Trump Hypes Fox News Ratings While Ignoring the Success of Rachel Maddow and MSNBC

There is something deeply disturbing about a president who obsesses about television ratings. Especially when it’s focused so narrowly on one particular network that serves as his biggest media booster. Donald Trump has spent more time on Twitter fawning over Fox News than almost any other single subject. He frequently tweets or retweets things he just watched on Fox and Friends or Hannity as if they were his closest advisors.

Rachel Maddow

On Tuesday morning Trump retweeted a post by his son Eric that celebrated Fox’s ratings performance in February. Why on Earth was this so important to someone who is currently burdened with a nuclear standoff with North Korea, Russian interference in American elections, a trade war that he instigated, children being massacred in schools, undocumented residents who have spent nearly their whole lives in the U.S. facing deportation, and so many other serious matters? It’s almost as if his only experience for running the country came from being a TV personality.

Okay, so Fox had a pretty good month. They lost January, so it must be a relief to them – and to Trump. However, their February win wasn’t exactly a runaway. While Trump slams his arch-enemy CNN in this tweet, he neglects to mention MSNBC and Rachel Maddow. As News Corpse reported last week, Maddow had another impressive month, falling just short of beating Sean Hannity again in the key demographic of 25-54 year olds. And although her average audience was shy of an outright victory, she did win more days during the month than Hannity did.

What’s more, in January Fox News dropped fourteen percent in primetime. Now February has topped that with an additional fifteen percent decline. Meanwhile, MSNBC gained significantly in both months of this new year. February’s percentage gains were over twenty percent. Funny, Trump never mentioned any of that. But he did tweet about the ratings for the Oscar telecast on Sunday. And for some reason he took delight in the numbers having declined. Apparently our President is happy when the film industry, a major national employer and contributor to America’s domestic and export economy, is doing poorly.

Trump’s tweets on behalf of Fox News are more evidence that the network is a wholly owned and operated division of the Trump administration. Or is it the other way around? Or are both Trump and Fox News divisions of Russia’s Putin Enterprises Worldwide. All three scenarios are way too plausible. But most Americans would agree that the President has more important things to do than analyzing TV ratings and promoting programs that unfailingly exalt their Dear Leader. Jake Tapper of CNN had a pithy commentary himself on Twitter saying…

And conversely, if you’re a news organization and the folks in power are constantly maligning you, you’re doing it right. By definition. There’s a reason that Trump is relentlessly attacking CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, etc. He’s afraid because actual journalists are revealing his criminal activities and those of his associates. His only recourse is a campaign of smear tactics. But that is only making him look even more guilty. So keep it up, Donnie. And remember, no matter how bad the ratings are for CNN, yours are still worse.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Rachel Maddow Guides MSNBC to a Strong February 2018 – Fox News and Hannity are Scared

In another embarrassingly weak performance, Fox News has suffered a ratings fall-off in February 2018 that signals more trouble ahead. Fox’s declining fortunes are becoming a regular event. In January the network dropped fourteen percent in primetime. Now February has topped that with an additional fifteen percent decline. Meanwhile, MSNBC gained significantly in both months of this new year.

Fox News Sad

In January Rachel Maddow outperformed Hannity, and all other cable news programs, in the key audience demographic of 25-54 year olds. She came just short of repeating that performance in February with an average of 635,000 viewers per night. Hannity edged her out with 643,000. However, of the twenty days in February, Maddow won a majority (eleven) of them.

Maddow’s practice of covering breaking news and the unfolding scandals of the scandal-ridden Trump administration has proven to be an unqualified success. Her deep dive into research and expert analysis continues to draw devoted viewers. Two years ago no one would have predicted that Fox would be a second place news network. Fox actually moved Hannity into a direct time period competition with Maddow in an attempt to blow her out with his top rated program. That didn’t go exactly according to plan and must be gnawing at Hannity and his Fox bosses.

