agenda supports our priorities at this most critical time for our economy.” Any way he decides to phrase it, the action is still the action and as the parent company of a news network; he is choosing a poltiical side.
Even though News Corportion has funded Democratic campaigns; those totals are dwarfed by the $1 million check that was written for the RGA. Additionally, PACs and Congressional Campaign Committees in both parties have received money from News Corporation.
News Corporation is not alone with media donations and raises the question of media companies mixing with politics and donations. General Electric, which owns NBC, has made donations to both parties and their PACs and committees. Time Warner, the parent company of CNN, has funded both parties through donations. Additionally, Viacom, the parent company of CBS, has contributed to candidates and campaigns about as much as the others. And lastly, Disney, the parent company of ABC, is in the shuffle of poltiical donations with the rest.
All these donations by companies are certainly worth questioning. However, the biggest check belongs to News Corporation. Put together with the lack of viewer diversity, News Corporation and thus Fox News need to question their motives and actions. Are ratings worth more than a balanced demographic? Are funding one political party and/or a group associated with one party a smart move? And, if you declare to be objective, why donate money to one party and why the lack of minorities watching your shows?
All are valid questions and the evidence and results are proof that Fox News, despite its strong viewership, has flaws that keep it from becoming a complete and legitimate news organization.