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Debate Audience Outdraws the Bills Here; “News” Coverage Slow

And the local TV winner of the Presidential debate Wednesday night is …. Channel 2.

That was to be expected since Channel 2 is the local NBC affiliate and the NBC Nightly News is dominant in this market.

The four broadcast networks that carried the debate between President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney had a combined 27 ratings point, which means 27 percent of area households were tuned in to those four channels. Channel 2 had an 11.2 rating, Channel 4 (CBS) 7.5, Channel 7 (6.9) and Channel 29 (Fox) a 1.4.

Fox News led the other channels carrying the debate with a 5.0 local rating. CNN averaged a 3.5, Channel 17 (PBS) a 2.3 and MSNBC a 2.1. I don’t have a rating for C-Span.

Damian Lewis: Suspend Disbelief

The cable channels and PBS added a combined 12.9 ratings point for a combined broadcast-cable- PBS rating of 39.9 points. That means about 250,000 WNY homes were tuned in. Nationally, 62 million reportedly watched, the most for a debate in 32 years.

To put the debate rating in perspective the highest-rated Bills game of the season so far was the 37.0 rating for the 52-28 loss to New England Sunday.

I picked up the Buffalo News Thursday and was startled to read a front page story with the headline “Romney cuts Obama lead in two states.” I wasn’t startled because Gov. Mitt Romney is closer to the President in Virginia and Florida.

I knew that. I was startled because I found out about the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll carried by NBC at around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and NBC immediately posted it on its website. I know it is tough for newspapers to compete with the timeliness of TV. But if you are going to run something 36 hours or more later, then you probably shouldn’t highlight how late you are by putting it on the front page.

I’m wondering if The News just planned on keeping it there for a few editions and had to keep it there for the final edition for production reasons.

I found it just as surprising that The News only carried a wire story Thursday morning about the debate, along with some comments from prominent Republicans and Democrats in the area. After all, the debate ended at 10:30 p.m.. The paper did a much better job covering the political conventions, which ended later and arguably were much less important than the debates. I would have thought there would have been a local column or two in Thursday’s paper about the debate instead of two this morning. I’m not blaming the writers, but early deadlines or editors who didn’t think it was important to try and be as current as possible.. If you picked up Thursday’s paper, you would have very little sense of how decisive Gov. Romney’s victory was in the debate because the wire story didn’t go there. 

OK, I love Showtime’s “Homeland” and I can usually suspend disbelief. But I found it hard to believe the director of the CIA’s counterterrorism unit would leave his room to be interviewed by a reporter and thereby allow Congressman Brody (Damian Lewis) time to secretly check out secret files in his office. Something even more implausible than that happens in Sunday’s stronger second episode.

The News has quietly pushed back the date it is going to charge for digital content to Oct. 29. There apparently are plenty of website problems to be ironed out before that could happen. Of course, anyone trying to navigate The News website knows that things aren’t running smoothly yet. It still is difficult to find stories.

Am I the only one surprised that the political ads for Chris Collins in his congressional race apparently only feature white people that he has hired giving testimonials? I realize the congressional district he is running in against incumbent Kathy Hochul probably doesn’t have many minorities, but wouldn’t you think he might have hired one or two? The line spoken by one woman that a Collins victory would mean “more jobs for people like me” unintentionally seems to have a double meaning.



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24 responses to "Debate Audience Outdraws the Bills Here; “News” Coverage Slow"

  1. Matt says:

    Wayyyyyyyyyyy to bring race into it! I know, I know Republicans hate anyone who is not White… It must be nice… to not have an EDITOR anymore!

    • Steve says:

      DEM Alan is at it again…Hochul’s ads are just full of minorities…not…Alan, do us all a favor a comment about TV shows and leave your personal political to yourself. By not mentioning what Hochul has in her ads makes your comment look rediculious.

      • alanp says:

        Thanks Steve. As far as I know, Hochul doesn’t own any businesses and doesn’t have ads that feature her employees. The point is that Collins’ ad team should have realized what the ads look like. As a media critic, it is my job to point things like this out. Like Tina, I am confused why you read this blog other than to annoy yourself. Good heavens I write a blog noting how well Romney performed in the debate and you’re complaining about a headline aimed at a local angle.

        • Carl says:

          Steve: You’re more in tuned with what Hochul has in her ads. Why don’t you educate us?

          It’s just my subtle way of asking you: Are you a masochist? Why are you still here reading this website when you could be reading other sites more suitable for your tastes? (I leave it to everyone else to go ahead and fill in the blanks.)

          • Steve says:

            Carl…since you are so interested this used to be a blog about the media, focussing on local media stories. Alan has morphed it into a Dem political blog. Maybe I’ll start my own media blog…timing is perfect.

  2. Doug says:

    Im at the point where I dont think I will subscribe to or read the Buffalo news anymore. I cannot find that many stories on their website anymore. Its a mess. But, I dont miss it. Im still getting all the news I need.

  3. Rob says:

    The BN may get it right but my question is why do we have to deal with their birth pains here? Most companies that have web based communication do an internal trial run and/or focus groups and it looks like the BN did none of that. It makes the only newspaper in town look second rate. The frustration by the majority may have cost them subscribers.

    • alanp says:

      I don’t disagree with you. Be patient. I’m told The News ie experiencing unexpected issues related to a new computer system needed for its new apps.

  4. Bob says:

    I can’t even find the comments after an article, maybe I’m just missing something…..

    • Rob says:

      It been conveniently “disabled” but they are saying it will be added “soon.” I feel bad for those same six posters on the BN comment section. What are they doing now with all this free time??

  5. GMan says:

    Now, this is entertainment. Different posters ripping each other to shreds. This is getting better than reading the “Sound Off”section in my local metro news. I’m sure glad we live in a country with FREE SPEECH! Land of the free,home of the brave….

  6. Doug says:

    People need to also remember that this is Alan’s blog. You may not like it, but he can write about whatever he pleases, opinions and all. To me, that’s a good thing.

    • Steve says:

      Did you hear? Alan is now teaching a Pol Sci course at Buf State :-)

      • Doug says:

        Maybe you should sign up Steve, you might learn something.

        • Steve says:

          Somehow I think the course would focus on how much more we need to grow government so we can turn the American dream into the American handout. Over time there will be no more “rich” who will be paying 40-50% in taxes. Then what happens?

          • Doug says:

            Republicans like Bush grow the government more than anything. Blame it on 911, I dont care, the deficit as well as government spending, and new government agencies grew under Bush. And why didnt he cut spending to pay for the war he started?

  7. Re: the race card…

    Note one important detail: the judge who drew the lines this election cycle, who drew the lines with compactness in mind, put almost all of the heavily minority portions of the area into Higgins’s district. The new 27th (and I have no idea why Higgins’s and Hochul’s districts swapped numbers arbitrarily) are predominantly white.

    Besides, the minority populations almost always, overwhelmingly, favor the Democrat in most elections, according to most polls. To try and capitulate to them would generally be a fruitless effort. The fact is Betty Jean Grant got half the vote in the primary a few days ago on her race-based politics alone. It takes a major scandal on the order of Antoine Thompson to overcome that.

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