Consequently, Hannity’s program is sinking into ever more ludicrous conspiracy theory territory. He is challenging Alex Jones as the right-wing’s most unhinged crackpot. On almost every show Hannity ignores actual news of Trump’s daily failures. Instead, he features topics exploring Hillary Clinton’s ancient and baseless controversies, or some version of the alleged “deep state” takeover of America. And of course, Hannity is serving his master in the White House with constant attempts to slander special counsel Robert Mueller and the FBI.

These subjects are also spread across the Fox News schedule. It’s why Fox viewers are so often shown to be more uninformed (or ill informed) than viewers of any other news network. And it is probably contributing to the overall audience decline at Fox as people seek out actual news and information relevant to their lives. But it is consistent with the Fox News commitment to defend Trump at all costs.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The Fox News mission has always been to prop up the conservative, Republican agenda. But it’s more immediate objective is to discredit the investigations into Trump’s unsavory connections to Russia (and other financial corruption). And flagrant propagandists like Hannity, Tucker Carlson (who just called Democrats anti-American), and the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends, are focused intently on smearing America’s law enforcement and intelligence institutions. They are putting their rancid partisanship before the interests of the country. And America’s television viewers are reacting with disgust and seeking out more credible reporting. Which is good news for Maddow and MSNBC.

Totally Nuts: Trump Says His State of the Union Ratings Were ‘The Highest Number in History’

This is getting so far beyond ridiculous. The compulsion that Donald Trump has to lie about virtually anything cannot be regarded as merely self-interest or ignorance. This is a sickness. He lies about things that have no particular benefit to him; things that are easily fact-checked; things that are only designed to feed his gargantuan and diseased ego.

Donald Trump

The latest in a collection of literally thousands of lies came in the form of (surprise) a tweet about his State of the Union address. There was a curiously long absence by the President on Twitter (72 hours) prior to this posting. So it looked for a while like he had been kidnapped by the “deep state” or had his phone confiscated by the Secret Service. But on Thursday morning he reappeared to deliver this unadulterated bullshit:

Certainly Trump enjoyed all of the nice compliments and reviews he received from his usual pack of sycophants (Fox and Friends, Sean Hannity, Alex Jones, Breitbart). And just as surely he saw none of the objective analyses that reported his bland, ultra-partisan delivery and documented his lies. But Trump’s claim that the audience for his speech was “the highest number in history” was so completely deranged it’s hard to imagine that he’s allowed dress himself or use sharp utensils.

According to Nielsen, Trump’s audience wasn’t anywhere near the highest ever. His seventh place showing was an embarrassing loss to his perennial nemeses Bill Clinton and Barack Obama (twice each). No matter how hard he tries to rise above these objects of his loathing, he continually falls short. Here is Nielsen’s chart of ratings for historical State of the Union addresses:

Date Rating Viewers President
2/17/1993 44.3 66,900,000 Clinton
1/28/2003 38.8 62,061,000 G. W. Bush
1/27/1998 37.2 53,077,000 Clinton
2/24/2009* 32.5 52,373,000 Obama
1/29/2002 33.6 51,773,000 G.W. Bush
1/27/2010 29.8 48,009,595 Obama
2/28/2017* 28.7 47,741,000 Trump

Trump is correct that Fox News beat the other networks. But why that is notable escapes me. Trump’s glassy-eyed disciples are glued to Fox News and dependent on its Big Brotherly guidance. They wouldn’t watch the Trump Show anywhere else. And naturally, Trump’s reality TV fans are the most likely to tune into his lie-fest.

It should be noted that while Trump suffered this poor historical showing in the SOTU ratings race, Rachel Maddow was beating the pants off of Sean Hannity. Her MSNBC program was the number one cable news show for the month of January, 2018. She scored solid victories for three of the four weeks in both the key 25-54 year old demo and total viewers, and double-digit year-over-year gains. Meanwhile, Fox News declined by fourteen and eighteen percent, respectively, in those same metrics.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

That’s encouraging evidence that thoughtful, well-researched and reasoned discourse can prevail over rancorous conspiracy theorizing and hate speech. Not to mention that the toxic and tedious lies that Fox News and Donald Trump peddle are clearly wearing thin. And it’s only February. Hopefully this is an indicator of what’s to come.

