I know, we are all still worn down from the 2020 Election season that seemed to never end. Our audience is still worn down from it. And while I believe it’s important to have as much “fun” as we can have in the format right now, the reality is the nuts and bolts of what we do, politics, are already creeping back up into the conversation.
In Kansas City, we had two big news items this week: First up was news that U.S. Senator Roy Blunt would not seek re-election in 2022. He’s arguably the most important political figure currently in the state and he has decided to hang ‘em up. The next day, we found out that Kansas attorney general Derek Schmidt would be running for Governor of the state in 2022.
While I wrote last week that I believe the audience wants a break from the Washington D.C. swamp, when the political news is this big and obviously incredibly local, it can’t, and should not, be avoided. On KCMO Talk Radio, we landed the first interview on any media platform in Kansas City with Senator Blunt, who talked about why he decided to not run again, his relationship with Donald Trump, what role that played, and much more. For Derek Schmidt, we knew about this announcement ahead of time, and after his official announcement came down at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, he was set to join us in the 8:00 a.m. hour.
Yes, we all might be worn down, but the reality is that the political cycle seems to start earlier each and every time. No one is going to the polls in Kansas or Missouri for another 18 months when the primaries will take place. But in a world where money talks and fundraising needs to happen around the clock, the candidates have a continued incentive to announce their plans earlier than ever before.
The 2020 Democratic primary felt like it went on for two years, and that’s because it nearly did with over 20 candidates! If you’re looking for that to change anytime soon, you will be sorely disappointed. In many ways, it’s become like the NFL, which is now a 12-month per year sport with the season, playoffs, combine, NFL Draft and summer camps. Politics is trending in the same direction.
And while I wouldn’t spend hours of my show right now speculating on who might be a Republican Presidential candidate in 2024 (I shiver and shake at the thought of having to talk about that at the moment), when it’s local and your audience expects you to be the one to capitalize on the news, know the inside information that’s getting discussed, and more, well, that’s the job.
And while it sure might seem “too early”, there’s no getting around it. For the news cycle, at least in our case, it is likely to be the way of the future in all upcoming election cycles. Earlier and earlier. It can be a blessing or a curse, but that depends on your approach, the proper amount of time given to it will lead to wins in the short and long term. Belaboring elections that are either 18 months or three years away will be a show killer.
Children Are Paying a Heavier Price Over Covid
“Too many parents, studies, and experts are concerned with the overall mental and physical health of a child that it’s impossible to ignore any longer.”
Here we go again, another COVID surge. Big businesses will thrive, small businesses will get by, restaurants will struggle, but for the most part, we can handle another wave. Schools, however, I’m not so sure.
Since everyone will try and decipher where I stand on the issue, let me be upfront. I’m triple vaccinated, I don’t like to wear a mask, but I do, when asked, and usually after a few minutes in a store, I pull it down so it’s not so annoying. I have an toddler at home who is not yet school age.
Schools are the front lines of this war. Kids who are forced to wear a mask to protect other kids, teachers, and themselves is seen as a small inconvenience for the greater good.
On the other hand, kids who are forced to wear a mask are having their self esteem destroyed, their ability to interact short circuited, and their mental health continues to suffer. They’re falling behind in their learning, and their overall general health is bad and is getting worse.
Schools have been able to find common ground on much tougher issues (bullying, drugs, violence, kickball) so why can’t we find an acceptable alternative when it comes to masks?
It’s all masks all the time or no masks ever again.
The latest numbers in St. Louis have 54 children ages 18 and younger in the hospital and 10 children in the ICU.
Each one tragic, and if I were a parent, I would want to call out the national guard. But, too many parents, too many studies, and too many experts are generally concerned with the overall mental and physical health of a child that it’s impossible to ignore any longer. If you disagree, look at the mental health of the adults around the kids. We parents aren’t handling this pandemic well so what chance do our children have?
Conversely, some parents are petrified of the great unknown when it comes to Covid. Children get it at a much lesser degree, and not as severe, except when it’s your child.
