It’s Not the Mainstream Media ... It’s the OLD News

George Washington's picture

hJ5Tn The Emperors Spokesman Has No Clothes


The average age of Fox News watchers is 65.  As Hollywood Reporter notes:

In a survey released by analyst Steve Sternberg, Fox News has the oldest audience among fully distributed cable networks. The network’s average viewer last season was 65 years old, according to Nielsen. Heck, it’s viewers are even older than viewers of Hallmark Channel, Military Channel and Golf Channel.

Hollywood Reporter notes that the other corporate news networks are greying as well:

CNN wasn’t far behind, though — its average audience was 63. MSNBC was a perky 59.

State of the Media points out:

The Pew Research Center’s biennial consumption survey is conducted in even years. In 2010, the average age of a regular evening news consumer was 53, seven years older than the average American.

This is largely due to the greying of tv audiences in general as Baby Boomers age.

This graphic (courtesy of Ed Stephan) shows the U.S. age pyramid from from 1950 through 2050:

male female
pyramid Its Not the Mainstream Media, Its the OLD Media
Population of the United States, by Age and Sex,
1950-2050 (millions)
information source: International Data Base, U.S. Census Bureau;
supplied pyramids were modified using Canvas, GraphicConverter and GIFBuilder.

[If you can't see the dates at the bottom of the pyramid, click here].

As the National Institutes of Health notes:

The first of the postwar baby boom cohort, born 1946–1964, will turn 55 years in 2001. In just three decades, an extraordinary change in the age structure of the United States is anticipated. By 2030, one in five persons (20% of the U.S. population) will be aged 65 or older, increasing from the present ratio of one in nine persons (12.8%). The number of persons in the 65 and older age group will more than double, increasing from the current 34 million persons to 70 million persons. Moreover, within the older segment of the population, because of longer life expectancy and additional persons reaching older ages, there will be age shifts resulting in the 85 and older population more than doubling in size from 4.3 million persons to approximately 8.9 million persons.

(See this and this for the effect of an aging population on the economy.)

So the average aged viewer will keep on rising for news conveyed on the “dinosaur media“.

And the young get their news more from the web, including mobile devices and social media.

A 2012 study by Pew found (via Poynter):

TV remains the most popular source of news, but its audience is aging: “Only about a third (34%) of those younger than 30 say they watched TV news yesterday; in 2006, nearly half of young people (49%) said they watched TV news the prior day,” the report says.

pew young ppl tv Its Not the Mainstream Media, Its the OLD Media

Twenty-eight percent of people 18-29 reported they watched local news regularly. In 2006, the report notes, that figure was 42 percent.




More people under 25 get news from digital (60 percent) than “traditional” sources such as TV, radio and print (43 percent).

But it’s also a question of loss of interest in all news sources by young people.  For example, Pew finds (with commentary from Poynter):

Fully 29% of those younger than 25 say they got no news yesterday either from digital news platforms, including cell phones and social networks, or traditional news platforms. That is little changed from 33% in 2010.

As before, the time people 18-29 spend consuming news, on average, is far lower than other groups. News sources are competing with social networking for the attention of people under 25, the study found: “as many used Facebook or another social networking site yesterday as got news from all sources combined (76% vs. 71%).”


Only 5 percent of people under 30 reported they follow news about “political figures and events in Washington” very closely.

The root problem is that young people have lost trust in the “old” media … and in the political system.

The dinosaur media is always pro-war, and happily trumpets disinformation about supposed enemies to drum up support for new wars.  Even after the Iraq WMD propaganda was thoroughly debunked, the old media is at it again (and then there’s war-o-tainment.)

Old media also spouts economic propaganda on a daily basis.

The young people aren’t buying it… No wonder a funny man – Jon Stewart -  is the main tv news source  for young people.

Postscript: Given that the top experts in every field have their own blogs, people who want real news can cut out the middleman ... and read the experts' insights direct and unfiltered.  See this, this and this.