Rachel Maddow Swamps Hannity to Become the #1 Cable News Show for January 2018

Last September Fox News moved Sean Hannity’s program to 9:00pm to compete directly with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. Looking back they might not consider that a particularly smart decision. Hannity is Fox’s highest rated program, but it consistently comes up second to Maddow, which must be a painful embarrassment. And the first month of 2018 was almost all Maddow’s

Rachel Maddow Sean Hannity

The first week that Hannity aired in Maddow’s time period he looked pretty good. Of course he front-loaded the show with high profile guests including Fox favorites like Steve Bannon, Bill O’Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh. He certainly wasn’t going to keep that up. But it was enough to get Donald Trump to retweet his son Eric bragging…

It was mostly downhill from there. In January Maddow outperformed Hannity, and all other cable news programs, in the key audience demographic of 25-54 year olds. She averaged 677,000 viewers to Hannity’s 636,000. She scored solid victories for three of the four weeks in both the key demo and total viewers. The last week of the month Hannity staged a bit of comeback as he ramped up his wild-eyed, conspiracy theory rhetoric. But by month’s end Maddow still had a higher average rating than Hannity.

What’s more, MSNBC was the only cable news network to see ratings gains year-over-year. They grew in total prime time viewers more than sixty-one percent, and in total day viewers more than fifty-five percent. Meanwhile, Fox News declined fourteen percent and eighteen, respectively, in those same metrics.

It would be an understatement to call Hannity’s deranged broadcasts “over the top.” He repeatedly assailed the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller as corrupt agents of the “deep state” who were acting on behalf of a “secret society.” These were deliberate attempts to smear those investigating Trump’s unsavory relationships with Russia. Hannity’s rants derailed with repetitious hyperbole such as…

  • “…the biggest scandal in American history.”
  • “…never seen in American history.”
  • “One of the biggest political scandals in modern U.S. history.”
  • “…far bigger than Watergate.”
  • “…makes Watergate look like stealing a Snickers bar.”
  • “This is Watergate on steroids and human growth hormones.”

No doubt this nonsense will play well among Hannity’s dimwitted viewers and the glassy-eyed disciples of Donald Trump. Hannity is striving to steal the mantle of right-wing kook from Alex Jones. And his guests are often more tightly wound than he is.

This strategy could pay off over time because so much of the conservative audience has a an affinity for tabloid melodrama and unrealistic political soap operas. They like nothing better than the wingnut version of Housewives of Washington, D.C., mixed with some Duck Dynasty doofusness, and a healthy dose of white nationalism. You know, the makings of the average Trump voter. And Hannity is serving it up by the shovel-full.

Time will tell if Maddow’s thoughtful, well-reasoned, fact-based brand of intelligent discourse will continue to best Hannity’s Lowbrow Racist Hour. But it’s encouraging to see how successful she has been against competition that was considered unbeatable a year ago.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

MSNBC Has Biggest Black Prime Time Audience on Cable, Fox News Isn’t Even in the Top 10

Last year was a banner year for MSNBC as it ratings surged to unprecedented new highs. Much of this was driven by the soaring popularity of Rachel Maddow, but the rest of the network’s roster enjoyed similar success. Many of the programs achieved their highest ever ratings in 2017, a year that suffered through the painful presidency of Donald Trump.

Fox News MSNBC

There is speculation that Trump’s historically low approval ratings fueled some of the growth at MSNBC as viewers sought out news related to the latest Trump scandal. But that’s far too simple an explanation. Trump’s yammering about what he called “fake news,” but was actually just any news he didn’t like, didn’t fool the American people. They were more interested in credible journalism that relied on facts and honest analysis.

