Thursday, January 02, 2003

The Bad News Biz and a New Kind of Vulture
Craig Offman of Variety reports Bad Tidings for Cable News Pack:
NEW YORK (Variety) - For cable news networks, a war with Iraq may not be such a bad thing.

CNN, Headline News, MSNBC and CNBC suffered double-digit drops in year-end ratings vs. 2001, the year that audiences flocked to the television for updates on post-9/11 events.

Only Fox News, which has become the prime peacetime cable news destination, experienced significant growth in total-day and primetime versus 2001.
Most networks, however, saw significant growth in those specific timeslots during the October sniper attacks, when audiences likely tuned in when they got home from work or later when they turned in for the night.

The coverage of the murders in northern Virginia gave Fox News, CNN and MSNBC a boost in fourth-quarter total-audience ratings vs. the previous quarter.
Why do vultures come to mind?

Actually, I shouldn't be surprised - they were selling newspapers a century ago on the same basis. But there's a new twist these days as cyberCongressman Billybob reports in a special to Free Republic:
On Thursday mornings, I do a half-hour segment on the national radio show, "American Breakfast." I expected Ellen Ratner to come on for the last five minutes of that segment, as she has the last two weeks.

She knows me, and I know her. My feeling is that she was afraid to come on this morning and face the music about her "dead Americans" comment.

To recap for those who just tuned in, last Friday on Neal Cavuto's Show on Fox, the following exchange took place between Ratner and Brenda Buttner, sitting in for Cavuto:

[After a discussion that George Bush would be reelected "unless the economy tanks," Ratner said:

Ratner: Unless he messes up the war -- I hope.

Buttner: You hope?!

Ratner: Well, I don't want him to be reelected.
Billybob rightly asks how many Americans Ellen would like to die so that President Bush can be viewed as "messing up the war". And a poster observes
Actually, most of the Democrats on the Hill hope for the same thing. They're just not stupid enough to say it aloud on TV.
Has anyone contacted Patty Murray?