Politicians aren’t helping the situation either. They are using the issue to gain attention from their respective fringes, hoping it will propel them to a higher office. They win when we stay angry with each other. If one were cynical, one would say they don’t want a solution. Fixing the problem doesn’t help them.
During the polio outbreaks of years ago, schools would delay openings, cancel schools, and parents would limit who could play with their kids because “they have polio over there”. It wasn’t ideal, but in the 1930’s you had one parent home to help. ( In fact, radio, back in the day was part of the solution. Radio helped with the virtual learning. It was the zoom of its day.) Today with both parents working it’s much more difficult for a family.
At some point we have to arrive at a new normal. It’s been two full years and now our third February. We can’t continue to have virtual learning, and school board meetings where parents are screaming at each other like junkyard dogs. At what point do we put down our weapons, and come up with a compromise?
While one parent worries about the long term negative effects of the vaccine, the other parent worries about the long term negative effects of COVID. It seems like they should be able to understand each other.
In some ways there is no answer, but in others, we must find one. The children are watching. We are making them pawns in our political fights. We are using them to propel our political agenda. I worry what long lasting negative effects all of this will have on them long after COVID is gone.
CNN Remains Top Destination For New Year’s Eve Celebrations
“From 11p-12:30am, CNN drew 3.3 million total viewers, matching its second-best ever total audience of that date’s time slot.”
The calendar changed from 2021 to 2022, and cable’s No. 1 non-sports destination for New Year’s Eve celebrations, CNN, remained so. Once again at New York’s Times Square were hosts Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen. Some of the guests featured were actor Leslie Jordan, performer Katy Perry, Academy Award winner Regina King and King’s former “227” co-star Jackee Harry.
For the 90-minute period of 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Eastern, it drew 3.3 million total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research, matching CNN’s second-best ever total audience (with New Year’s Eve 2017) of that date’s time slot. It was during that time frame when the night’s most viral moment took place. Shortly after the clock struck midnight, a ticked-off (and tipsy) Cohen criticized the “victory lap dance” by “horrible” New York City mayor Bill de Blasio.
CNN’s full 4.5-hour telecast averaged 2.12 million total viewers including 746,000 within the key 25-54 demographic (from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.). This marked a 35 percent decline in each key figure from their record-setting New Year’s Eve 2020. Still, it delivered cable’s best adults 25-54 performance of the week (ending Jan. 2) outside of ESPN’s football coverage, Paramount’s “Yellowstone” and TLC’s “90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days.”
Cable news’ runner-up telecast for the week among adults 25-54 was CNN’s continued New Year’s Eve celebrations from New Orleans, Louisiana. It was hosted by a visibly-inebriated Don Lemon alongside fellow CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota and “Daily Show” comedienne Dulce Sloan. The special, which began at 12:30 a.m. Eastern, averaged 1.455 million total viewers including 614,000 in the 25-54 age range. While it dipped to its lowest total audience amount since 2014, the telecast ran until 1:30 a.m. Eastern, meaning the figure included the steep drop in viewership after 1 a.m. Eastern/midnight Central. Prior to Dec. 31, 2019, CNN had concluded Lemon’s portion at 1:05 a.m. Eastern. This was the first year Lemon spent New Year’s without Brooke Baldwin, his longtime fellow co-host on the occasion; Baldwin had departed CNN back in April.
In the overnight on CNN, a rerun of “New Year’s Live with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen” from 1:30-3:30 a.m. drew 755,000 viewers (with 252,000 adults 25-54); at 3:30-4:30 a.m., a re-airing of “New Year’s Live” with Don Lemon (remaining uncensored) posted 369,000 viewers and a still-above-CNN’s-total-day-average of 124,000 adults 25-54.
Over at Fox News on Dec. 31, their one-hour 2021 retrospective “Who Can Forget” at 8 p.m. drew 1.35 million viewers (172 adults 25-54), followed by the 1.85 million (including 242,000 adults 25-54) who tuned in to Greg Gutfeld’s one-hour New Year’s special at 9 p.m. “All-American New Year 2022” from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. averaged 1.85 million total viewers and 359,000 adults 25-54 — approximately twice more than last New Year’s Eve.