MSNBC benefited from that trend in the information marketplace. But they also benefited from a commitment to producing well-rounded coverage of a diverse nation. As a result, the latest report from Nielsen shows that MSNBC drew more African-American viewers during prime time than any other cable network. That’s not just any other cable news network, but any network of any type. Here are the rankings:

2017 rank Network (000)
’17 vs. ’16
1 MSNBC 483,096 50%
2 VH1 467,189 7%
3 ESPN 458,651 3%
4 OWN 330,729 -21%
5 TNT 322,525 6%
6 BET 322,330 3%
7 Nickelodeon 312,574 7%
8 CNN 306,359 5%
9 USA 286,537 -7%
10 Adult Swim 212,464 -28%

An especially notable omission from that list is Fox News. Their appeal to African-Americans wasn’t even enough to land them in the top 10. So if you ever wondered how Fox News gets away with filling their schedule with such brazenly racist programs and commentaries, these Nielsen numbers might provide the answer.

This certainly was not a new development for Fox News. News Corpse reported in 2014 that Fox’s share of the black audience was a pitiful one percent. This can explain why Fox News doesn’t worry about the consequences of broadcasting overtly bigoted content and dismissing all allegations of racism as “race hustling.” After all, they have little to lose by offending a segment of the television universe that doesn’t watch their programs anyway.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

There’s no reason to expect any of this to change in the foreseeable future. Fox News is just as devoted to inciting racial animus and division as ever. And their defense of Trump, along with his blatantly prejudiced views and policies, will only exacerbate the situation. If anything, Fox’s prime time lineup has become more racist with Sean Hannity’s hate-speech being joined by white nationalist Tucker Carlson and notorious xenophobe Laura Ingraham. So look for MSNBC to continue its rise in the ratings while Fox News grows more narrowly focused on the all-white, alt-right viewers who represent their dwindling audience.

Rachel Maddow Dominates an Increasingly Hysterical Sean Hannity as 2017 Winds Down

This has not been a particularly good year for Fox News. After the disaster of 2016 that saw their founder and CEO, Roger Ailes, fired for multiple instances of sexual harassment and abuse, 2017 was supposed to be a year of rebuilding. However, their problems escalated as their biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, was also terminated for the same deviant reasons. Several other Fox News hosts and executives were likewise jettisoned, and they faced lawsuits for both gender and racial discrimination.

Rachel Maddow

That left Sean Hannity as the default face of Fox News. He was moved up to the 9:00 pm slot and expected to carry the primetime schedule with newcomers Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham. He would also be airing head-to-head against MSNBC phenom, Rachel Maddow. Surely the most embarrassing outcome for Fox News would be for Hannity to lose to a left-wing lesbian on a liberal network. But as the year comes to a close, that’s precisely what happened.

In the first half of December, Maddow outright beat Hannity nine out of eleven days in the coveted 25-54 year old advertiser demographic. On four of those days she also won in total audience. Her demo margin of victory was an impressive average of 656,000 viewers, more than 50,000 above Hannity’s average. And Maddow helped to carry her colleagues to wins over Fox News. Lawrence O’Donnell took five of eleven nights, and Brian Williams took six of the eleven. [Note: The second half of December is not included in this analysis because most of these programs had guest hosts].

What’s more, Maddow has been steadily pummeling Hannity throughout the year. The annual figures for these programs put Maddow in close contention with Fox’s long-running leaders. In total audience, Maddow grew an astonishing seventy-seven percent. In the 25-54 demo she was the number two program (after Hannity) following a seventy-four percent growth surge. And among younger viewers (18-49) Maddow was number one.

Along with those achievements in ratings, Maddow also won two News and Documentary Emmys this year, something Fox News has never done. Which shouldn’t surprise anyone. Fox News is not regarded as an especially reliable source for news. They exist only to pump disinformation into the muddled heads of Republican partisans and Donald Trump cultists. Their coverage of any issue is predictably focused on advancing right-wing politics and defending Trump for whatever outrageous thing he did or said that day.

And Hannity is the worst of the lot. He openly colludes with Trump, who he reportedly speaks with almost every day. He has appeared in campaign ads for the President. There is simply no more brazenly brown-nosed Trump-fluffer than Sean Hannity. Not even Trump’s TV babysitters on Fox and Friends. And as his fortunes decline, Hannity gets ever more extreme. He is outdoing Alex Jones’ Infowars for crackpot conspiracy theories. This year he has spent hours on pure nuttery like Pizzagate, the Seth Rich murder, Hillary Clinton’s email (still?), and most recently, his fetish for smearing special counsel Robert Mueller. Hannity has led the charge to slander Mueller as a corrupt, dishonest, charlatan determined to stage a coup against Trump. Never mind that Mueller is a decorated Marine veteran with a long and distinguished career in law enforcement. And a life-long Republican to boot.

