John Harwood Draws Delusional Equivalence Between Fox and Other Cable Nets

Writing for The New York Times, John Harwood concludes that everyone in cable news is partisan just like Fox, based on an utterly idiotic misreading of statistics:

...amid the Iraq war and President George W. Bush's re-election campaign, ... Fox News viewers had become 51 percent Republican and just 30.8 percent Democratic, while MSNBC viewers leaned Democratic by 41.7 percent to 40.4 percent. Viewers of CNN, Headline News, CNBC and Comedy Central grew slightly more Democratic.

By 2008-9, the network audiences tilted decisively, like Fox's. CNN viewers were more Democratic by 50.4 percent to 28.7 percent; MSNBC viewers were 53.6 percent to 27.3 percent Democratic; Headline News' 47.3 percent to 31.4 percent Democratic; CNBC's 46.9 percent to 32.5 percent Democratic; and Comedy Central's 47.1 to 28.8 percent Democratic.

Those ... trends track deepening partisan passions and decisions by cable news programmers to amplify strong opinions....

What's wrong with this analysis?

Let's say you're a hardcore alcoholic, of the beer-and-a-shot-and-hit-me-again-barkeep variety; you're fond of serious boozing and brawling. And let's say there are only two watering holes in town: an old-school saloon with a full supply of all the standard varieties of hooch and, across town, the All Girly Drink Cafe.

Which one are you going to go to -- all the time? And which one are you going to avoid -- all the time?

Well, John Harwood would interpret the lack of old-fashioned beer-and-a-shot drunks in the All Girly Drink Cafe as evidence that girly drinks don't contain alcohol.

Of course girly drinks contain alcohol -- just the same way CNN (home to Lou Dobbs) and MSNBC (home to Joe Scarborough) and Headline News (home to Glenn Beck until less than a year ago) and CNBC (epicenter of capitalism porn and site of the notorious Rick Santelli rant) contain conservatism.

But real conservatives want to go where they feel completely at home and can get what they want full strength. So they don't even bother with the other channels -- remember how abysmal Glenn Beck's ratings were at Headline News? -- because they'd rather go where everybody knows their name. In other words, viewership of the other channels isn't skewed Democrat because (MSNBC in prime time excepted) they're so damn liberal; it's skewed because Republicans won't watch these channels.

They're too busy puking in the toilet of the beer-and-a-shot bar that is Fox.


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