Also during the week, from federal court in New York City, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted on federal charges of luring underage teenage girls to engage in sex acts with American millionaire Jeffrey Epstein. The jury had deliberated for five days before they found her guilty of five of the six counts charged against her. The verdict occurred on Dec. 29 at 5:10 p.m. Eastern. Fox News Channel was the top cable news outlet in breaking news coverage with 2.9 million viewers and 386,000 adults 25-54. Although no labels from Nielsen indicated the news event on CNN and MSNBC, the 5-6 p.m. hour of CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” drew 822,000 total viewers and 173,000 adults 25-54; MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House” from 4-6 p.m. delivered 1.12 million viewers and 134,000 adults 25-54.
On upstart NewsNation, their “Rush Hour” program on Dec. 29 from 5-6 p.m. posted 119,000 viewers. Oddly enough, it was the least-watched weeknight edition from Dec. 27-31; overall, “Rush Hour” averaged 156,000 viewers for the week.
Cable news averages for December 27, 2021-January 2, 2022:
Total Day (December 27-January 2 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)
- Fox News Channel: 1.225 million viewers; 187,000 adults 25-54
- MSNBC: 0.531 million viewers; 58,000 adults 25-54
- CNN: 0.529 million viewers; 110,000 adults 25-54
- HLN: 0.224 million viewers; 74,000 adults 25-54
- CNBC: 0.164 million viewers; 38,000 adults 25-54
- The Weather Channel: 0.154 million viewers; 28,000 adults 25-54
- Fox Business Network: 0.094 million viewers; 12,000 adults 25-54
- Newsmax: 0.093 million viewers; 12,000 adults 25-54
Prime Time (December 27-January 1 @ 8-11 p.m.; January 2 @ 7-11 p.m.)
- Fox News Channel: 1.749 million viewers; 232,000 adults 25-54
- MSNBC: 0.774 million viewers; 75,000 adults 25-54
- CNN: 0.743 million viewers; 170,000 adults 25-54
- HLN: 0.245 million viewers; 82,000 adults 25-54
- CNBC: 0.191 million viewers; 60,000 adults 25-54
- The Weather Channel: 0.156 million viewers; 34,000 adults 25-54
- Newsmax: 0.111 million viewers; 14,000 adults 25-54
- Fox Business Network: 0.063 million viewers; 13,000 adults 25-54
Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top CNN and MSNBC programs with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:
1. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 12/27/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.128 million viewers
2. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 12/29/2021 5:00 PM, 10 min.) 3.015 million viewers
3. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 12/28/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.940 million viewers
4. Special Report: Maxwell Verdict (FOXNC, Wed. 12/29/2021 5:10 PM, 50 min.) 2.897 million viewers
5. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 12/30/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.762 million viewers
6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 12/28/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.690 million viewers
7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 12/29/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.519 million viewers
8. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 12/27/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.415 million viewers
9. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 12/28/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.325 million viewers
10. Special Report with Bret Baier (FOXNC, Mon. 12/27/2021 6:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.277 million viewers
14. New Years Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen (CNN, Fri. 12/31/2021 8:00 PM, 270 min.) 2.124 million viewers
62. New Years Eve Live (CNN, Fri. 12/31/2021 12:30 AM, 60 min.) 1.455 million viewers
65. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Wed. 12/29/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.432 million viewers
Top 10 cable news programs (and the top HLN and MSNBC programs with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54:
1. New Years Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen (CNN, Fri. 12/31/2021 8:00 PM, 270 min.) 0.746 million adults 25-54
2. New Years Eve Live (CNN, Fri. 12/31/2021 12:30 AM, 60 min.) 0.614 million adults 25-54
3. All American New Year’s (FOXNC, Fri. 12/31/2021 12:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.462 million adults 25-54
4. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 12/27/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.406 million adults 25-54
5. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 12/30/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.401 million adults 25-54
6. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 12/29/2021 5:00 PM, 10 min.) 0.397 million adults 25-54
7. Special Report: Maxwell Verdict (FOXNC, Wed. 12/29/2021 5:10 PM, 50 min.) 0.386 million adults 25-54
8. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 12/28/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.379 million adults 25-54
9. All American New Year’s (FOXNC, Fri. 12/31/2021 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.364 million adults 25-54
10. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 12/28/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.361 million adults 25-54
74. Forensic Files “Who’s Your Daddy” (HLN, Tue. 12/28/2021 11:30 PM, 30 min.) 0.206 million adults 25-54
115. The Beat with Ari Melber (MSNBC, Mon. 12/27/2021 6:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.155 million adults 25-54
Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research
An Insider’s View of the Media Game
Last week, former co-host of The View, Jedediah Bila, joined radio host Glenn Beck to discuss the recent years of her career inside the mainstream media.
