Fox Haters Week in Review!

Palin’s ratings: myth vs we tackle religious bigotry and expose some scandalous smears. For the first time in our snazzy new digs, it’s another action-packed edition of Fox Haters Week in Review! With J$P Video!

Numb3rs Game

Even before it aired, Sarah Palin’s special (Real American Stories) was being attacked and ridiculed. So there was something of a vested interest among Fox haters to declare it a failure. Not surprisingly that’s just what happened, and the gun they drew to fire their ammunition (obligatory violence metaphors) turned out to be the ratings. The Huffington Post blasted a headline calling it “A (Relative) Dud”, before settling for the term “unspectacular”. Think Progress cited “lower than expected ratings”, which was then blown up to “a total bust--low ratings”. Keith Olbermann’s blog of choice (Daily Kos) squeed: “Palin ratings fail!” and “Palin’s Show a Flop”. And then there was this: “Sarah Palin Bombs”.

All of these used the same sorts of comparisons in various combinations, so let’s see how valid they are:

She was not able to beat the numbers of Greta Van Susteren who also averaged over 2 million viewers the night before, but had more viewers in the 25-54 demo.

Cable news audiences vary day-to-day, and especially so during the lead-up to a holiday like Easter. So it’s no surprise that viewership would be lower on Holy Thursday (April 1) than the day before, as it’s closer to Easter weekend. And the numbers show that: the total cable news primetime audience for March 31 in the demo: 1,248,000. And just one day later: 1,085,000. Among the programs that lost viewers from 3/31-4/1: The O’Reilly Factor, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Cooper 360, Campbell Brown, Nancy Grace...not because they were flops, but because the available audience was smaller.

Palin’s performance was even worse when compared to Greta’s Tuesday numbers, where she had over 2.4 million total viewers, and 587,000 in the demo.

Well yeah, the overall cable audience was bigger on Mar 30 (demo: 1,279,000) than on Mar 31 or Apr 1. In fact, every primetime program on FNC, HLN, and MSNBC lost viewers from 3/30-4/1. Keith Olbermann was down 31%, far more than Palin’s drop. But if his decline in viewers was described as a “ratings fail!” we missed it.

"Real American Stories" delivered 2.073 million Total Viewers and 472k A25-54 viewers, down 10% versus last Thursday among Total Viewers and down 28% in A25-54.

There was no Easter weekend imminent the previous Thursday (3/25), when the overall cable news audience was larger still: 1,418,000 (demo), 4,733,000 (overall). In the demo from 3/25-4/1 Olbermann was down 32%, Maddow down 29%, Campbell Brown down 27%. In total viewers, while Palin was 10% below the previous week’s number, Olbermann lost 26%, Maddow lost 27%.

One additional point to address: that Palin’s hour “bled viewers” from its first quarter to its last. Cable news audiences usually start to fall away around 9:00 pm, and the decline accelerates as the 11:00 pm hour approaches. But what none of these sites bothered to mention is the fact that, despite all this “bleeding” of viewers, Palin’s special still had enough viewers in the 25-54 demo to top every program in every time slot on every other cable news channel. In total viewers, Palin’s was the night’s third-most-watched program on cable news (a position usually held by Beck or Hannity)--more people were watching Palin at 10:00 pm than were watching CNN, MSNBC, and HLN combined! Palin’s show may not have been a blockbuster, but its strong numbers on a tough night prove it was neither a “bomb” nor a “flop”.

Corpse Correction

Another site that trumpeted misleading stats about Palin’s special was News Corpse, where they deemed the entire enterprise a “disastrous debut as an anchor”. Of course, Gov Palin was not an anchor but a documentary host, which makes one wonder if the corpsicles even watched the program. They go on to state that the ratings put her program “in seventh place in the cable news rankings”--no she was #3 that night, see above. But facts are strictly optional for the Corpse, who had already asserted that the special proved Palin a liar:

As might be expected, Sarah Palin is leading off her new series of programs on Fox News with her strongest asset: lying.

This is one of those lies peculiar to News Corpse, where nothing Sarah Palin said is even quoted, let alone proven to be a fabrication. They go on about the use of interviews from Toby Keith and LL Cool J, pretty much forgetting to explain the Palin “lie” that headlined their article. Finally comes this:

This whole show appears to be a scam that is just a bunch of old clips edited together with some intros by Palin.

