As the presidential contest enters its final weeks, one loser is clear: the Big Three television networks' evening newscasts, home of some of the worst examples of ongoing and still influential media bias.
Chris Ariens at Media Bistro noted this on October 2 in covering the results for the week of September 24: "Leading into a presidential election, one might think the tune-in to the evening news programs would increase. But one would be wrong." The trend continued during the following week, as will be seen in the graphic following the jump.
The graphic compares the two most recently reported weeks to their analogous weeks in 2011 and 2008 for all three networks combined (detail for the individual networks is here):
Compared to last year, the networks are down overall, primarily due to serious erosion in the 25-54 demographic; viewership among those not in the 25-54 demo is actually up a bit. The same situation is there in comparing 2012 to 2008, with steeper declines overall and in the 25-54 demo; the pickup among those not in the demo, while larger, differs very little from population growth among that group in the past four years.
There is a corollary to all of this. While the 25-54 demo appears to be on the verge of virtually tuning the evening newscasts out, they're getting more of their news from computers, tablets, and smartphones. The good news is that they appear to be more willing to dig deeply for information. The possibly bad news, as anyone persusing Yahoo News, Google News, CNN, and others online can tell you, is that many if not most of the news aggregators and providers are bringing the same leftist biases found in television to their web sites. The battle against bias certainly won't be ending even if the evening news shows ultimately get forced by economic reality to turn out the lights.
As they say, developing ...
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.