The results of a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center released Thursday revealed that overall viewership of network news is at an all-time low, and maybe not so surprisingly, many Americans don't watch the news at all. The study showed that the percentage of Americans who regularly watch a nightly network news broadcast has declined from 60-percent in 1993 to just 27-percent in 2012.
In a time when then is more information available than ever so many Americans are still woefully uninformed, and many would say the 18-29 demographic is the most uninformed of all. But are they? Of those in that age group who responed to the survey, 49-percent said they never watch the news. Of course some would argue that not watching the network news isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's hard for anyopne to argue there is no partisan bias when it comes to the alphabet networks. It cannot be denied. It's just a fact. That bias is a major reason more and more Americans are getting their news from other sources, especially the internet. The popularity of alternative media is steadily rising as the old guard slips into obsolescence.
A recent op-ed by Shepard Ambellas & JG Vibes published on Intellihub helps explain why this is happening. We are less reliant on the corporate media and no longer need them to tell us what's important, or what to think. We have infinite sources of information, and can share what we learn with one another instantly. We can form our own opinions and base them on that vast wealth of available knowledge, and not on what some talking head partisan hack spoon feeds us.
"Now with the Internet, the barrier of entry has been lowered and anyone with an Internet connection or smart-phone can now share their point of view and their evidence, with their neighbors and with the world," Sabellas and Vibes wrote, "Instead of being passive observers of news and current events, people have taken matters into their own hands and are now becoming the media themselves."
Thanks in large part to technology and alternative media the number of network news viewers is rapidly declining. In fact is has been cut in half over the last three decades. The broadcast networks had an average of 48 million nightly network news viewers in 1985, but that number has fallen to 24.5 million in 2013, according to Pew Research analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.
With so many choices when it comes to news consumption, who needs Brian Williams? Not many of us apparently. The Pew study also showed that only 27-percent off all age groups could correctly identify a photo of Williams, who anchors the top-rated nightly network news program, NBC Nightly News. 53-percent of them had no idea who Williams was, 5-percent thought he was either Tom Brokaw or Vice-President Joe Biden. Thirty years ago 47-percent could identify Dan Rather, who at the time was the anchor of the top-rated CBS Evening News.
Americans aged 65 and older still make up the largest group of nightly news viewers, but their viewership has declined just as steadily since 1993 when it was at 75-percent, to 2012 when it was at 40-percent, according to the Pew study.
It's hard to say exactly how many of the people who have abandoned the networks have turned to alternative media or other news sources, or how many have just tuned out altogether. One thing is certain, the ignorance of the low-information voter is largely responsible for the current state of our nation. Our people are bitterly divided, our economy is stagnant, and our government is out of control on many levels, perhaps most alarmingly when it comes to the growing police state and the loss of our individual liberties.
The best defense against tyranny is information. It is of vital importance that we all remain vigilant and make our voices heard if we are to restore America, take back the power we have given the government, and return it to the people where it belongs. Turning off the network news is a start, but tuning out entirely is not an option.