2009 has been a historic year for the Fox News Channel. As the year comes to a close, annual ratings show that the “Fair & Balanced” network enjoyed the highest viewership in its 13-year history. Being at the top of the cable news ratings is nothing new for Fox–the network has finished with the highest ratings for the past eight years–but, during the first year of Obama’s presidency, Fox managed to significantly distance itself from rivals CNN and MSNBC.
Fox News beat its competition in all major ratings categories, including Total Day (1.2 million viewers), Primetime (2.2 million viewers), and Morning (1 million viewers). As well, Broadcasting & Cable points out that Fox enjoyed double-digit gains for all of its programs. “Special Report with Bret Baier” posted gains of 25% among total viewers (2 million) and 33% in the demo (454,000), while Fox’s marquee program, “The O’Reilly Factor,” is up 13% among total viewers (3.3 million) and 27% (801,000) in the demo.
In addition to a ratings climb, Fox News increased the influence it holds in the national consciousness. A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll asked: “From which ONE of the following national television news sources do you get MOST of your information about politics and current events?” Of the respondents, 27% said Fox, while 16% cited CNN and only 5% said MSNBC (36% cited the major networks).