CNN will finish 2009 behind MSNBC in prime-time ratings, the first time CNN has ever trailed a competitor other than the Fox News Channel over a full calendar year.Wow.
You create a whole market niche -- the 24-hour cable news channel -- only to watch all these upstart partisan guys come in and clean your clock. What's it all mean? Partisan sells, and partisan hackery sells best (how else to explain Glenn Beck?). The fragmentation of the news audience is in some ways good -- more competition should theoretically result in better news production -- but mostly bad, because in the race to the lowest common denominator, television news has never gone out of business by being bad. Just look at local television news, which is basically tabloid journalism. A fragmented audience means, to borrow a title from a very good book, a lack of common knowledge, a lack of shared experience, a lack of basic understanding of the events of the day not colored by partisan hackery.