That’s another falsehood, but we know better than to expect a corpse correction. They can’t be bothered with accuracy when there are new smears to spin. Take for example the stock market. The corpsicles complain that back in March 2009 Fox “found an appropriately derogatory label” to describe an advance: “bear market rally”. And they cite several unsourced examples allegedly from people like Cavuto, Peter McKay, and that wild-eyed right-winger “Sheppard (sic) Smith”. Says the Corpse: this is just “Fox” joining in “with the crowd that is hoping for Obama to fail”. That must have been a pretty big crowd, encompassing the market experts at CNBC and Bloomberg as well:

  • CNBC: “Beware the Bear Market Rally”
  • Bloomberg: The equity rebound “is a bear market rally”
  • CNBC: “This is still every bit of a bear market”
  • Bloomberg: “Soros Says Gain in U.S. Stocks Is ‘Bear-Market Rally’”

Wait a second! Is News Corpse claiming that George Soros is one of the people who are hoping for Obama to fail?! Looks that way. But they’re not done yet, noting that Fox highlighted the decline in the markets after Obama took office, even putting up a graph showing the downward trend:

And now, after a year that saw a 36% rise in the market, Fox News isn’t even reporting on it all.... If the facts of a story are contrary to your partisan prejudices, just refrain from reporting the story in way [sic] , shape, or form.

Really. So how exactly do the corpsicles explain this, aired on Your World March 31, over a week before the corpsicles insisted Fox hadn’t reported it “at all”? Could it be that when the facts are contrary to their partisan prejudices, News Corpse just refrains from reporting it “in way, shape, or form”? Ya think?

Come, Mr Taliban

Prepare yourself for a totally unexpected shock, but someone has actually accused newshound Priscilla of anti-Christian bias. Now mind you this was in the pound’s “off-topic” forum, and the accuser...well, he didn’t stay around for very long. After just three messages, the moderator of the “unmoderated” forum dealt with him in typical hound fashion:

It is my job as moderator to apply the rules. To you as well as to anyone else. They are now applied. Bye-bye.

But what could this fellow have been talking about? Priscilla, an anti-Christian zealot? It’s not like she ridicules people’s religions or anything, is it?

And it’s not like Priscilla spouts blatant falsehoods to demean religious topics, is it?

The only “folks” who care about Obama’s church going habits are the “folks” at Fox News and their audience. It’s a great form of subtle propaganda as it raises questions about Obama not being sufficiently Christian which, in Fox Jesus Land, is the basic requirement for being a true American.

Yes, it’s only Fox News that talks about Obama’s Church-going. As long as you don’t count all those other guys:

But hey, Priscilla isn’t biased against Christians, right? It’s not like she’s smearing them or anything, is it? Well at the dog pound, that depends. It wasn’t that long ago that the tail-waggers were outraged: someone described the left wing of the Democratic party as...the Taliban wing! Zoot alors! The outraged mongrels promptly stamped this as more work of the “smear machine” and it was off to the races. And yet...what was it that Priscilla said again?

This pretty much speaks for itself, but would we be out of line to suggest that perhaps Prissy has become a little too dependent on her Taliban-whoops macro?

Out of Sight, Out of Mine

The charming Ellen Brodsky, doyenne of the dog pound, looked at the Massey mine disaster and saw an opportunity to exploit it for her own ends. She served up a dish of rhetorical Alpo, attacking Jonathan Hunt’s reportage as “downplaying” the safety violations. When he said the mine “doesn’t have a particularly good safety record”, that wasn’t finger-pointy enough. When he said “this mine has not been particularly well run is probably the best way to put it”, that’s a “red-flag”. Of course she clipped the rest of that sentence where Hunt said how angry the families of the workers were. (Since the article was posted first, and the promised video came later, many readers had no way of knowing that Ellen had done a little creative editing of Mr Hunt’s words.)

Aside from all this parsing, what’s notable is Ellen’s peculiar explanation for it all. According to the Brodsky Unified Theory of Conspiratorial Documentary Censorship, Jonathan Hunt wasn’t really to blame. You see, Fox “hates unions”, and Massey’s CEO is a Republican, and...well, you get the drift. FNC (probably Roger Ailes, maybe Karl Rove, just possibly Halliburton) ordered that the safety violations be downplayed and that was that. Needless to say the credulous lemmings were ready to sign on:

  • Come on Fox, show some respect to those who lost their lives and to the grieving families and to the community. Can't you at least wait for the funerals to be conduced and for the recovery of the missing before you begin your pro-corporate spin?
  • Unfortunately for fux the legitimate news organizations are publicizing the numbers on this operation's execrable safety record...
  • So just downplay it and hope it goes away.

Only it’s not true. But don’t take our word for it. Watch video from that very day of coverage, by Hunt and other Fox reporters: the clips Brodsky didn’t want you to see. Decide for yourself if her theory that Fox ordered the safety violations downplayed is true:

Yeah, that really sounds like Fox underplaying safety violations, doesn’t it? This is standard operating procedure for the newspoodles. Make a preposterous charge, present no proof, offer as little evidence as possible, and hope that nobody produces video that proves you wrong. Oops, they didn’t do so well on that last part, did they?

Spot something you’d like to see in the next Fox Haters Week in Review? Send us an email!

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