The Truth About Ratings For News Shows
By: Steve - January 31, 2010 - 11:30am

UPDATE - 5-24-10 -- The O'Reilly Factor has had a ratings drop, since about April the show is only averaging about 2.8 million total viewers a night, so now it's even less then the 3.8 million he was getting back in January when I made this posting.


O'Reilly sure loves to brag about his ratings, he has even said his show is the highest rated news show in the world. Which is just sad, because it's not even the highest rated news show in America, let alone the world. In fact, it's the 4th highest rated news show in America.

Earth to Bill O'Reilly, it's cable news, fake wrestling gets more viewers than you do. Here are some facts about ratings, for O'Reilly and his giant ego. The top four rated News Shows in America are:
1) NBC Nightly News - 10.3 Million
2) ABC Nightly News - 8.5 Million
3) CBS Evening News - 6.7 Million
4) The O'Reilly Factor - 3.8 Million
The O'Reilly Factor is #4, it averages 3.2 to 3.8 million total viewers a week. Now think about that for a minute, we have roughly 310 million people in America. That means less than 1% of the American people watch the O'Reilly Factor. And he has the highest rated show on Fox, so less than 0.5% watch the rest of Fox. Look at who is #1, #2, and #3, the so-called liberal media, according to O'Reilly. He claims that Fox is #1 because nobody wants to see liberal news, while NBC, ABC, and CBS all beat him in the ratings.

As Spock would say, that does not compute. Only a partisan right-wing idiot would say nobody in America wants to see liberal news, when the top 3 news programs are all liberal, and O'Reilly even admits they are liberal. As he claims nobody wants to watch them, while the majority of Americans are watching them. His arguments are so biased they do not even make sense. This is what I call O'Reilly propaganda, say it loudly and for long enough and pretty soon maybe someone will believe it. You can not claim NBC, ABC, and CBS, are liberal media sources, then argue nobody watches them because they are liberal, when they have the top 3 rated news shows in America, except in O'Reillyland.

Now let's talk about who watches the news, and why. Over the years internet news and blogs have exploded, places like yahoo news, google news, huffingtonpost, etc. Not to mention all the big blogs like thinkprogress, dailykos,, etc. That is where most liberals get their news, we barely watch any tv news shows anymore because they are mostly corporate driven garbage.

I stopped watching CNN years ago, because they moved to the right when they hired Lou Dobbs, Paula Zahn, etc., and most the liberals I know of stopped watching them too. The only tv news shows I watch anymore are Keith Olbermann, Ed Schultz, Bill O'Reilly, and once in a while Rachel Maddow. And I do not even watch them every night, except for the Factor.

So I get 90% of my news from the internet, as do a hell of a lot of other people, especially liberals. We have mostly stopped watching the tv news shows because they are a joke, all they care about are ratings. Which is not what the news was supposed to be about, the news is supposed to inform you on important issues so you can make an informed vote.

That is not what tv news shows do today, they do what it takes to get ratings. They talk about bears falling out of trees, they talk about models prancing down a runway in their underwear, they talk about tabloid garbage, hollywood celebs, etc. etc. etc. This is not news folks, it's tabloid/sexist garbage to get ratings.

Then you have demographics and age. Republicans watch more news than Democrats. And older people watch and read more news, that is a fact. The average age of an O'Reilly Factor viewer is 71 years old, yes I said 71 years old. So basically the average Factor viewer is a 71 year old conservative.

A Pew media survey shows that 72% of the Factor viewers are conservatives, which is 2nd in all the media, behind only Rush Limbaugh with 77% conservatives who listen to him. So what this proves is that O'Reilly gets high ratings by targeting his news coverage to that 72% of conservatives who watch his show.

That is not mainstream America, it's the old right-wing America. It's why you see Karl Rove, Dick Morris, Newt Gingrich, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, etc. on the Factor every night. To get ratings from his mostly old right-wing viewers. It's really a simple formula, if you have a news show on a right-wing news network, you target your demographic and give them what they want, all right-wing news, all the time.

And it works, that is why O'Reilly has the #1 rated show in cable news. But if you took the O'Reilly Factor and put in on CNN, or MSNBC. He would be lucky to get a million viewers a night, like all the other news shows that are not on Fox. Outside of Fox news Keith Olbermann has the highest rated show on cable, and he gets about a million total viewers a night.

That is pretty much the limit for a non-Fox news show. Because people that do not watch Fox get their news from a lot of other places, not to mention the liberals that do watch tv news split their numbers between CNN and MSNBC. Where ALL the conservatives watch Fox. If CNN was not on the air all the liberals would watch MSNBC, then it would be a more fair comparison. Conservatives have one news network, Fox, while liberals have two, CNN and MSNBC.

To prove my point, look what happens to Fox News shows when they do a news show that is not on the Fox News Network, it bombs in the ratings. Last week the Fox News Sunday news show was dead last in the ratings, as they are every week.
1) NBC - 3.62 Million
2) CBS - 3.33 Million
3) ABC - 2.84 Million
4) FOX - 1.30 Million
As you can see when you take a Fox news show off of the Fox news network nobody watches it. Fox news shows only get high ratings when they are on the Fox news network. That is 100% proof they do so well in the ratings because of what network they are on, and who is watching them.

And let's not forget what news shows are supposed to do, they are supposed to inform the people with the news they need to know to make an informed vote. Not just put anything they can on the air to get the most ratings. Which is what O'Reilly and Fox news do. All they care about is ratings, and putting out right-wing biased news while doing it.

This is not what the founding fathers wanted when they put freedom of the press in the 1st amendment. In fact, I bet if they were alive today they would be ashamed that Fox is even called a news network. Because it is not news, it's infotainment passed off as news. And on top of that it's right-wing biased infotainment.

News shows should not even have ratings, only entertainment shows like American Idol, etc. should have ratings. The news shows should not even care about ratings, what they should care about is telling the truth in an unbiased way, so the people are informed with the truth. Which is not what we have now, today all they care about are ratings.

And the O'Reilly Factor is proof that it's all about ratings, instead of honest and truthful journalism. O'Reilly does whatever it takes to get ratings and spin out his ideology, and to hell with informing the people or the truth. It's all right-wing spin and tabloid garbage, slanted to the right, to get ratings from his targeted demographic, old Republicans.

It works, but it's not objective news. It's simply a biased news show, on a biased news network. Where less than 1% of the people watch it, so about all it does is make O'Reilly rich and famous, it does not inform the people with honest and objective reporting. Ratings do not equal truth, or honesty, it just means you can get high ratings by giving a specific demographic of people what they want.

And btw, WWE Monday Night Raw wrestling is the #1 rated show on all of cable, and it's all fake, none of it is real, so that proves you can get high ratings with fake and dishonest tv shows, just as the Factor on Fox news. It's fake and biased news, but it does get high ratings. Proving that ratings do not equal truth or honesty.

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