Fox News' Ratings Collapse Is Almost Complete. Here's Why.
Guest post by Lee A. Presser
For those of you who do not follow things as mundane as television rating scores, you may be surprised to learn that Fox News Channel (FNC) is losing its lead as the powerhouse in primetime cable TV ratings to MSNBC. There are a couple of reasons why.
First, control of FNC has been transferred to two brothers, Lachlan and James Murdoch, who do not believe in the political message espoused by Fox for the last twenty years. (Forbes.com 1-30-17 – “21st Century Fox chiefs James and Lachlan Murdoch—CEO and chairman, respectively—are the latest corporate leaders to come out against Donald Trump’s executive order banning citizens of seven predominately Muslim nations from coming into the United States for 90 days and halting the Syrian refugee program for 120 days.”)
Their insouciant attitude toward FNC’s longtime viewers is causing those viewers to turn off the channel, precipitating an extraordinary ratings plunge. If that trend continues, advertising revenues will diminish. Perhaps then the board of Fox Entertainment Group, or its owner, 21st Century Fox, will act to restore FNC to its former political thought process thus restoring its cable rating dominance and revenues. (Don’t hold your breath)
Second, MSNBC, the new cable news leader, has positioned itself as the cable news voice of the opposition to the Trump Administration. The energy of opposition infuses MSNBC with vigor and indulges progressive beliefs. Those who fear President Trump and what he hopes to accomplish are finding MSNBC as their new messaging home.
MSNBC is doing to the Trump Administration the same thing Fox did to the Obama Administration. It is a megaphone for those who want to stop the President from accomplishing his economic and political agenda.
Today, progressive agitators are focused on Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election and the claim that Donald Trump is connected to it. The firing of FBI Director James Comey has become the latest in a long line of stories about a Trump connection to Russia. Stories continue to appear in the mainstream press, including MSNBC, despite statements from Senator Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Maxine Waters, former DNI General James Clapper, Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, and many others that there is NO evidence to support the claim.
Conservatives who, in 2009, did not want a “fundamental transformation of America” rallied around Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Charles Krauthammer, and the rest of the FNC team as conservatives successfully organized themselves politically in 2010 to overthrow Democrat control of Congress. FNC focused on the successes of the Tea Party as well as the conservative portion of the Republican Party.
In 2009, conservative agitators focused on President Obama’s place of birth and his personal and political connections to anti-American persons such as Reverend Jeremiah Wright and domestic terrorist Bill Ayers.
Today’s Progressives message is “We need to remove President Trump. He is bad for the country and bad for the world.”
They offer no message which resonates with the middle class. What they do offer is to make available more tax money to support healthcare, nearly cost-free college, and support services for all undocumented immigrates.
Both the conservative and progressive agitators use secondary issues (President Obama’s place of birth, his personal and political connections to anti-American persons, free college and free healthcare for all) at election times to generate emotions rather than clear thinking. It is a rehearsed tactic used to divert the American voter’s focus away from those primary issues which are truly important****; jobs, a significant increase in their family’s purchasing power, an optimistic future for their children, and the ability to control their own senior years. ****
If Fox News Channel continues on its new course, its ratings and revenues will diminish. If MSNBC’s message does not lead to a significant increase in elected Congressional Democrats following the 2018 elections, their ratings and revenues will diminish.
That vacuum will provide an opportunity for a new political message and a new cable news messenger. This new entity will speak to those who are not adherents to the message of the crazy left or the crazy right. It will focus on how to achieve the goals listed above; jobs, a significant increase in family purchasing power, an optimistic future for children, and the ability for individuals to control their own senior years.