Colbert launches Twitter bot to praise Fox News
This incident raises the question of how many "news followers" are real people and how many are fictitious fabrications of the networks and by extension Nielsen ratings. Marketing people I've worked with tell me all the time that a product doesn't necessarily have to sell well with the general public in order to be seen as popular.In "Murdoch's World," the new book about News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch and his media empire, NPR's David Folkenflik revealed that publicists at Fox News used thousands of fake aliases to counter negative comments on anti-Fox blog posts across the Web.
"Fox PR staffers were expected to counter not just negative and even neutral blog postings but the anti-Fox comments beneath them," Folkenflik wrote. "One former staffer recalled using twenty different aliases to post pro-Fox rants. Another had one hundred. Several employees had to acquire a cell phone thumb drive to provide a wireless broadband connection that could not be traced back to a Fox News or News Corp account."
On Monday, Stephen Colbert announced he would help that effort, unveiling a Twitter account —
"@RealHumanPraise" — that uses an algorithm to spit out praise for the top-rated cable network every two minutes.
To some extent, this is true. I've never met anybody who watched NBC. I don't even watch TV or know many people who do. However, it's watched by millions daily according to the ratings. However, Nielsen ratings aren't some set in stone, statistically accurate data. They're estimates of what a selected and targeted percentage of the audience is watching - meaning - their estimates are based on selected sampling of less than 1% of the total population.
This looks bad for FOX, but it also looks bad for other networks. I wouldn't put it past MSNBC, NBC or ABC to do the same thing. I'd even go as far as being convinced there are raiding parties operated by people from DU to 'fight off' any criticism of Obama on a liberal leaning network. I wouldn't even flinch at the idea that there are people paidto do this on both sides of the fence.
In short, I have a strong hunch that these networks aren't anywhere near as popular as they claim to be. There are half a billion channels out there and people have access to computers and cellphones - yet the ratings for dying mediums such as TV newshows somehow keep rising. I call bull****. I don't know anybody who gets their news at 6pm or has time for that ****.