A Gallup poll conducted last month provides a powerful tribute to the wonders of Fox News. Gallup posed a wide-open question to more than 2,000 adults across the country: “Thinking about various sources of news available today, what would you say is your main source of news about current events in the U.S. and around the world?”

The winner was “television” as a basket category, at 26 percent. The “Internet” took second place with 18 percent. And then came Fox News, at 8 percent. Everyone else, from CNN (at a respectable 7 percent) to “newspaper” (6 percent) to “radio” (4 percent) to MSNBC, the New York Times and NPR (each 1 percent), trailed.

The upshot is that Fox News is not only beating its competitors in terms of news brand recognition and reliance; it’s also beating whole media. CNN boasts this distinction, too, edging out “newspaper” and “radio.”

While the poll confirms the health of Fox News in the current media constellation, it simultaneously raises questions about its hold on that spot. Here’s the key detail: “[N]early two-thirds of Fox News-oriented news consumers are 50 and older, compared with barely a third of CNN-oriented news consumers: 66% vs. 35%.” If Fox News is concerned about demographic wobbliness in its future, it certainly isn’t betraying such.

The big loser in the Gallup findings is MSNBC. It commonly secures mention alongside Fox News and CNN in other studies as well as in the daily ratings race. This Gallup poll, however, doesn’t bother to analyze in detail MSNBC’s demographics as it does with Fox News and CNN.

When asked why MSNBC wasn’t included, Gallup’s Lydia Saad answered via e-mail: “With only 1% selecting MSNBC, there weren’t enough cases. However, most of the story focused on the demographics of broad groups – TV, Internet, Radio and Print news consumers – so in that sense all outlets were covered. Fox and CNN were just the only specific media outlets that had sufficient cases to look at individually.”


Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.