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Presidential Debate, Sean Hannity Lead FOX News to Big Ratings Week

“Fox News Channel is poised to top all cable networks for the week ending Oct. 4 which featured the Trump-Biden presidential debate from Sep. 29.”

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Fox News Channel is poised to top all cable networks for the week ending Oct. 4 which featured the Trump-Biden presidential debate from Sep. 29. The spectacle drew the second-largest debate audience in TV history at a combined 73 million in households on linear networks (out-of-home viewing data not yet factored). Fox News Channel was the debate’s top outlet with 17.8 million viewers; Trump-Biden was the network’s second most-watched telecast in its history, behind the 24 million of the first GOP candidates debate (with Trump) from Aug. 6, 2015.

CNN was a distant runner-up on cable with 8.3 million viewers; MSNBC (7.2 million) was close behind. 

ABC led the broadcast networks in debate coverage with 12.6 million viewers, followed by NBC (9.7 million), CBS (6.4 million), and the Fox broadcast network (5.4 million).

Telemundo (1.45 million) bested Univision (1.36 million) among the Spanish-language outlets.

As for last week (Sep. 21-27), here were the combined viewership figures of the three main cable news networks (Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC) for the various moments in the news:

  • 3.54 million watched the body of late Supreme Court Ruth Baden Ginsburg first lay in repose inside the Capitol building on early Wednesday morning (Sep. 23); two mornings later on Friday (Sep. 25), 3.75 million for Ginsburg’s funeral.
  • 3.52 million watched health experts including Dr. Anthony Fauci testifying to the U.S. Senate about the Coronavirus in the late morning of Wednesday, Sep. 23.
  • Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s controversial announcement that only one of the three police officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor would be charged (with that charge being wanton endangerment) drew 4.43 million viewers in the early afternoon on Wednesday, Sep. 23; a Friday Sep. 25 press conference by the family of Breonna Taylor reacting to the AG’s decision posted 3.006 million.
  • Initial news on Friday, Sep. 25 in the late afternoon (around 5 p.m. ET) that Amy Coney Barrett would be chosen as Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s successor on the Supreme Court delivered the week’s biggest audience for breaking news events: 6.66 million viewers. The 6-7 p.m. ET hour that featured reactions to the news averaged a combined 5.45 million viewers. The official press conference at the White House announcing Coney Barrett on Saturday, Sep. 26 at approximately 5 p.m. ET drew 3.84 million viewers.

For the week ending Sep. 27, 2020 in total day data (from 6 a.m. to 5:59 a.m. each day), Fox News Channel led the cable news networks in viewers (1.97 million) and adults 25-54 (338,000). As for the other news outlets:

 • MSNBC: 1.09 million viewers; 164,000 adults 25-54

 • CNN: 845,000 viewers; 199,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top MSNBC and CNN programs with associated ranks) in total viewers:

1. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 9/23/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 5.158 million viewers

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 9/23/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.861 million viewers

3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 9/21/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.747 million viewers

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 9/24/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.740 million viewers

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 9/22/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.727 million viewers

6. Hannity (FOXNC, Thu. 9/24/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.511 million viewers

7. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 9/22/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.428 million viewers

8. Hannity (FOXNC, Mon. 9/21/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.264 million viewers

9. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Fri. 9/25/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.243 million viewers

10. Hannity (FOXNC, Fri. 9/25/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.225 million viewers

25. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Thu. 9/24/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.169 million viewers

126. Cuomo Prime Time (CNN, Wed. 9/23/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.703 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs (and the top MSNBC and CNN programs with associated rank) among adults 25-54:

1. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 9/23/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.963 million adults 25-54

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 9/23/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.908 million adults 25-54

3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 9/22/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.862 million adults 25-54

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 9/21/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.846 million adults 25-54

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 9/24/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.816 million adults 25-54

6. The Ingraham Angle (FOXNC, Wed. 9/23/2020 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.815 million adults 25-54

7. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 9/22/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.737 million adults 25-54

8. Hannity (FOXNC, Mon. 9/21/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.700 million adults 25-54

9. The Ingraham Angle (FOXNC, Thu. 9/24/2020 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.689 million adults 25-54

10. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Fri. 9/25/2020 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.688 million adults 25-54

27. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Thu. 9/24/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.514 million adults 25-54

28. Cuomo Prime Time (CNN, Wed. 9/23/2020 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.512 million adults 25-54

BNM Writers

It’s Not a Vaccine Mandate, It’s a Test Mandate

“Chuck Todd from Meet The Press, the New York Times, CNN, numerous other media outlets and even the White House spokesman have called Biden’s policy a vaccine mandate. It’s not. So, why do they keep reporting it as such?”

