07/26/2012 09:05 am ET | Updated Sep 24, 2012

Aurora and the Ratings

I do not ordinarily write about the ratings until the end of the month, but Friday's massacre has been reflected in last week's ratings (Saturday and Sunday will be reflected in this week's) and they deserve some comment.

First, July's ratings so far show that Fox News still has more total viewers than the other three news networks combined. But, last week the numbers were much closer. In total day, Fox News averaged 1,164,000 while the other three networks averaged 1,157,000 viewers -- that's a 7,000 differential and, based on the size of the same, it easily could be a rounding error.

More importantly, it proves once again that when news is breaking fast, occasional news viewers turn to CNN, who's total day numbers more than doubled last Friday. Two weeks ago, Fox News averaged 1,053,000, so Fox News gained 89,000 viewers. CNN, on the other hand, averaged only 323,000 two weeks ago, and last week averaged 441,000 -- up 118,000 viewers. MSNBC averaged 412,000 two weeks ago, and 448,000 this week, still beating CNN, but only gained 36,000 viewers. Fox News and MSNBC spend more time talking about the news than showing it. I think even CNN talks way too much, but it does show more news than the others, and I think that's reflected every time a major story breaks.

There'll be more here next week, when July is over -- we'll see how CNN, MSNBC and Fox News did covering the Aurora aftermath, and we'll also have the full July numbers on Fox News vs. the three more liberal networks. Those are the numbers that will provide a second snapshot of how well the Presidential candidates are doing on the way to November. (See the first here.)