Monday, January 30, 2023


January 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Brian Williams may be the most-watched news anchor in America, but what does that really mean? With the U.S. population hovering at around 315 million, Williams each week averages slightly fewer than 10 million viewers. And it now turns out that, when shown a picture of him, only 27 percent of the public could correctly identify him. Among younger persons, 18-29, only 15 percent knew who he was. Those figures are contained in a new poll conducted by Pew Research, which compared them to results for a similar poll conducted in 1985 when those surveyed were shown a picture of Dan Rather. Then 47 percent of respondents were able to identify him and 41 percent in the 18-29 age group. The lower awareness today, the survey concluded, “reflects a large decline in the audience for nightly network news since the 1980s.” With the U.S. population at 238 million in 1985, 48 million Americans watched one of the three nightly news programs each evening, the survey observed. By 2013 that number had virtually halved, despite a 32 percent rise in the population. Moreover, the audience for network news is growing grayer by the year, but even their numbers are dwindling. Twenty years ago, the survey noted, 75 percent of Americans 65 and older watched one of the nightly newscasts. Now, just 40 percent do.