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I feel I must disclose my feelings on Covid-19 before my column this week so everyone knows my bias. 

If you want to take the horse dewormer medicine, Ivermectin, for Covid-19, I DON’T CARE.

If you want to wear a mask in a crowd indoors or out, I DON’T CARE

If you don’t want to get a Covid-19 vaccine, again, I DON’T CARE. 

In terms of full disclosure, I have been vaccinated. As far as I know, I haven’t had Covid-19, and only my dog has had some form of Ivermectin. 

With that out of the way, can we talk about how President Biden’s mandate is being discussed and reported on? This is not a liberal or conservative issue, and it’s not a CNN vs FOX News issue. Most everyone has an opinion on it, yet most don’t care to find out what was actually proposed. Even the White House is misleading folks with its own policy. 

This is not a vaccine mandate, it’s a test mandate. 

President Biden’s policy has made two changes. All federal workers must receive a vaccine. You don’t have to work for the federal government, but if you do, you must be vaccinated. Again, not a mandate. No one is forcing you to work for the federal government. That’s your choice.  

Delta Airlines implemented a policy charging employees $200 if they choose not to be vaccinated. As a result, thousands have received the Covid-19 vaccine to avoid the penalty. That is their choice. 

Schools, public and private universities, hospitals, and companies big and small have made similar rules. If you want to work or attend, you must get a vaccine. Not a vaccine mandate, big difference.

Companies make all sorts of rules, some smart, some dumb. I know a radio station that will not let their on-air hosts talk to the media (dumb). My company policy says, I can’t eat food in the studio (smart). You can agree or disagree with a policy, and if you choose not to follow it, that is your choice. Nobody from the government is going to come to your home, hold you down, and jab a needle in your arm. Yet I’ve heard that said a few hundred times in the last few weeks.

Part two of President Biden’s policy says that if you are a company with over 100 employees, your employees will be required to have a vaccine or get tested weekly to see if they are Covid-19 positive. Again, this is not a vaccine mandate. It’s just a test, once a week. A test mandate, if you will.

Chuck Todd from Meet The Press, the New York Times, CNN, numerous other media outlets and even the White House spokesman have called Biden’s policy a vaccine mandate. It’s not. So, why do they keep reporting it as such?   

I talk to neighbors, callers, and friends, and they’re all arguing over something that isn’t happening. Some have gotten really angry and stood defiant. They will not, under any circumstances, be forced to get a vaccine. 

“How about a test?” 

“Wait, what?”  

These are crazy times. We talk past each other, we debate our own set of facts, we get to choose the news we like, and disregard and disqualify the news we don’t. I’m afraid we have crossed some type of rubicon. Everyone is arguing and debating a policy but nobody knows the actual policy.

If you think taking a test to find out if you have a life threatening virus that could harm you, a family member, or a coworker is government overreach, I DON’T CARE. Quite frankly, I’m exhausted by the screaming. But if you are going to argue about it, you should do yourself a favor and know what the policy is before you decide you are for it or against it. 

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BNM Writers

Few Media Outlets Were Brave Enough to #NeverForget Both Sides

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Saturday marked 20 years since Sept. 11, 2001.

Everyone has a 9/11 story. Where they were. How they reacted. What they remember about that treacherous day in America.

Consuming media coverage and memorials over the weekend, there was one very common theme.

Unity. Unofficially the word was said 42,365,789 times this weekend.