2018 may bring even greater rewards for Maddow and her MSNBC colleagues. She has the intelligence and the insight to make some very dry subjects both interesting and educational. And there is clearly an audience for smart, honest news analysis. The country yearns for programming that is more light than heat. And that’s what Maddow specializes in. She never books hostile adversaries simply to provoke on-air fights the way Fox and CNN do. Her mission is to inform, not infuriate. And when truth is on one side of the debate, lies are never presented just to have a perception of balance. That’s the Maddow model, and the rest of cable’s newscasters should seek to emulate it. It’s obviously a winning strategy, with the added benefit of having journalistic integrity.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Roy Moore’s Alabama Trainwreck Was a Disaster for Fox News and a Big Win for MSNBC

Alabama’s senate race became a national event due the the unique circumstances that marked the election. Roy Moore’s campaign was emblematic of a new movement to hold sexual predators accountable. And his anachronistic racial and religious rigor was reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition. Donald Trump also figured into the southern soap opera. Despite his sudden amnesia with regard to Moore, the outcome would be a referendum on the President whether Fox News liked it or not. And they really didn’t like it.

Fox News Sad

You’ll never guess who else didn’t like it. Fox News viewers voted with their remotes Tuesday. As the election returns came in, the ratings for Fox News fell off a cliff. And by the time the race was called for Doug Jones they had lost more than half their audience. In the 9:00 hour Fox’s coverage of the race was pretty strong with about 3.8 million people watching (831K in the 25-54 demo). For much of that time Moore was still leading. Rachel Maddow wasn’t far behind with 3.1 million viewers (760K in the demo).

However, the race was called (first by Fox News, oddly enough) at about 10:30. And that saw a drop off for Fox to about 3.5 million (889K demo). But, Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC took off scoring 3.745 million (1.0M demo). And CNN also spiked with 3.5 million (1.5M demo). And by the 11:00 hour, when it was clear that Jones was victorious, Fox News was pitifully defeated. They ended primetime with just 1.8 million viewers (470K demo). That’s less than half the total audience they had before the returns were in That compared to MSNBC’s 3.7 million (947 demo), about twice Fox’s numbers, and CNN’s 3.2 million (1.4M demo).

Clearly Fox News viewers were too upset to continue watching television. Seeing the pedophile they supported lose to an honorable Democrat was just too painful. Never mind that by the next morning most of them were insisting that Moore was never a viable candidate, they never really liked him, and that they are better off without him in the senate making the GOP look bad. That’s pretty much the view taken by Fox News and, not coincidentally, many Republicans and Donald Trump. Not to worry. They still have sexual predator and Russian collaborator (allegedly) Trump and his devoted Deplorables to make them look bad.

On the other hand, Doug Jones’ victory inspired viewers to tune into MSNBC and CNN en masse at the conclusion of the race. This isn’t because the Democrat won. Americans tuned in to the networks where they thought they would get truthful reporting of the results, without the desperate spin of losers trying to make excuses. That’s why the numbers didn’t increase for Fox News even when there was actual news to report. And the Fox cultists who had tuned in early weren’t going to subject themselves to what they considered bad news. A few more nights like this and Fox News will have to cease broadcasting.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Rachel Maddow Crushes Trump-Fluffer Sean Hannity in November Ratings War With Fox News

Two months ago Fox News moved Sean Hannity’s program to 9:00 pm. It was the latest schedule change resulting from the terminations of Fox anchors (Bill O’Reilly, Eric Bolling) accused of sexual harassment and abuse. For Hannity it was a promotion to a more desirable time slot with a potentially larger audience. He must have been excited for the opportunity.

