Fox News is saving/destroying America

What people think of Fox News (and other US news organisations) seems largely dependent on their political preferences. Those who love Donald Trump and hate Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will like the news feed from Fox and agree with the opinion show hosts who lean very heavily one way.

Newsweek: CAN FOX NEWS SURVIVE THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY? EMBATTLED NETWORK FACES LAWSUITS, AGING VIEWERSHIP, NEW COMPETITORS

Fox News is destroying America. Its anchors are humorless propagandists for President Donald Trump, lacking dignity and honesty, humility and heart. The cable news network is a spigot from which right-wing misinformation flows unceasingly, flooding the nation with untruth, making millions wonder whether Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, as he claims, or in Indonesia, behind a mosque where fanatics plotted the destruction of America and the National Football League.

Or:

Fox News is saving America by telling truths you won’t hear on CNN or read in The New York Times, where liberal pieties prevail. It speaks for the millions of forgotten Americans in small towns whose newspapers have died and whose factories have closed. Fox News is the bulwark that keeps at bay political correctness, socialism and soccer.

Or:

Fox News is America, glorious and exasperating, bellicose and enthralling. At battle with itself and outside forces, Fox News helped create the splendid turbulence of our political civic life—but is now threatened by it.

You read Alexis de Tocqueville to understand the nation in its infancy. You watch Fox News commentator Sean Hannity to glimpse the nation in midlife crisis, mournful for past glories, a little despondent about present ills, but unfailingly optimistic about the future.

For once, China and California are vanquished, and this flailing little century will belong to America, as did the glorious one before it.

Fox News isn’t a network; it’s a worldview.

That worldview is shared by Donald Trump, who reportedly watches several hours of Fox News each day. There has never been a relationship this close between a sitting president and an American media organization. Trump and Rupert Murdoch, chairman of the network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, are friends who reportedly talk regularly, perhaps more than once a week.

Murdoch has offered the president advice on media strategy; last March, Trump fired the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, who was conducting a federal investigation into how Fox News handled sexual misconduct claims.

Los Angeles Times report has the leader of the free world frequently calling Hannity after the blustery pundit’s delivery of yet another nuclear payload of righteously enriched anger. Recently, Trump reportedly sought Hannity’s advice on immigration. That would be sort of like Obama reaching out to MSNBC’s Maddow about taxes, except that Trump’s relationship with Fox News is so long-standing and well known, nobody is surprised.

A recent analysis by Mark Knoller of CBS found that since becoming president, Trump has given 20 interviews to Fox News. He has given a combined 18 interviews to all other major American news organizations, and none to CNN.

Trump seems to be desperate for praise (when he is not praising himself). He gets it at Fox.

One of Trump’s more recent interviews with Fox News was with Lou Dobbs, whose show airs on the Fox Business Network.

Dobbs began the interview with a kiss: “You have accomplished so much.”

Trump said he watched Dobbs’s show “absolutely almost all the time,” and that while American journalism was rife with fake news—a term he falsely told Dobbs he invented—Fox News was singularly fair to him. Trump also insisted that Dobbs tell him who should be appointed the next chairperson of the Federal Reserve.

Dobbs smirked throughout, pleased with the president and himself. He said that while some on “the left” (in Fox News terminology, there are only Trump loyalists and “the left”) loathe Trump, he was “one of the most loved and respected” presidents in American history. Polls indicate that is not even remotely the case.

Trump is one of the most disapproved presidents in history: “His approval rating quickly slumped in the chaotic days after assuming office, with Trump achieving a majority disapproval rating in a record of just eight days. Nine months in, he is far less popular than previous presidents at this stage of his presidency.” The Telegraph

…focusing on Fox News is a pretty good way to understand the reasons Trump won. There was, at the very least, a correlation between watching Fox and voting for Trump. In January, the Pew Research Center found that “Americans who say they voted for Trump in the general election relied heavily on Fox News as their main source of election news,” with some 40 percent of Trump voters turning to Fox News as their main source of news.

And earlier this fall, a study out of Stanford—“Bias in Cable News: Persuasion and Polarization ”—confirmed the power of Fox News to sway hearts and minds. And votes. It found that, for presidential elections, “Fox News increases Republican vote shares by 0.3 points among viewers induced into watching 2.5 additional minutes per week.”

