Glenn Beck to leave Fox News – ratings horror

By Michael Vass | April 6, 2011

The news is sweeping the internet that Glenn Beck will be leaving the FOX News Channel as of December when his contract is up. This has been in some speculation for a while as his ratings have dropped significantly. And of course there are more than a few organizations and individuals that are cheering the news, some believing that their efforts to boycott the show have worked.

We just wanted to pause for a moment and see how bad the ratings really are. It’s the one fact we aren’t noticing anyone stating as they froth over the news of the departure. Which takes things out of context a bit, as the appearance is that suddenly no one is watching Glenn Beck anymore.

In fact that is not true. Glenn Beck STILL dominates his time slot. Neilsen ratings for his 5pm program show that he has earned 1.9 million viewers on average in the 1st quarter of 2011. That’s down from 2.78 million in the 1st quarter of 2010, and a steep fall indeed. But how is EVERYONE ELSE doing?

Well let’s take a look. According to the same Neilsen ratings time period comparison:

SITUATION ROOM – CNN – 726,000 viewers in 2011 vs 661,000 in 2010
HARDBALL W/C.MATTHEWS – MSNBC – 679,000 vs 524,000
SHOWBIZ TONIGHT (PRIME NEWS in 2010) – HLN – 180,000 vs 213,000
FAST MONEY-OPTIONS ACTION (FAST MONEY in 2010) – CNBC – 216,000 vs 249,000

So in fact Glenn Beck, in his much discussed lower ratings, beats ALL of his competitors (on cable news) combined. Not one of the other cable news networks is gaining any (significant) viewership. Therefore viewers are just going elsewhere.

Why would viewers do that?

Well there is of course the fact that the Obama Administration and other politicians have learned not to pick on Beck and other Conservative pundits and commentators. The mere statement that people shouldn’t hear what is being said is enough to drive them to find out what is going on. Without that impetus, some will drop off in viewership. Controversy is not just good for Charlie Sheen and Hollywood.

There is also the fact that Beck is a bit dour. His outlook is depressing, and no one likes being told that as bad as things are they may get worse. Even Noah was laughed at for building the Ark. Being right and gloomy doesn’t tend to spark ratings.

But perhaps the biggest factor is that there is no election in 2011. On the heels of the 2008 election there were many revelations about President Obama and his Administration that were unknown previously. In 2009 and 2010 there were the issues of the Stimulus, Health Care Reform, and other laws that were being pushed against the will of constituents. There were a multitude of promises being broken or ignored. Plus there was the mid-term election, which would validate or crush the Obama Administration policies.

But now all that has subsided. Many facts are either now known or irrelevant. The potential of future radical changes, to a more Liberal outlook, is negated by the fact Republicans control the House of Representatives.

Going forward, the pace of the 2012 Presidential election has returned to the norm. Almost no candidates have stepped up on the GOP side, and President Obama has just recently indicated he will run for re-election. So far he has no challengers on the Democrat side. Which means that the real debate and interest in the election won’t gather steam until October 2011 or later.

Almost every political based blog, news program, commentary, and so on sees this drop off post-election cycles. It doesn’t mean that anyone is any worse at what they do, or that what they do discuss is any less relevant. It just means that the public doesn’t care as much all at once. Given about 6 months or so, that trend will increase.

So considering all this, does the departure of Glenn Beck signal a change in the beliefs of millions of Americans? Does it signal the end of FOX News? Does it imply that Democrats and Liberal news organizations will hold sway as we enter 2012 and the Presidential election?

Not in the least. Though some would like to imply as much. Perhaps that’s why so many won’t discuss that actual ratings numbers.

Realistically nothing has changed. Glenn Beck is still a target, just like Sarah Palin and Bill O’Reilly and any Conservative that speaks out against the ideals of Democrats and Liberals. FOX News still dominates all the other cable news programs (and much of cable as well). Politics have not moved to the center-left for the nation, and the 2012 election will still be as contentious as is expected.

We wish Glenn Beck success in his next endeavour, as we would ANYONE that is in the political commentary sphere. It’s a tough business and no one is on top forever.

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