Rachel Maddow

He very likely regrets it now. The latest Nielsen ratings report for November 2017, has some depressing news for Hannity and Fox News. In the new time period Hannity has been losing to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on a regular basis. The programs are not really competing for the same viewers, but the bragging rights for being number one are important for both promotion and advertising revenue. Hannity is especially hurting on the latter as a result of his support for the pedophile senate candidate in Alabama, Roy Moore. Advertisers have been fleeing the program and a successful Stop Hannity campaign was launched.

The Nielsen ratings results for the month of November reveal another bitter loss for Sean Hannity. With the pressure of going up against Fox’s top program, Rachel Maddow managed to score an impressive victory. That makes her the number one program in all of cable News in the coveted 25-54 year old demographic. Her ratings improved year-over-year by forty-eight percent. Fox News was down eighteen percent.

On the strength of Maddow’s popularity, the rest of the MSNBC lineup benefited as well. It was the only cable news network to grow its total audience from last year, rising thirty percent. Meanwhile CNN and Fox News both declined (-49% and -31% respectively). The MSNBC primetime was a strong contender across the board, finishing either first or second.

For early risers, Morning Joe took second place and delivered its best numbers in the twenty-one year history of the network. It was also the only show in the time period to grow its audience. In the 25-54 demo Morning Joe advanced twenty-two percent. CNN was down just three percent. And the “Curvy Couch” potatoes at Donald Trump’s favorite show, Fox and Friends, fell by twelve percent.

This has to be a satisfying victory for Maddow and MSNBC. Having suffered a year of Donald Trump’s infantile whining about fake news and low ratings, the network can boast that it handily outperformed Fox News (aka State-Run TV). It’s an indication that the country is hungry for real, in-depth reporting and analysis that doesn’t talk down to them. And, more importantly, doesn’t lie or engage in humiliating episodes of fawning over and defending the ignoramus in the White House.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

As we go forward we will likely see more of the same as Trump’s star falls ever further and the legal noose around his neck gets tighter. Hannity and his Fox News colleagues will undoubtedly ramp up the crazy (just as Trump is doing) in a desperate attempt to keep from becoming totally irrelevant. But their desperation will result in even more ludicrous conspiracy theories and lunatic outbursts. Who knows? This might actually end up being kinda fun to watch.

Rachel Maddow Grabs Another Weekly Win From Fox News and Floundering Sean Hannity

A few weeks ago Fox News had to realign their schedule due to all the sexual perverts being terminated. First they lost Bill O’Reilly, and then Eric Bolling. They also lost Megyn Kelly, who was a victim of the sexual abuse from both O’Reilly and Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. These scandals gutted most of the network’s primetime lineup. Today they are left with newcomers Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham.

Rachel Maddow

Sean Hannity is the lone holdover and he’s not not exactly holding his own. For one thing, his support for the pedophile Republican senate candidate in Alabama, Roy Moore, is costing him advertisers (see Stop Hannity). His fear and desperation resulting from that caused a major meltdown on Sunday as revealed in a series of hysterical tweets. But his problems don’t end there.

Last week Rachel Maddow pulled off another ratings victory over her new competition. Not that they are competing for the same viewers, but having a Nielsen win during your time period is an important factor in the television marketplace. Maddow’s strength in the ratings against the biggest draw on Fox News is a significant development and a dire dilemma for Hannity.

Maddow and Hannity actually split the week with each winning two nights (Maddow was preempted on Friday by a special program). However, the average over the four nights favored Maddow. That’s because her wins were with larger margins, and where she came in second it was close. All of this points to the weakness of Hannity’s program despite being the top rated show on Fox.

Maddow’s success has had a positive effect on the rest of MSNBC’s primetime. The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell took on Fox’s new Laura Ingraham show and beat her three out of four nights. The same was true for The Eleventh Hour with Brian Williams in it’s battle with another new entry for Fox, Fox News @ Night. The only weak spot for MSNBC is All In with Chris Hayes. But although it isn’t delivering big audience numbers, it has become a sort of Emmy magnet. Hopefully over time viewers will appreciate the high quality of the show and tune in more.

