The free market kick…
The free market kicks in.

XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX THU SEPT 16, 2004 11:42:09 ET XXXXX

CBS CONCERN OVER VIEWERSHIP PLUNGE; RATHER RATINGS FADE IN MAJOR MARKETS

CBS executives on both coasts have become concerned in recent days that Dan Rather’s EVENING NEWS broadcast has plunged in the ratings since the anchor presented questionable documents about Bush’s National Guard service.

And that’s how it’s supposed to work when you do shoddy reporting.

NIELSEN numbers released this week show Rather fading and trailing his rivals in every Top 10 city, other than San Francisco,

…where many reflexively believe anything anti-Bush and have more in common with France than the United States…

with audience margins in some cities running more than 6 to 1 against CBS!

Executives fear many voters inclined to vote for Bush are now switching off Rather.

What they ought to fear is that many people who were inclined to believe CBS’s claims of “objectivity” are switching off CBS in general. They may try to paint it as as some sort of “conservative flight”, but I think it’s deeper than that.

“The audience appears to [be] polarized,” a top CBS source said from LOS ANGELES on Thursday. “Rightly or wrongly, we’re being perceived as ‘anti-Bush,’ which I do not think is fair to Dan, who is a fine journalist… of course we do not like to see the ratings coming back the way they are this week.”

Whenever they’ve reported polls during this election season, they’ve noted the polarization. Why should it be a surprise to them now?

And the misdirection is amazing. This isn’t about being fair to Dan, it’s about being fair, period. If you can’t be fair with the facts, don’t expect any leeway.

In Philadelphia, the nation’s #4 market, Rather pulled a 2.6 rating/5 share on Tuesday night against ABC’s 13.3 rating/23 share and NBC’s 4.0/7.

In Chicago, Rather hit a 2.3/5 to ABC’s 9.2/20.

CBS trailed ABC by more than 2 to 1 in Los Angeles.

Hugh Hewitt may want Congressional investigations, but I think the people have spoken louder than any Congressman can.

And in the nation’s top market, New York, Rather finished not only behind NBC NIGHTLY NEWS and ABC WORLD NEWS TONIGHT — but also pulled less audience than reruns of the SIMPSONS, WILL & GRACE and KING OF QUEENS.

Insult, meet injury.

Rather finished dead last in New York during the 6:30 pm timeslot among all broadcast channels tracked by NIELSEN on Tuesday.

Developing…

Oh yeah, it most certainly is.

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