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Kiwi Pete's picture

Another great article. Thanks George, I always like reading your stuff.

tony bonn's picture

news is faked 24 hours a day by the cia controlled state television channels - they spew lies incessantly - abc, cbs, nbc, cnn, fox, and a whole assortment of nazi loving control freaks....

it is astonishing that people are so in love with their newsfakers that they will believe the most fucktarded delusions such as a bullet zig zagging up and down through two bodies and coming to rest on a stretcher virtually undamanged, whole, and unbloodied....

Leraconteur's picture

"a bullet zig zagging up and down through two bodies and coming to rest on a stretcher virtually undamanged, whole, and unbloodied..."

Assuming that the many versions of Zapruder I have watched are real, it's easy to see.

This isn't 'accepting what the government tells me', this is looking at the video and reaching conclusions.

One can see, just one or two frames after impact as the vehicle clears the road sign, the reaction as Kennedy is hit in the throat/neck and Govenor Connolly is hit in the wrist. They react in the same frame - it is nearly an instantaneous and simultaneous reaction on the film.

It's obvious from the video that Connolly is seated lower and closer to the center of the vehicle than Kennedy, thus it's easy to see that a bullet would travel downwards and hit both.

This is clearly visible in the footage and separate frames.

Looking on maps, Google Earth and any of many sources at the distance from the shots to the 6th Floor of the depository, are very minimal. I had no idea it was so close. It was no more than 200 feet, and possibly as little as 50 yards. With a Berretta pistol and two hours on the firing range, I can hit within center target at 60 yards. WITH  A PISTOL. With a bolt action, iron sighted RIFLE at 50 yards, 50 YARDS!!!?, propping it up on a stable surface, seated, kneeling or prone, I could hit a target that size. It was absurdly close, moving away from the position, only a little bit of side to side motion in the field of vision of the shooter.

It's an easy shot. Sadly.

knukles's picture

Oh, you remember the Kennedy bullet picture, too!
So few people have any memory of it.
Not even any grooving marks along the body, no deformation....

I was just a kid and knew it was horseshit.
Especially the part about the bullet having been found "lying on the stretcher"


We are in deep shit... and have been.

Hell, goes all the way back to the town criers announcing the news sent by the king........

Michaelwiseguy's picture

MSNBC is total Queer Eye for the Insane Guy cable TV news.

lindaamick's picture

I quit TV.  It is total trash.

Young people do not watch the news because the media is nothing more than a mouthpiece for big criminal organizations which include government and corporations. 


Mark Noonan's picture

I remember as a child that nightly ritual of watching Walter Cronkite on television - and after he had read the news for 22 minutes he grandly intoned, "and that't the way it was" a child, I lacked a certain amount of insight and it was only many years later, upon reflection, that I realized first how stupid that was and, secondly, how monstrously arrogant it was.  As if you could compress the story of the day in to 22 minutes of television!

The fundamental flaw of the news media is that it can't tell the truth even if it wants to - and most of the time it doesn't even want to.  No television news broadcast can give you all the context necessary to understand the full story...and, indeed, it is not in television's interest to give any context because that, all too often, gets in the way of the story being salacious, or titilating, or enraging.  If you had to carefully explain all the background of all the players and thus show what may be motivating them - for good or ill - then it wouldn't be nearly "good" enough for television would be a bore; true, but still boring.

But the trouble with providing us with truncated and sensationlist bits and pieces is that, after a while, anyone with any sense starts to figure out that its all a lot of nonsense.  And so more and more people just tune it out - but not, as the results of this past November indicate, enough of them.  Though I do believe that 2012 might be the last year that the media gets to control the debate...the New Media is really reaching its stride now and eventually someone is going to bankroll television outfits which are genuinely independent of view and while they stil won't be able to give us the whole story (television never can) they won't ever pretend that they are, and they'll simply tell us as much of the truth as they can.

As an aside, this decay of the media has been going on for a long time - you can check this nearly century-old essay by G K Chesterton for confirmation of that.

Freddie's picture

When I was young I remember Cronkite and the rest with their nightly Vietnam body count like it was a ball game.

