Thursday, February 03, 2011

Like A Pendulum Do

The free market may, in the opinion of John Avlon of the Daily Beast, bring about the return of sensible political discourse. He uses the occasion of Keith Olbermann's departure from MSNBC to look at the state of cable news ratings.

Here's a snapshot side-by-side comparison of their slide: On January 20th of last year, Olbermann reached an estimated 251,000 people aged 25-to-54 at 8 p.m., according to data kept by Exactly one year later, this past Thursday, he reached only 198,000—a decline of nearly 20 percent.

Beck's collapse was even steeper over the same period. On January 20th of 2010, he was flying high at a point of maximum influence coincident with Tea Party enthusiasm, reaching 965,000 in the 24-to-55 demographic. On 1/20/11, Beck reached roughly one-third that number at 5 p.m.—only 377,000.

To be sure, even at their reduced rates of viewership, both men were leaders at their respective networks. But the trend lines are clear—both hosts were trending down by double digits in the first four months of last year—and comforting from an independent's perspective.
Similarly, I'm not supposed to mention someone all through February, but check out this trending!

(if it isn't working, try this.)

Congress, meanwhile is trending up since November. You could argue that it's because there are more Republicans now, or you could argue that seeing them actually compromise and pass a bunch of laws in the lame duck session was appealing to people.

For my part, I'm tired of hateful, demonizing rhetoric. In addition to the corrosiveness, it really paints people into rhetorical corners which limit them later on.

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