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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 5/20/10

The Truth About Glenn Beck's TV Ratings

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Message Eric Boehlert
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I'm not surprised Glenn Beck is kind of freaking out over the fact that Media Matters continues to remind people that the Fox News host's ratings are swooning in 2010, and that he's lost one-third of his audience this year, as well as hit a couple low-water marks on the Nielsen scorecard. I'm not surprised he's taking it personally and lashing out because Beck is, at heart, a radio guy and radio guys are wired when it comes to ratings. Ratings are how they judge people and how they themselves are judged. ("Great spring book!")

So I'm sure it's painful for Beck to see the numbers go down, to know that people are noting the precipitous drop, and there's no doubt a mounting fear that people are judging him because of his sliding Nielsen numbers. And so yes, that's why he's been spinning the story pretty hard.

I get it. However, I also understand that the Nielsen numbers don't lie. But after watching Beck last night talk about his ratings, I'm pretty sure he does. Or at least that Beck likes to play loose with the numbers [emphasis added]:

It was Media Matters, by the way, who first started the lie that we could read in, I think, the LA Times and then The Washington Post ... the little story came from Media Matters that my ratings were down on this program. Well, now we can tell you 'cause the official ratings are out, May to May, and it's weird. They're down so far that they are actually up 22 percent. Sounds like a smear campaign with no facts at all.

Trust me, if my claim that Beck had lost one-third of his audience this year was a fact-free smear campaign, Fox News would have buried Media Matters, as well as every TV industry reporter and blogger, in a blizzard of press releases detailing exactly how Beck's ratings were not down -- they were up! Fox News, like every major cable outfit, has an entire division of its communications/research team that does nothing but churn out press releases to prove just how amazing and fantastic its ratings are.

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