It is one thing for an outsider to critique the media for its lack of honesty or intellectual curiosity. After all, polling consistently shows that Americans are steadily losing trust in the legacy, corporate media.
However, it is quite another thing for a true insider to reveal what she saw inside the belly of the beast.
Last week, former co-host of The View, Jedediah Bila, joined radio host Glenn Beck to discuss the recent years of her career inside the mainstream media.
“We are truly in two different countries now,” Beck said. “I’ve never felt that about America, but we are. I don’t even understand the thinking of people. With Rittenhouse, what people said after the trial. Watch the trial. What happened with Jussie Smollett. MSNBC didn’t even report on that in primetime at all. That creates two Americas – one where there are facts and one where there’s just this fantasy fact.”
“I actually got into this business years ago; I wasn’t someone who grew up in a political family. I wasn’t someone who worked in Washington, D.C. I didn’t want to work in Washington, D.C. But I was interested because I watched Sarah Palin. I didn’t know who she was at the time. She came on the scene, and she was immediately attacked,” Bila remembered. “You had media that landed in Wasilla, Alaska, and decided they were going to do oppo research on her. So I immediately said to myself – oh, I need to find out what she’s done right because she’s angered all the right people, so let’s look at her record.”
Bila, who spent time as the lone conservative voice on The View, said that was her first real inkling that the media was “very powerful and very destructive.”
“The second moment I had where I said to myself, wow, this is insanity, was the Kavanaugh hearings,” she explained. “When you saw what happened there, this guy, they were destroying him; there was no evidence that he had done any of these things. They made a decision that they were going to make this about politics, and the media gathered together and decided he was guilty. There was no evidence being presented.”
The two noted that to this day, based on this baseless media spin, many people still believe Justice Kavanaugh is guilty. Beck also pointed out that many also believe the same evidence-free media tale of “Russian collusion.”
“How do you survive that?” Beck asked.
“I think what you are saying about two countries; there are people who care about facts. They’re all over the country, and they are sprouting up, not on mainstream media outlets, but you are seeing them on alternative media outlets,” Bila said. “That’s why you see them in podcasting; you see them in Substack. You see them all over Twitter saying, wait a second, I’m not affiliated with corporate media, but I’m going to tell you the truth. And more and more people are flocking to them.”
To Bila, who has worked in different areas of the country, and for various media organizations, the threat is much more significant and overarching than any one outlet or news source.
“The problem arises that you have collusion here,” Bila opined. “You have Big Tech, which has a narrative. You have Big Media, which has a narrative. You have Big Politics right now, meaning Democrat politics. It’s all the same narrative, and they’ve all come together and decided, we’re going to make what’s untrue true, at all costs.”
Bila believes it takes much more effort these days to determine what is fact and what is political propaganda, and citizen journalists have often been at the forefront of ferreting out the truth. But in her estimation, non-traditional media has already been successful in exposing this media corruption and purposeful deception.
“People start to say, I’m being manipulated by the media,” Bila said. “This is a game, and I’m being played. So see the game or be played by the game.”
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