This doesn’t bode well for next year, but it looks as if leaning ever to the right helped Fox News in 2009. The cable news channel, home to a host of conservative pundits (Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, etc.) pulled in its highest ratings ever, which was definitely not the case for CNN and MSNBC. — KA

The New York Times:

But the end-of-the-year ratings for the news networks — which were being presented this week because nothing is likely to change by Jan. 1 — are bringing some other, less expected, results. One is the ability of Fox News, which had the biggest ratings year in its history, to grow even against the heavily viewed election year of 2008. (Both CNN and MSNBC were down sharply from last year.)

Another surprise has been the steady growth, up 9 percent in prime time, of HLN, where hosts do offer opinions.

Perhaps most surprising is the overall growth in viewing for all the news networks over the last several years. For example, even with its competitive problems in prime time, CNN has had more viewers on average this year than it did in 2006 or 2007. So has MSNBC. But they both have been left in the dust by Fox News.

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