Subjective ‘News’: Buzzfeed Says ‘Fox News Bench is Weak’

-By Warner Todd Huston

In a classic example of substituting opinion for facts, Buzzfeed reported that MSNBC’s recent ratings should “make Fox News nervous.” It seems the main reason Fox should be nervous is because its featured stars and its back bench correspondents are “weak” according to Buzzfeed Politics.

For Buzzfeed, Dorsey Shaw writes that MSNBC has begun to climb the ratings ladder becoming second to Fox News and ahead of CNN in the cable race. But Shaw also notes that for the first time ever a couple of the far left-wing cabler’s shows beat Fox in the ratings game.

MSNBC’s back-to-back prime-time opinion shows, The Rachel Maddow Show and The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, topped both Fox News and CNN for the coveted 25–54 demographic during the week of Dec. 3. That gives Phil Griffin’s network the number one ranking in the demo for four of the first five weeks since the presidential election. Adding to the impressive numbers is the fact that the MSNBC shows outperformed their Fox counterparts despite having guest hosts fill in for Maddow Dec. 5 through Dec. 7.

Dorsey properly reports that Fox still dominates Prime Time ratings but goes on to needle Fox for a three-year-old press release that touts its own ratings success — what that has to do with anything is anybody’s guess.

Buzzfeed indulges a bit of ageism, too, by pointing out that by 2016 Fox’s biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, will be eligible for Social Security. But if Dorsey felt that O’Reilly wasn’t “hip” enough, then why does he do all those liberal shows like The View and Jon Stewart?

Dorsey spends the most space attacking Fox for having a “weak bench” of up-and-comers. This is a pretty subjective point to make, certainly. Interestingly, Buzzfeed doesn’t bother noting that MSNBC’s second tier is filled with hacks and cranks such as Lawrence O’Donnell, Martin Bashir, Ed Schultz, Alex Wagner and Al Sharpton.

But if any cable network should be worried about the rise of MSNBC it is CNN. The venerable “real news” network has fallen to a dismal third place despite being the most famous of the three cable news networks.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

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