How are people getting their news? A fair question. Let me lay some hard numbers on you:
Total USA Population as of 2016: 324 million
How many people are watching national news on ABC, CBS and NBC?
Network news viewers are declining in unprecedented rates, from an average of 48 million nightly network news viewers in 1985 to 24.5 million in 2013, according to Pew Research analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.
Young people aged 18-29 are the least likely to watch network news regularly (only 11 percent did so in 2012), and 49 percent of people in this age group say they never watch the news.
How Many People Watch FOX NEWS, MSNBC and CNN on Average?
Overall, Fox News averaged 2 million total viewers and 347,000 in the demo during primetime, winning both categories. MSNBC averaged 1.13 million total viewers, while CNN trailed with 844,000 total viewers.
How Many People Listen to Rush Limbaugh? 13.25 million
How about newspapers and news magazines? Tough to get good numbers on this but we do know that the number of newspapers has declined significantly. Even worse news for magazines like Time, Newsweek and US News and World Report. The biggest tell is to count the number of reporters who have lost their jobs and are working in other fields. It has been a bloodbath on that front.
There has been an explosion on the digital front but that is truly chaotic and is far more fragmented. The fragmentation aspect is the key. 25 years ago there was a core of news publications that provided cultural unity of sorts and helped create a public consensus. That’s no longer the case. The rapid spread of social media has created the equivalent of electronic lynchings. There is no consensus and their is no control. I suppose this is both good and bad.
My broader point is that the model for judging and predicting Presidential elections has changed significantly. And it is very apparent in this year’s contest, as the Wall Street Journal recently noted:
Of the two candidate, Mr. Trump has the largest following on social media — with 10.3 million Twitter followers and 9.9 million Facebook likes, compared to Mrs. Clinton’s 7.78 million followers and 4.8 likes.
Mr. Trump also routinely is mentioned more on social media, though that isn’t always a good thing.
“His supporters absolutely love him and his opponents absolutely dislike him,” said Kellan Terry, political analyst at Brandwatch, a social media data company.
Mr. Trump’s account shows his personality more so than more so than Mrs. Clinton’s shows hers, as he tweets, or dictates to someone else, a majority of the tweets. On Tuesday, a few minutes before former President Bill Clinton took the stage at the Democratic National Convention, Mr. Trump tweeted, “No matter what Bill Clinton says and no matter how well he says it, the phony media will exclaim it to be incredible. Highly overrated!”
We are dealing with some unknowns here and Trump appears to have a better handle on that unknown than does Hillary.
When you reflect on how much information is delivered by the much maligned “Lame” Stream Media you should be shocked at its demise. It is not the behemoth it was in the 70s and thru the mid-80s. In 1985 roughly 25% of all Americans watched the evening news on CBS, ABC and NBC.
In 2016 only 8% of all Americans get their evening news from CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, CNN and FOX. That helps explain the ignorance of the American public. Think of this fact–if you are watching a traditional news cast on TV you are a dinosaur.