Meanwhile - those kids were over there dying and rotting like they are today.  Vietnam made LBJ insanely richer.  He owned a piece of all the action in Vietnam and the war.   LBJ left office the second richest President (adjusted for inflation).  Washington owned tons of land in VA so he was the richest. 

Nixon left office broke so he did not get rich off Vietnam.

I loathe TV, Hollywood and the media.  Evil evil. TV is the best tool to brainwash and control masses of people.

Mark Noonan's picture

The camera is the great falsifier of our time...

andrewp111's picture

Exactly. That is why the Soviets issued every household a TV set back in the day.

"TV is the best tool to brainwash and control masses of people."

Fix It Again Timmy's picture

The ideal tv viewer for CNN [Comatose News Network] has high blood pressure, a limp dick, enlarged prostate, heart condition, fading eyesight, arthritis, loose dentures, gas, acid-reflux, a diminishing 401k, and is thinking about a reverse mortgage...

WillyGroper's picture

I'm old,but that was damn funny!

Umh's picture

My children don't read the news either they are much more concerned with getting laid; so what's the story here.

kaiserhoff's picture

Congratulations.  You have children.  They have their priorities "straight". 

Best of all, you have a sense of humor about your children.  From one parent to another, I see the pride in that, and I know how much effort it takes.  Well done.

knukles's picture

I don't do either anymore...

JustACitizen's picture

Personally, I do not know how anyone could stand a constant television diet of "negativity", "scare mongering" and content-less blather. There isn't a "corporate media outlet" that has any integrity whatsoever. On the good news front - the media is telling you exactly what they think of your intelligence every single day -and that is that you have none. So, be a good sheeple and run along now...

dolph9's picture

Aging people watch TV because the propaganda supports the comforting view that they did not sweat their entire lives to prop up a dying system.

They are wrong, and they know it, but they still watch the TV because they have nothing better to do.

kaiserhoff's picture

The writer's writer, John Updike, confronted his elderly mother on the point of her TV addiction, and her irrational interest in celebrities and talking heads:  to wit,

"They are more real to you than your own son.  Why is that?"

"Well, they are always here."


Smiley's picture

Cancelling your cable or satellite subscription is far more effective than voting.

Freddie's picture

+1 million

Someone else here "gets it!"

Good man! Or zombie based on the avatar. ;-)

trav777's picture

I thought the title of the article was that MSNBC averaged 59 viewers

ISEEIT's picture

So what's it matter if team blue only has 59 morons watching right? The other 59 are watching Hannity...and the rest just seriously don't give a fuck. They REALLY DON'T.

As long as this shit works for them, they will pray, plead, beg, tune out, medicate and basically surrender.

Not their fight.

They seriously don't care/give a fuck and consequently we are all screwed.

Nobody want's to be first.

kaiserhoff's picture

They are running out of money, and the ability to pretend they have money.  That may just fuck them up.

And you're right.  Everyone wants to be Sherman.  No one wants to be John Brown.


TruthInSunshine's picture

I only watch for the weather (okay...okay...I'm busted... not even for the weather):

They're getting bigger & bigger every year: Weather Chick's Hooters
Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

But everyone else is watching porn, so it's all good. 

XOFnews's picture

I'm not familiar with some of these other news channels. Are they even more accurate, fair and truthful than my faux handle?

ISEEIT's picture

Anyone struggling to understand should seriously give up MSM for two/three months. Honest...Just quit. I dare you.

It's like suddenly getting 8+ hours of sleep per night VS. 3.

Your brain will wake up.

Shit, for that matter, step off it ALL for two/three months.


Poor Grogman's picture

You are correct, I went cold turkey from TV after the fiasco of WMD searches in Iraq.

There is something mind numbing about TV that ruins ones enjoyment of life and totally twists ones comprehension of reality.

BidnessMan's picture

Can't remember the last time I watched a "news" show.  Funny how it was not a conscious choice.  Just faded away as irrelevant.   

taketheredpill's picture

Curious how many people commenting subscribe to a newspaper.  If you think it's a "liberal" newspaper, go to the Corporate info section on the website and check the last annual report Income stmt for revenues from subscribers and advertising.  Subscription revenue will be 20% of total or less.  Doesn't matter which paper.

