OPINION — Since the November election, FOX News has been falling in the ratings and CNN has been growing. Since the riots at the Capitol on Jan. 6, FOX has nose-dived and CNN (once buried in the ratings basement) is now in the number 1 position and FOX is dead last and sinking.
According to FOX News and PEW research, President Trump’s approval rating among Republicans has taken a 17-point slide since the Capitol riot. Even Karl Rove, the political analyst golden-haired boy at FOX News and among Bush Republicans says the party is broken and in a “civil war” that will take “years, not months” to repair itself. Trump will leave office with one of the lowest approval ratings since presidential approval has been rated.
FOX News has dominated the cable news ratings for decades, often eclipsing both CNN and MSNBC combined in numbers of daytime and prime time viewers. But then Trump lost the election and Trump followers stormed the Capitol.
Things have not been rosy at FOX News since. Changes are coming quickly. FOX News’ Chris Wallace announced Sunday that he will appear on Monday with a “new FOX News line-up.” There is little doubt that FOX News CEO Suzanne Scott and President and Executive Jay Wallace are updating their resumes in between Pepto Bismol martinis.
Scott and Wallace have been responsible for the network’s emphasis on opinion over more traditional (objective) news coverage. The network has been in the bag for Trump since he was sworn in. Since the election, according to Mediaite.com’s Colby Hall, viewers have grown weary of the channel and suffer from “message fatigue.” FOX viewers are sick of hearing about how Hilary Clinton tried to overthrow the government. “Plainly stated, viewers are tired of being told they are the victim and that the world is unjust. And when you constantly cry that the big bad wolf of unfairness is coming to get you, you start to think maybe the wolf isn’t so bad after all,” Hall said.
CNN and MSNBC aren’t changing anything. Why should they? They’re currently winning the cable news ratings war. And it is, indeed, a war. CNN and MSNBC are left-slanted opinion in nearly every time slot. And as the country has moved leftward, middle-dwelling voters and viewers have moved to the left, often repulsed by Trump and FOX News has suffered by the association.
Legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi once said “Winning is everything.” In the media business, ratings (viewers) are everything. The more viewers you have, the more money you can charge for advertising.
FOX News owner Rupert Murdoch is not accustomed to reducing advertising rates. If the hastily put together newsier format at FOX News does not quickly reverse the ratings slide that has occurred since the November election, Scott and Wallace will be receive their pink slips. Plan on hearing the old FOX News tag “fair and balanced” at about three times the frequency in the coming weeks. But Shepherd Smith has moved to CNBC and the words just don’t ring true coming from Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson or Laura Ingraham.
FOX News founder Roger Ailes certainly blurred the line between news and opinion. Other cable news organizations don’t bother with lines. They simply spew opinion and leave news to the broadcast channels, unless of course the news looks bad for Trump.
The coming weeks will be interesting for media watchers. It is certain that it will be more difficult to find sources for objectively reported news. Start with a newspaper.
Michael Sanborn writes from Rapid City.
To read all of today's stories, Click here or call 642-2761 to subscribe to our e-edition or home delivery.