But now in the new world order of the Trump Administration, there may be a little less competition. TV news channels may be helping each other -- as journalism colleagues.
For example, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith defended CNN'S Jim Acosta, who was attacked by President Trump in a press conference. Smith on Acosta: “[He’s] an accomplished reporter, a guy I've never met, but a good reporter."
Additionally, TV news organizations have been supporting each other on overall freedom of the press/speech issues. Fox’x Chris Wallace has done this.
Still, news organizations remain competitive when it comes to getting exclusives, such as TheNew York Times and Washington Post, who continue to publish breaking new stories about the Trump Administration.
Trump has gone beyond criticism of the media, calling it “an enemy of the American people.” (Fox’s “Fox & Friends” gets a pass here, says Trump). Many politicians have criticized the media and issued complaints about individual organizations.
But Sen. John McCain says what Trump has said goes too far — one of the country’s key founding principles is the freedom of the independent press.
As a result, Trump has said CNN’s ratings aren’t “good right now.” But this is not the case -- and hasn’t been for some time.
For example, for the week of Feb. 6, CNN’s ratings were up 31% versus a year ago, with 871,000 total day Nielsen viewers -- 4th place overall. Fox News is still in first place, 28% higher than a year ago, to 1.76 million; and MSNBC, 56% higher to 772,000 (7th place).
Is all this caused by Trump and his entertainingly combative content? Not entirely.
Because there are so many contradictions -- if not outright lies — in that content, viewers may not be so sure of the facts.
They increasingly want to know more, even if it takes more efforts in sifting through the good, the bad, and, oh yes, the ugly -- those sites you might not have heard of, but still call themselves “news organizations.” You may call them “fake news," if you like.
TV viewers —those U.S. citizens who also vote -- will continue to make the media, and presidents, more accountable.