Cable TV news got much better on Friday with the announcement that Fox News has canceled Lou Dobbs Tonight on their so-called “business” channel. Dobbs has been divisive and deceitful figure on FBN for years. Whatever reputation he had as a financial journalist was long ago lost in favor of a hard-core, right-wing political sycophancy that turned his program into nothing more than flagrant propaganda.
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Prior to the election in November, there were predictions that the media would suffer massive declines if Donald Trump lost. Many of those predictions came from Donald Trump himself. He frequently tweeted (before he was cast out) that without him there would be “no ratings, media will go down along with our great USA!” Instead, that grim prognosis only held true for his Ministry of Disinformation, Fox News. CNN and MSNBC have both enjoyed record ratings and have thrust Fox into third place:
"As defeated former pres. Trump hibernates in strangely silent exile at Mar-a-Lago, Fox News’ two-decade-long winning streak came to an abrupt end Tuesday while rivals CNN and MSNBC claimed the #1 & #2 rankings, respectively, in all of cable television."https://t.co/xTCoHGq3pP
— Nooz Viktim (@noozvk) February 3, 2021
The Los Angeles Times just revealed that “Fox News Media has canceled ‘Lou Dobbs Tonight,’ the program hosted by television’s staunchest supporter of Donald Trump” Their reporting noted that “The cancellation comes a day after voting software company Smartmatic filed a $2.7-billion defamation suit against Fox News and three of its hosts — Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro.”
It’s difficult to pretend that the Dobbs cancelation was unrelated to the lawsuit. Smartmatic has an extraordinarily strong case, and they aren’t the only potential litigants going after Fox. Serving up Dobbs as a sacrifice would seem like a prudent move for a company in such legal and financial peril. It would be foolish to ignore it. What’s more, after Fox News received a “cease and desist” letter from Smartmatic, they began running a bizarre video that appeared to be an attempt to counter their prior defamatory “reporting” on election fraud. That’s a de facto admission of guilt.
Nevertheless, Fox has decided to go with the story that Dobbs’ departure was already on their calendar. A representative of the network told the Times that “Fox News Media regularly considers programming changes and plans have been in place to launch new formats as appropriate post-election, including on Fox Business.” But with this effort to save face, Fox is putting itself in the path of greater danger. By insisting that they canceled Dobbs for reasons other than to address the libelous content of the program, they are ensuring that his termination won’t indemnify them from the pending lawsuits.
Furthermore, Fox is clearly lying. Dobbs was FBN’s highest-rated show. You don’t fire your top host without notice and without giving him an opportunity to say goodbye and thank his production team and his audience unless there’s some underlying problem. And in this case there obviously was. In addition to Dobbs being a lawsuit magnet, according to the Times, “his program was a loss leader for Fox Business Network as major advertisers steered clear of it, probably out of fear of consumer boycotts.” That puts Dobbs in the same boat as his Fox News colleague Tucker Carlson.
Carlson’s reputation is even more toxic than that of Dobbs. In fact, Fox News lawyers argued successfully in court that the network could not be held liable for defamatory comments by Carlson because “given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer ‘arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism’ about the statements he makes.'” In other words, Carlson is a known liar who is incapable of defamation because who, other than a complete imbecile, would believe him?
As for Carlson’s ratings, he is also currently the leader on Fox News, but with a similar business deficiency that makes his program expendable. Advertisers have abandoned his program due to the relentless racism and advocacy of violence. Most advertisers don’t want their brands associated with such negative content.
Consequently, Carlson is left with lower-tier advertisers that aren’t as discriminating. They include reverse mortgage lenders, dubious vitamin supplements, personal injury lawyers, and gold coin peddlers. Forbes has reported that “According to iSpot, Tucker Carlson Tonight’s biggest advertiser is My Pillow, which spent more than $40 million on spots during 2019 and 2020. That is about ten times as high as the show’s next biggest advertiser and more than the next four sponsors’ combined spending.” And Mike Lindell, the conspiracy theory spewing CEO of MyPillow has problems of his own.
The insufferable bigotry and lies that are such a staple on most of Fox’s programs culminated in a humiliating dismissal for Lou Dobbs. But others on the networks of Rupert Murdoch are no better. Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro regularly embarrass themselves with their drooling Trump worship. Sean Hannity Laura Ingraham, and the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends, are veteran Trump-fluffers.
But no one outperforms Carlson for the sheer audacity of his falsehoods, drenched in the smug superiority of the white privilege that he denies exists. If anyone follows Dobbs out the door at Fox News, it should be Tucker Carlson. He’s earned that dishonor, and it would be a shame to deprive him (and us) of it.
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How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.