Conversely, watching MSNBC an additional 2.5 minutes per week had no impact on electoral outcomes.

Fox News has given powerful voice to a segment of the American population. The people who watch Fox News are not going away. Nor is their despair about the digital economy, their suspicion of immigrants and their discomfort about race.

Fox fills a useful niche, feeding (and feeding off) a particular demographic. They provide a useful balance to other media like CNN who lean the other way.

Like Trump Fox News is contradictory and hypocritical, especially about ‘fake news’. But at least they they have dropped one whopper of a slogan – they no longer publicise themselves as ‘fair and balanced’.

Fox now claims to be ‘Most Watched, Most Trusted’.

Most watched? There seems to be a bit missing from that claim.

TV Newser: October Ratings: Fox News is Most-Watched Cable News Network For 190 Consecutive Months

I suppose ‘Most Watched Cable News Network’ is a bit long winded for a slogan.

Most trusted? That is also a bit slim in details.

‘Trusted’ and ‘trustworthy’ are not the same thing. Being the ‘most trusted’ news outlet may be no more than the most popular of a bad lot, if that.

The Zogby Poll℠: Nearly half of voters do not trust the mainstream media

mainmedia110617

Fox isn’t included as ‘mainstream media’. And they don’t feature in Evening News Ratings: Week of Nov. 13

Political bias in the US is a problem, and not just with Fox.

Table: Ideological Placement of Each Source's Audience

Fox News doesn’t look  bad there, relative to the left leaners – but note that the Sean Hannity Show is separated well to the right.

Those faithful to Fox or any other news outlet tend to look for what they want to hear.

I think it’s important to be sceptical about any news outlet, and to look for balance across sources, not from a single source. But even then it’s easy to get limited by a Western/first world bias.

It’s also easy to spend too much time looking for and worrying about news.

 

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8 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  November 22, 2017

    Fox News…’entertainment..this weak’.

  2. Reality has a well known liberal bias anyway, hence why CNN, MSNBC etc are tightly clustered around a slightly left view point called reality…..

  3. PDB

     /  November 22, 2017

    PG: “Fox News doesn’t look  bad there, relative to the left leaners – but note that the Sean Hannity Show is separated well to the right.”

    The ‘Sean Hannity Show’ is a radio show with no connection to fox news.

  4. NOEL

     /  November 22, 2017

    Aw gee Fox isn’t that the one that great President watches. Must be faultless compared to the others.

  5. PDB

     /  November 22, 2017

    As mentioned (every time Fox news is brought up on here) the serious Fox news shows (not the news entertainment shows like Hannity and Tucker Carlson) are easily the most even-handed of the cable networks.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/fox-news-donald-trump-neil-cavuto-us-president-republican-ucla-basketball-lavar-ball-china-jeff-a8066646.html

    “A Fox News host has condemned Donald Trump over his latest attacks on the father of a college basketball player and a Republican senator. 

    On Saturday, the US President said he should have left three UCLA basketball players “in jail” in China after LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo Ball, refused to thank Mr Trump for his son’s release. 

    The students were arrested earlier this month after shoplifting sunglasses in Shanghai. Mr Trump claimed he personally asked Chinese President Xi Jinping for his help in releasing them.

    Mr Trump then accused Jeff Flake of saying “bad things about your favourite President” after the Republican Senator was caught on camera criticising the billionaire and controversial Alabama Senate nominee Roy Moore. 

    During a three-minute monologue, Fox News host Neil Cavuto said Mr Trump’s remarks “don’t even border on being human”. 

    Accusing him of using a “bazooka to respond to a peashooter”, Mr Cavuto said the President wanted to see “gratitude bordering on grovelling”. 

    “Pick your fights because neither of these scenes is worth the fuss,” he added.  “You wanted a thank you, you got it. You wanted a reason to go after a Senator you hate, you pounced on it. But last time I checked you are the President of the United States. Why don’t you act like it?”

    Mr Cavuto left Fox News viewers furious over his criticism of the President, with some calling for the presenter to be fired.”

  1. Fox News is saving/destroying America — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition