In what was perhaps the biggest news story of 2023 so far, Donald Trump was indicted in Miami on 37 felony counts ranging from obstruction of justice to violations of the Espionage Act. It is the first time that a president or former president has been charged and arrested for federal crimes, and most of the media turned out to report on this historic event.
Fox News, however, covered Trump’s indictment predictably, managing to twist the news into an attack on President Biden with a chyron reading “WANNABE DICTATOR SPEAKS AT THE WHITE HOUSE AFTER HAVING HIS POLITICAL RIVAL ARRESTED.” It’s that sort of bias and political hostility that affirms Fox’s place in the mediaverse as a propaganda outlet that regurgitates right-wing lies and takes its cues from their Dear Leader Trump.
The foundations of Fox News have lately been on the decline. For the first time in more than two years they lost their Nielsen ratings leadership. The week of June 5 was won by their arch nemesis, MSNBC. According to Mediaiate…
“MSNBC beat Fox News last week in prime time in both total viewers and in the key 25-54 age demographic, ending a 120-week winning streak for Fox in prime time. […] MSNBC averaged 1.52 million total viewers across prime time, from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., and 172,000 demo viewers, which was enough to beat Fox’s 1.5 million total average viewers and 139,000 demo viewers. CNN landed in third place with 677,000 total average prime time viewers and 131,000 demo viewers.”
What’s more, on Tuesday, during the hour that Trump’s indictment took place, Fox News came in third behind CNN and MSNBC, which drew almost twice as many viewers as Fox. As reported in CNN’s newsletter…
“During the 3pm hour, when Trump was taken into custody and pled not guilty, CNN averaged 1.6 million total viewers, with 287k in the demo and MSNBC averaged 2.3 million viewers, with 311k in the demo. On right-wing talk TV, Fox News averaged 1.7 million total viewers, with 179k in the demo.”
This bad news for Fox is not due solely to Trump being brought up on charges for crimes against America. Actually, Fox viewers regard that favorably as proof that he is the victim of a cabal of nefarious “Deep State” operatives. The Trump crowd is naturally drawn to liars and criminals. But despite that, much of the Fox News audience has abandoned the network for having terminated Tucker Carlson. They have now embraced the delusional notion that Fox News is collaborating with ultra-liberals bent on destroying the MAGA movement.
What this tells us, though, is relevant to the upcoming elections in 2024. MSNBC’s good fortunes reveal that progressives and Democrats have been energized by events in the news and the political successes by their representatives in Washington. So they are paying close attention on the network that is most aligned with their views.
On the other hand, Republicans and Trump cultists are despondent and can’t handle the flurry of foreboding affairs that are dragging down their party and its leader. So they are tuning out in massive numbers. That’s a condition that is likely to be repeated in November of 2024 as Republicans choose to stay home rather than wallow in ignominious defeat. And Fox News isn’t wasting any time invalidating the results of the next presidential race.
In the meantime, the GOP is desperately trying to manufacture scandals of their own. The Republican chair of the House Oversight Committee, James Comer, went on Fox News to whine about “the liberal media like MSNBC with their a low IQ audience.” Look who’s talking. And they are asserting preposterous allegations against Biden that have no basis in reality.
James Comer on Maria Bartiromo's show says MSNBC has "a low IQ audience" pic.twitter.com/e7qDqsy4N2
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 15, 2023
To top matters off, Trump is scheduled to be interviewed on Fox News by Bret Baier on June 19. It will be interesting to see if Baier asks any legitimate questions about Trump’s indictments or, more importantly, the underlying crimes that comprise them. And if Trump gives his routine deflections and lies in response, will Baier ask appropriate follow-ups? In the hopes of preventing any tragic asphyxiations, please do not hold your breath waiting for any of that.
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