Posted by: mbtrotter | September 28, 2010

Fox animation premieres highlight TV news, audience gap.

Family Guy had tremendous insight on how the TV news culture affects female journalists, but that wasn’t the only great media observation in Fox’s animated premieres. When you consider Fox News’ ongoing reputation problem, it just makes you want to scream when the network’s cartoons are that smart.

The Simpsons began its 22nd season last night (with a couch gag taking a dig at the network), and it wasn’t long before I heard a phrase from Kent Brockman never uttered before.

That was the first time Kent mentioned a Channel 6 website. It’s the second half of 2010. Most TV news stations have been online for years.

Maybe that’s been overlooked by the writers until now, but it demonstrates the gap between TV news and the audience its losing. Although TV is still Americans’ primary source of news, the Internet is gaining ground. Stations without websites are putting themselves at a disadvantage, so even the longtime holdouts are getting with it.

Family Guy had a scene showing the outlet-audience gap, too. The other reason TV news is losing ground as America’s primary source? People aren’t interested.

Carl is interested in plenty of other content. He doesn’t care about Channel 5’s file footage. Most of us are drawn away from TV news by other content, too. It doesn’t have to be highly dissimilar, either; The Daily Show and The Colbert Report wouldn’t be mistaken for a traditional newscast any day of the week, but many people are getting valid information from them.

A major part of TV news’ survival strategy will be closing this gap between what it does and what its audience is interested in.

All video in this post is the copyrighted material of 20th Century Fox Television and was purchased by the author for not-for-profit use.



  1. I lost interest in the news in 1991 during the first galf war. I was 25 years old, married to a US soldier who was deployed and 12 weeks pregnant with my first and only biological child when the war was televised. I sat in front of the TV for days (and months), crying, worrying and trying to come to terms with what I was seeing. I was living with another “Army wife” helping her with her three kids while we both worked.
    Seeing the war via television and with the news was terrifying for me. Wondering if my husband and our friends were going to come home and how they would be once they got home.
    7 months later my husband came home and we returned to Kansas to have our baby. When I questioned him about the war, his description was so different than what I had been shown on TV. I was angry and felt betrayed by the news and I lost all respect. I stopped watching TV news and stopped buying newspapers. I even stopped buying magazines every week/month. I began to seek only the information that I wanted on my own watching bits and pieces of new or browsing the internet for weather or information. I still have these habits today and feel very comfortable with them. I do find myself having channel 3 news on in the AM while making lunches and breakfast for the kids before school but mostly for the “noise” of it all. I prefer to listen to the radio morning show “John Jay and Rich” but they do not have weather information and the kids like to know that information. I already know what it is hot, hot and hotter!

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Max Levy, Matthew Trotter. Matthew Trotter said: @The_Simpsons_, @FamilyGuyonFOX highlight TV news' big prob: lagging behind the audience #bcx #NewsMockers […]

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