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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Is Talk TV Trending Blue?

We’re liking Jacques Steinberg’s article “Cable Channel Nods to Ratings and Leans Left” in today’s New York Times. Apparently, it isn’t just the public opinion polls that show a tilt towards progressive values. As Steinberg notes,

…MSNBC already presents a three-hour block of nighttime talk — Chris Matthews’s “Hardball” at 7, Mr. Olbermann at 8, and “Live With Dan Abrams” at 9 — in which the White House takes a regular beating. The one early-evening program on MSNBC that is often most sympathetic to the administration, “Tucker” with Tucker Carlson at 6 p.m., is in real danger of being canceled, said one NBC executive…

Bill O’Reilly still draws about 1.5 million more viewers “most of the time” than his liberal MSNBC time-slot competitor, Keith Olberman. But Olberman has increased his ratings by a third during the last year and:

On some nights recently, Mr. Olbermann has even come tantalizingly close to surpassing the ratings of the host he describes as his nemesis, Bill O’Reilly on Fox News, at least among viewers ages 25 to 54, which is the demographic cable news advertisers prefer.

Evidently, talk show viewers are increasingly leaning left with their remotes — and their time.

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