In their never-ending crusade to dishonestly marginalize Fox News, members of the mainstream media love to casually compare Fox News to MSNBC. The idea is to falsely brand Fox News as MSNBC's ideological cable news counterpart; as though both are equally partisan, extreme, and opinionated.
Anyone who watches both networks and is willing to be intellectually honest knows, however, that this isn't even close to the truth. Fox News does a fantastic job separating its straight news (daytime, Bret Baier, Shepard Smith, etc.) from its openly conservative programming. Moreover, Fox News also does a ton of original reporting.
MSNBC, on the other hand, is almost all opinion. There is almost no original reporting. If Fox News only aired "Hannity" between 5am and 11pm, then you could compare it to MSNBC.
The Pew Research Center backs this up with a new study that looks at MSNBC, Fox, and CNN, and documents the time each network spends on commentary/opinion as compared to factual reporting.
What Pew found is that the outlier is MSNBC: 85% opinion, 15% reporting. Fox News, however, is much closer to CNN. Whereas CNN spends 54% of the time reporting and 46% on commentary, Fox News spends 55% on commentary and 45% reporting.
By tomorrow, though, these findings will be forgotten and the media will go right back to lying with comparisons of Fox and MSNBC.
Overall, the study found that the trend on the cable nets is towards "talk-oriented evening shows," which are cheaper to produce than putting people out in the field.
Another fascinating find is the erosion of CNN between 2007 and 2012:
The percentage of CNN evening programming filled with interviews jumped from 30% in 2007 to 57% in 2012. At the same time, the airtime for edited packages plunged from 50% to 24%
That's less about saving money and more about pushing a left-wing political agenda through the likes of Anderson Cooper, Erin Burnett, and Piers Morgan. Obama has benefited greatly from that "erosion."
The network newscasts have remained stable during that same time period:
Despite the steady erosion of the early evening audience and continuing doomsday predictions about the future, the structure and format of the network newscasts have changed remarkably little since 2007, far less than on cable or local television news.
The full Pew report can be read here.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC