14:30 GMT31 October 2020
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    Nielsen has released a new report showing that the year 2016, the top stories of which included the rise of now-US President Donald Trump; the zika virus; Brexit; the Syrian refugee crisis; and repeated incidents of police officers shooting young, unarmed black men, was actually pretty good for the news business’ viewership numbers.

    On average, the American population spent a combined 27.1 billion minutes a week with eyes glued to the three biggest cable channels covering politics: Fox, CNN and MSNBC, the Washington Examiner observed. 

    This represented a roughly one-third jump in viewership from 2015, when consumers devoted 18.8 billion minutes per week. 

    Time spent on computer and smartphone digital news sources, like the one carrying the article you are currently reading, jumped from 3.8 billion minutes per week to 5.6 billion among individuals over 18, according to Nielsen’s data. That’s about a 47 percent year-over-year increase.

    Regarding cable news networks, the 27.1 billion figure rounds out to 83 minutes per person in the US for the population as a whole. But infants, toddlers and primary schoolchildren probably aren’t paying as much attention to the antics of Michael Flynn, Trump and Bernie Sanders, the latest happenings in Syria, or Brexit

    Census bureau data show approximately 22.9 percent of Americans are under the voting age of 18. Narrowing the likely MSNBC, CNN and Fox News audience to people age 18 and up, an average American gives up 108 minutes per week watching the three cable news channels. 

    The cable news media industry itself has not suffered a shortage of attention-drawing drama. 

    CNN was tagged "fake news" by the incoming commander-in-chief, and MSBNC and Melissa Harris-Perry parted ways over what Harris-Perry said was the channel’s convenient deployment of her as “racial cover” for “people see the little black girl up there.” The debacle prompted Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Illinois to give a speech on the House floor with a sign featuring the MSNBC logo and hashtag #NBCSoWhite.


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