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article imageCNN Falls in Ratings, Viewers Choose Ideological News

By Michael Krebs     Mar 28, 2009 in Business
For the first time, CNN will drop to third place in prime time against rivals Fox News and MSNBC in March. Change reflects viewer interest in opinionated news - the real O'Reilly factor.
The Cable News Network has a new story to report this month. Its prime time viewership has fallen behind its two biggest cable news rivals for the first time.
The change reflects viewer interest in strongly opinionated news, and where sister network CNN Headline News aired opinionated programming viewer totals increased dramatically. While CNN says its overall business is healthy and the network has no intentions of straying from its straight news programming, the inroads from MSNBC and Fox News are certainly getting attention.
Fox News is the number one cable news network, its ratings in prime time are higher than MSNBC and CNN combined. The network experienced a 30 percent prime time ratings increase year over year. The success of Fox News is widely attributed to "The O'Rielly Factor," which has retained more of its post-election audience than anything else on CNN and MSNBC.
MSNBC for its part is up 24 percent over March 2008 and has usurped CNN for the number two position.
"The fact that one network may have eked out a slight edge in one small slice of the overall business really doesn't say much of anything," Jon Klein, CNN U.S. president, said on Friday to the Associated Press. "It's more clear than ever, given the way that our competitors have positioned themselves, that CNN has positioned itself as the real news network."
The rise in ideological broadcast news coupled with the declines witnessed in the newspaper industry poses a larger question for journalism in America. CNN's exposure reflects a growing disinterest in straight news reporting.
"What do they stand for?" MSNBC's CEO Phil Griffin told AP. "That's their biggest challenge. CNN ain't what it used to be, and that has given us an opening because we stand for something and they don't."
But are news sources supposed to stand for anything?
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