Listening to the radio, I heard one newstalk host romanticize about how the entire country came together as one, and he didn’t feel we did the same fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

Before the NFL kicked off on Sunday, both Fox and CBS aired extended memorial video montages. The New York Yankees and New York Mets played the Subway Series and on Saturday wore hats representing the Fire and Police Departments of their city.

Netflix, Hulu and Peacock dropped streaming documentaries.

All of this coverage focused on the heroism, the devastation that destroyed 2,996 families, and the unified aftermath. Stats were dropped about the sales of United States flags hitting all-time highs. The patriotic shirt and bumper stickers industry was booming for months.

Let’s be clear – this aforementioned coverage was extremely important.

The following might be controversial, so I unfortunately feel obligated to include the following disclaimer:

I think 9/11 memorial coverage is necessary. #NeverForget is important. I’ve often thought that we don’t talk enough Pearl Harbor where 2,403 Americans also died, maybe that’s a generational coverage thing. So, in the age of the 24-hour news cycle, we should keep these stories prominent and always celebrate the heroes of that harrowing day.

Now that my stance on 9/11 coverage is very very clear…

We should also talk more about the racist hate-crime filled society we created for Muslims, Arabic speaking Americans, Sikhs, and anyone who appeared middle eastern or had dark brown skin. We should also never forget those innocent people whose lives were extremely affected during the aftermath.

Their stories are important. Acknowledging the ugliness can assist in learning from those mistakes.

Although the coverage wasn’t front page, there were news outlets brave enough to hit on those topics over the weekend. I wanted to take time to highlight them, quoting some excerpts that may be tough to read:

Anita Snow and Noreen Nasir of Associated Press for ABC News: “Sikh entrepreneur Balbir Singh Sodhi was killed at his Arizona gas station four days after the Sept. 11 attacks by a man who declared he was “going to go out and shoot some towel-heads” and mistook him for an Arab Muslim.”

Sodhi’s brother spoke with Kimmy Yam of NBC News and reflected on the hate crime.

Kiara Alfonseca for ABC News: “Mosques were burned or destroyed and death threats and harassment followed many Muslims in the weeks following the attacks, according to congressional testimony from the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2011. Some victims were beaten, attacked or held at gunpoint for merely being perceived as Muslim, the organization said.”

Maria Lisignoli of NBC 15 in Madison, WI spoke with a local principal:

“But, you know, as often as you will speak to other Muslim and millennials especially, they feel like we feel like we’ve had to answer for the crimes of other people,” Warsi said.

He says linking the Islamic faith with these attacks was damaging mentally and physically.

“I myself have been discriminated against been a victim to hate crime with physical assault, just because I’m Muslim,” Warsi said.

Dorothy Hastings for PBS: “Since 2001, Muslims have been the second most frequent target for religiously motivated hate crimes, according to the federal hate crime data.”

Newstalk program directors, news directors and journalists should always strive to tell both sides of the story. It’s not the feel-good unified story, but nothing about journalism is easy. The industry isn’t for propaganda.

There are tough truths that need to be told. It’s part of the job.

The stories are important. The coverage is necessary.

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BNM Writers

The Weather Channel Was Go To Outlet for Hurricane Ida Coverage

The three major cable news outlets were surprisingly slow in covering Hurricane Ida, despite most of their offices located in New York City.

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Hurricane Ida continued to wreak havoc on Wednesday, Sep. 1, as the storm that rocked Louisiana the previous weekend unleashed its fury upon the northeast.

The Weather Channel was the primary outlet for Ida coverage. Here was their ratings track as the storm reached New Jersey and New York that evening, according to Nielsen Media Research:

  • 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET: 0.391 million viewers; 158,000 adults 25-54
  • 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET: 0.461 million viewers; 154,000 adults 25-54
  • 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET: 0.348 million viewers; 111,000 adults 25-54
  • 11:00 p.m.-midnight ET: 0.269 million viewers; 100,000 adults 25-54
  • midnight-1:00 a.m. ET: 0.230 million viewers; 72,000 adults 25-54
  • 1:00-2:00 a.m. ET: 0.198 million viewers; 63,000 adults 25-54

3.15 inches of rain fell in Central Park from 8:51-9:51 p.m. ET — the largest amount of rainfall there within a one-hour period on record, a mark previously set just eleven days prior (Aug. 21) by the effects of Hurricane Henri’s storm (1.94 inches). 8.4 inches fell in Newark, New Jersey throughout the entire evening. Over 50 people in the northeast perished due to Ida.