As for Fox, clearly their replacement programs are not performing particularly well. But the bigger problem is that the cornerstone of the schedule, Hannity, is not only failing to maintain the network’s long-time dominance, but it’s also less viable financially as its advertisers fall away. In their last quarterly report, Fox News disappointed stockholders with a seventeen percent drop in ad revenue.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Fox’s troubles are not going to go away anytime soon. Their audience shows signs of weariness with knee-jerk, right-wing propaganda. Some of them want to know what is actually happening in the world, not the Fox News manufactured version of it. And the glassy-eyed ultra-conservatives are starting to drift off to other news outlets like Breitbart that aim to out flank Fox from the right. Even the efforts of Donald Trump, who has been feverishly hyping Fox, have not helped. It’s likely that the fate of Fox News and Trump are going to be tightly bound together in a Titanic sinking. We just have to wait until the iceberg (Russia? Mueller? Sex crimes?) takes its inevitable toll.

Fox News is Scaring Off Advertisers With Their Relentless Trump-Fluffing, Lies, and Racism

The Fox News chickens are coming home to roost. Or perhaps more accurately, they are flying the coop. Since its inception, Fox News has devoutly propelled a far right-wing agenda. They have steadfastly promoted conservative politicians and policies and shamelessly defended Republicans from any and all criticism. Their reward for such partisan bias was the devotion of glassy-eyed regressives whose loyalty produced high ratings and revenue.

Donald Trump Fox News

However, there was also a price to pay. In 2011 they discovered the hard way that wingnut extremism was not a sustainable business model. That’s when they were forced to fire Glenn Beck for venturing too far into bigotry and conspiracy theories. Beck’s audience was still substantial, but advertisers were shunning him like the plague. So Fox News eventually cut the cord.

Sadly for Fox News, they don’t seem to have learned anything from that disaster. In the years that followed, Fox has continued to spew propaganda and outright falsehoods in the service of GOP politics. And since the inauguration of Donald Trump the level of bombast and junk journalism has grown precipitously. In the past year Fox News has exceeded their wildest dreams as purveyors of state-approved disinformation. Primetime on the network is stuffed with Trumpeteers, and the rest of the day’s roster is no less reverential.

Recently Fox lost some of its star power due to sexual misconduct allegations. Their biggest attraction, Bill O’Reilly was fired after multiple woman came forward with stories of harassment and abuse. Eric Bolling was also dismissed for similar reasons. Megyn Kelly chose to leave due to her own experiences with deviants like O’Reilly and CEO Roger Ailes. However, while their replacements may be free of salacious scandal (for now), they are decidedly more extreme in their politics. Consequently, the advertising prospects for Fox News are once again in decline. TVNewser is reporting that:

“Fox News has taken the most significant hit with -17 percent less spend on news programming in September 2017 vs. September 2016. CNN also saw a small decrease, down -1 percent, while MSNBC was up +2 percent.”

The fact that Fox’s competitors didn’t suffer the profound losses that Fox did is evidence that the problems at Fox News are not due to some industry-wide weakness. It’s more likely due to the reluctance of advertisers to be associated with nutcases like Sean Hannity. There’s confirmation of that in the reporting of the unit cost for ads on Fox. Newcomer Tucker Carlson is pulling in $12,200 per ad. Hannity is getting only $8,500. What makes that significant is that Hannity is the higher rated program of the two. In fact, it’s the highest rated show on Fox News.

So Hannity is valued thirty percent less than a lower rated program. That can only be because ad buyers are scared off by Hannity’s increasingly lunatic conspiracies and brazen Trump-fluffing. The effect is likely leaking into other programs as well. As Carlson’s lunacy becomes more evident, expect his ad buys to shrink. Likewise, the Laura Ingraham Angle, which premieres next week, is already generating bad press.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

All of this is very troubling for Fox News. But it’s heartening for America. One of the right’s favorite societal institutions, the free market, is demonstrating the folly of an alleged “news” network abandoning all pretenses of legitimate journalism. Will this force Fox News to change their ways. Doubtful. Fox’s management, Rupert Murdoch and family, have plenty of money with which to prop up their propaganda outlet. But they will be less able to disguise their deceitful intent, and will likely continue to shed advertisers and viewers.