My wife complains about the propaganda in our paper but refuses to cancel the subscription.  I read the obits and comics, some sports.  Lately even the comics are starting to suck.



Freddie's picture

Get rid of all the s**t especially TV and Hollywood's crap.   Newspapers?  What a joke. 

The only decent one is Investors Business Daily which is pretty libertarian and maybe the UK Telegraph.  The posters on the UK T are like ZH posters.

The rest are trash. Wall Street Journal/Barrons is a joke and the Financial Times is worse.  I am amazed at the idiots here who watch CNBC or Bloomberg.  Get rid of ALL TV or you help keep them in power.  

stiler's picture

with the mainstream media I get no say,; I can just scream @ my tv and only my wife will hear me.

but here it's different; I get my own little box to scream in.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

Yes.  Thanks to ZH I no longer scream at the TV.

JohnnyBriefcase's picture

I know, right? I just can't fathom how some would rather stare at an uninteractive screen broadcasting day old news (shit) when you can get instant feedback and interesting discussion with a some insults thrown in for fun for fucking dirt cheap (in relation to cable).

George Washington's picture

Hollywood Reporter has this zinger:

"Perhaps the reason viewers tend to leave Fox News on all day racking up hours of big Nielsen numbers is they can't actually change the channel?"

kaiserhoff's picture

The mask slips and the inner kleptocrat shines through..., again.

George Washington's picture

Calm down, Mr. Ailes ... Hollywood Reporter was talkin about how OLD the viewers are ... not their intelligence.

Freddie's picture

Do you watch any TV or any Hollywood crap?  If you do then you are one of them and you enable them.  People who watch TV or Hollywood's crap keep The Matrix alive and I bet you are one of them.


Stop using George Washington's name too.

kaiserhoff's picture

So why are you never, ever critical of the government, except the military, Mr. Faux Libertarian?

George Washington's picture

If you think that I am "never, ever critical of the government, except the military" then you've read almost nothing I've written.

kaiserhoff's picture

Only for about three years now, "George."

Do gubbermint shills get paid by the article, by the hour, or just 30 pieces of silver, Judas style?

Zer0head's picture


you are using the Hollywood reporter as a source

next time try wikipedia it will enhance your cred

SmittyinLA's picture

Old & Female, women live about 6-7 years longer

formadesika3's picture

Gawd I'm ole. I gots to get me soma them monkey glands like they akvertise on the monkeyshines network.

hannah's picture all the young people get their info from the internet and the internet isnt as bogus as old media...please....all media is propaganda. the only true info is the research each of us does on our own to understand what is going on.

JohnnyBriefcase's picture

Lets go all the way and state that anything you don't see/hear with your own eyes/ears isn't trustworthy and is most likely feeding into someone else's agenda.

Let them all fail's picture

"The root problem is that young people have lost trust in the “old” media … and in the political system."

As a young person, AMEN!

Vendetta's picture

what is there to 'trust' in the old media anyways, however the new media does require highly refined bullshit filters in order to navigate to useful information in a reasonable amount of time.

Zer0head's picture

 George I believe Median and not Average is the metric that was used, Hollywood reporter erred in their description


here are some pther useful links in addition to what you provided

(a bit dated but the trends are there)

SoNH80's picture

Commercials, commercials, commercials!  Commercials for laxatives, commercials for synthetic testosterone gel (!!!-- not a good idea to mess with the Endocrine System), commercials for cars, more commercials for cars.  (I refuse to pay for the privilege of skipping these commercials, on top of paying for cable teevee....)  And then, for the news-- dancing children and animals (especially on ABC and NBC), celebrity sleaze... CBS at least has some good raw footage to show from the war du jour, but they lay the Party line a wee bit thick.... and they are surprised that viewership, especially young viewership, is down?

At least the AM radio MSM all-news station is quick, to the point, and gives you the "traffic and weather together."  My last traditional source for instant news-- the old AM radio.  Even the commercials are quick and to the point, and are for non-annoying things such as ice cream, tires, and heating oil.