The three major cable news outlets were surprisingly slow in covering Hurricane Ida, despite most of their offices located in New York City. Fox News Channel provided 10-minute special reports in the overnight of late Sep. 1/early Sep. 2:

  • 1:00-1:10 a.m. ET: 0.875 million viewers; 213,000 adults 25-54
  • 2:00-2:11 a.m. ET: 0.692 million viewers; 166,000 adults 25-54
  • 3:00-3:08 a.m. ET: 0.526 million viewers; 129,000 adults 25-54

CNN’s “Newsroom Live” began at 2 a.m. ET, reporting on Hurricane Ida. It averaged 411,000 viewers and 128,000 adults 25-54 for the hour.

On the following morning of Thursday, Sep. 2, the governors of New Jersey (Phil Murphy) and New York (Kathy Hochul) held separate press conferences addressing the aftermath of Ida. Fox News, averaging 1.6 million total viewers and 265,000 in the 25-54 demo from 10-11 a.m. ET, aired most of these conferences until bailing on them when the topic of climate change was mentioned.

CNN (967,000 viewers/228,000 adults 25-54 from 10-11 a.m. ET) and MSNBC (Murphy: 843,000 viewers/90,000 adults 25-54 from 10:19-10:38 a.m. ET; Hochul: 778,000 viewers/86,000 adults 25-54 from 10:38-11:12 a.m. ET) both aired the Murphy and Hochul press conferences in full.

Here are the cable news averages for August 30-September 5, 2021.

Total Day (August 30-September 5 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.548 million viewers; 259,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.744 million viewers; 84,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.653 million viewers; 145,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.247 million viewers; 57,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.201 million viewers; 61,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.145 million viewers; 33,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.140 million viewers; 20,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.096 million viewers; 10,000 adults 25-54

Prime Time (August 30-September 4 @ 8-11 p.m.; September 5 @ 7-11 p.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 2.642 million viewers; 434,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 1.260 million viewers; 145,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.876 million viewers; 202,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.259 million viewers; 72,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.218 million viewers; 62,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.199 million viewers; 60,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.163 million viewers; 33,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.054 million viewers; 6,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top MSNBC, CNN and The Weather Channel programs with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 8/30/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.312 million viewers

2. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 8/30/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.130 million viewers

3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 8/31/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.846 million viewers

4. Hannity (FOXNC, Mon. 8/30/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.841 million viewers

5. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 8/31/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.620 million viewers

6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 9/1/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.519 million viewers

7. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 9/1/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.506 million viewers

8. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 8/31/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.489 million viewers

9. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 9/1/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.393 million viewers

10. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 9/2/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.317 million viewers

19. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 8/30/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.763 million viewers

125. Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN, Mon. 8/30/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.199 million viewers

190. America’s Morning Headquarters (TWC, Mon. 8/30/2021 10:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.909 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs (and the top  MSNBC, CNN and The Weather Channel programs with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54:

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 8/30/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.778 million adults 25-54

2. Hannity (FOXNC, Mon. 8/30/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.667 million adults 25-54

3. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 8/30/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.667 million adults 25-54

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 8/31/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.654 million adults 25-54

5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 9/1/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.634 million adults 25-54

6. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 9/1/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.613 million adults 25-54

7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 9/2/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.574 million adults 25-54

8. The Ingraham Angle (FOXNC, Mon. 8/30/2021 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.569 million adults 25-54

9. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 8/31/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.564 million adults 25-54

10. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 9/1/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.552 million adults 25-54

32. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 8/30/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.367 million adults 25-54

71. Don Lemon Tonight (CNN, Mon. 8/30/2021 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.282 million adults 25-54

87. America’s Morning Headquarters (TWC, Mon. 8/30/2021 10:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.253 million adults 25-54

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

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