News outlets experienced the largest boom in viewership ever during 2020. The pandemic, statues being destroyed, the southern border, political bonfires, and Epstein not killing himself had American’s glued to the tube as each new day seemed to bring a new bickering worthy issue. But all of this has changed and TV programming just ain’t what it used to be. And this is a problem for the networks.
The only controversial issue these days concerns what isn’t being done and nobody needs a news outlet to inform them of that. Human nature makes certain people reluctant to change and it’s why Donald Trump acquired both fans and enemies. He kicked dirt and people ate it up whether they liked him or not. He made headline news every single day.
Trump did things that provoked some people while elating others, but the fact still remains, he accomplished what he set out to do whether it was a popular choice or not. Since Joe Biden hasn’t given us the option to approve or disapprove of anything, guys like Tucker Carlson are telling it like it is to fewer households. Since Biden’s extended nap time hasn’t given him any fresh new content to spice up his reporting, he and many of his constituents, left and right, are being tuned out.
In 2020, cable news for the first time ever became the nation’s primary source of entertainment. Networks were ecstatic over their literal explosion in viewership, but they’ve since quit whistling Dixie. CNN has lost 38% of its faithful followers while Fox News Channel and MSNBC have 25% fewer daily-diehard fans. Viewers have become more interested in what’s going on in their own hoods and hollers since a president has to first do something for it to affect them anyway.
Regular occurring broadcast news shows haven’t taken as direct of a hit though they did take some shrapnel. ABC’s “World News Tonight” is down by 12% while “CBS Evening News” shares the same 14% less viewership as NBC’s “Nightly News.”
Donald Trump’s time in office was a virtual goldmine for digital subscriber-based news giants The New York Times and Washington Post. Today. Not so much. The Times is down by 34% while the Post is figuring out how or even if they can recover from its astounding 44% loss in subscribership.
News media analyst Ken Doctor said “It was entirely predictable,” while journalism professor Tom Rosenstiel from the University of Maryland said, “You become, to some extent, a prisoner of the audience you build.”
Rosenstiel said that cable news networks were particularly guilty of tying their own nooses. Durning a political era of intense internal combat, they built their entire prime time viewing around the turmoil and discontent, and it worked. For a while. The quandary came in reverting back to normal viewing while not giving the indication of no longer caring about the nation they had previously riled up and had done everything to keep that way. Netflix and HULU thank them for their failed efforts.
Not all of this has come about due to a lame-duck president though. American’s are tired. Plain and simple. Left, Right, the in-betweens, and the “I don’t care’s” all share this one commonality. Especially considering who’s in the White House, the nation has resorted to a “roll with it till 2024 attitude.” They just want to be done with this administration and move on, so the less they hear about what isn’t being accomplished at the moment, the better. It’s salt in the wound.
Meanwhile, mainstream media and digital outlets are learning a valuable lesson on each side of the fence. Just tell us what we want and need to be aware of, and tell it exactly like it is. No fluff. No exaggerations. Life is not a reality TV show. Got it, guys?
We now return you back to your regular TV viewing…