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Inside the Beltway: Fox News marks 200 consecutive months as No. 1

August 28, 2018

Fox News Channel still does everything right. Viewers, it seems, simply can’t get enough of the coverage. Fox News hit a major milestone in August, marking 200 consecutive months as the most watched cable news network of all, this according to Nielsen Media Research. That means Fox News has been top dog for 16 years and six months with a prime time audience averaging 2.3 million viewers, compared to 1.8 million for MSNBC and 1 million for CNN.

Meanwhile, Fox News has remained the most watched network across the entire cable realm for 26 months, besting such non-news rivals as HGTV, USA Network, the History Channel and ESPN to name a few of the 100-plus networks that are included in Nielsen ratings.

In terms of consistent viewers last month, “Hannity” leads the way, attracting some 3.1 million viewers night after night. For those who keep track of such things, “Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC attracted 2.8 million viewers, again according to Nielsen. Other Fox viewer favorites are “Tucker Carlson Tonight” with 2.6 million and “The Ingraham Angle” with 2.5 million.

Fox News popularity could have something to do with the trust factor. A “Media Trust Tracker” released in August by Brand Keys, an industry source, found that 87 percent of the 4,012 TV viewers involved in the research said they trusted Fox News which was more than they trusted PBS, Bloomberg, CNN, MSNBC or the Big Three networks CBS, ABC and NBC.

Fox Business Network also has positive news, now enjoying its 15th consecutive month as the nation’s most popular business-news network with a 19 percent ratings advantage over closest rival CNBC during August. “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” “Varney Co.” and “Closing Bell with Liz Claman” remain the most watched programs in business news; Mr. Dobbs, in fact, has been No. 1 for 28 months or over two years.

STILL GUARDING THE CONSTITUTION

C-SPAN has conducted a telling opinion poll on the Supreme Court. Likely voters, for example, have a general idea about the highest court but details are missing. Two-thirds of the respondents could not name “the individual” whom President Trump nominated to be a Supreme Court justice even though seven-out-of-10 say they are following the story. More numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

In the meantime, Republicans and conservatives remain protective of the Constitution as it was originally written.

The survey found that 48 percent of voters agree that “the Constitution is a living document which should evolve to recognize ‘new rights’ and changing circumstances.” That includes 80 percent of liberals and 66 percent of Democrats but only 22 percent of conservatives and 26 percent of Republicans. Moderates and independents are right there in the middle at 50 percent and 49 percent, respectively.

Another 42 percent of voters overall say that the Constitution “should be interpreted according to its original words and meaning.” The survey found that 15 percent of liberals and 23 percent of Democrats agree with this, compared to 68 percent of conservatives and 64 percent of Republicans. Among moderates and independents, it was 38 percent and 42 percent, respectively. Everybody else was undecided.

The partisan divide is present here, and it has crept into voter perception of the court itself.

“Two in three American citizens who have an opinion think the U.S. Supreme Court is a partisan political body similar to Congress and those numbers are rising,” says Robert Green, a research expert with Penn Schoen Berland the strategic communications group that crafted the poll for C-SPAN.

TRUMP BUMP: AN 18 YEAR-RECORD

Things are buzzing. Things are good.

“Consumer confidence increased to its highest level since October 2000,” reports Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, a research association that painstakingly gauges the nation’s consumer attitudes and buying intentions every month.

“Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions improved further. Expectations, which had declined in June and July, bounced back in August and continue to suggest solid economic growth for the remainder of 2018. Overall, these historically high confidence levels should continue to support healthy consumer spending in the near-term,” Ms. Franco notes.

THE PUMPKIN SPICE WEATHER REPORT

The nation’s weather anchors had a comment or two to say about Starbucks’ decision to introduce their infamous pumpkin spice lattes on Tuesday about 72 hours earlier than usual. The “PSL” phenomenon led national trends on Twitter in the aftermath, while meteorologists themselves tweeted their concerns. Among them, complete with their Twitter punctuation:

“Starbucks trots out the dreaded seasonal #PumpkinSpiceLatte today. Highs around 90 degrees. Dew point in the low 70s. Still full-bore summer with the autumnal equinox over 25 days away,” noted Tom Ackerman of WLEX, an NBC affiliate in Lexington, Kentucky.

“I’m sorry but dewpoints in the 70s is not #PumpkinSpiceLatte weather,” agreed Jen Carfagno of the Weather Channel.

“Uhh, #PumpkinSpiceLatte starts today? Perfect timing for Bismarck, North Dakota!” reported Grant Johnson, NBC5 in Dallas-Fort Worth.

“Today you can buy a #PumpkinSpiceLatte at @Starbucks, but we are 25 days away from the first day of fall on September 22nd,” said Reuben Contreras, ABC30 in Fresno, California.

POLL DU JOUR

91 percent of likely U.S. voters say Supreme Court decisions impact their everyday life; 90 percent of Republicans, 91 percent of independents and 92 percent of Democrats agree.

64 percent overall say the Supreme Court should allow TV coverage of oral arguments; 59 percent of Republicans, 62 percent of independents and 70 percent of Democrats agree.

63 percent would prefer an 18-year rather than a lifetime appointment for Supreme Court justices; 60 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of independents and 66 percent of Democrats agree.

60 percent overall can’t identify “the individual” President Trump nominated for Supreme Court justice; 57 percent of Republicans, 61 percent of independents and 62 percent of Democrats agree.

56 percent overall say the Supreme Court is split on political grounds “like Congress”; 54 percent of Republicans, 56 percent of independents and 59 percent of Democrats agree.

52 percent overall can’t name any current Supreme Court justices; 55 percent of Republicans, 51 percent of independents and 52 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A C-SPAN/PSB Research survey of 1,000 likely U.S. voters.

Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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