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Beltway Confidential

Has Fox already won the cable news race?

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Beltway Confidential,Fox News,CNN,Media,Charles Hoskinson

As CNN moves away from news and MSNBC sinks deeper into the black hole of left-wing bias, it's time to ask: Has Fox won the cable news race?

Let's look at the evidence:

Capital New York reported Tuesday that CNN President Jeff Zucker has concluded the cable channel "cannot subsist on news alone" and that his goal for the next six months is "more shows and less newscasts." Zucker's dramatic move to delink CNN from its rivalry with Fox and MSNBC comes after a second straight month in which his network fell to third in the ratings, led by a loss of viewers in the key 25-54 age group.

In spite of the ratings gain, MSNBC is having troubles with its hosts. The network and actor Alec Baldwin "parted ways," on Nov. 26, just six weeks after the debut of his talk show. Another host, Martin Bashir, reportedly has gone "on vacation" after suggesting that 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin should be forced to eat excrement (although that's not the word he used).

That, and the fact that MSNBC is approaching the point where it's nothing but a 24-hour-a-day cheering section for the Left's agenda, led Real Clear Politics' Carl Cannon to wonder Nov. 22 whether it's "time to pull the plug" on its programming.

Meanwhile, Fox's November viewership numbers were greater than both of its rivals combined, and was second place among all cable networks in primetime behind ESPN.

Does that mean a victory for conservative opinion as well? Not exactly. Fox's top-rated shows, such as "The O'Reilly Factor," thrive more on the entertainment value from having liberals and conservatives lock horns than they do from airing the Right points of view.

And there are signs that cable news in general is reaching the limits of its popularity. Total viewership is down compared to 2012, and there are signs that many people are turning for information to sources that can provide it on demand, rather than at scheduled times.

Update: Bashir has resigned from MSNBC.

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