Is Fox News Channel doomed?


On numerous occasions, I’ve pointed out on this blog that Democratic presidential candidates have fared quite well at the ballot box ever since the rise of such right-wing media giants as Fox News Channel and radio blabber Rush Limbaugh.

Much the same point is made in the following passage from a long article by Frank Rich about the problems facing Fox News:

The most interesting news about Fox News is that for some years now it has been damaging the right far more than the left. As a pair of political analysts wrote at Reuters last year, “When the mainstream media reigned supreme, between 1952 and 1988, Republicans won seven out of the ten presidential elections,” but since 1992, when “conservative media began to flourish” (first with Rush Limbaugh’s ascendancy, then with Fox), Democrats have won the popular vote five out of six times. You’d think they’d be well advised to leave Fox News to its own devices so that it can continue to shoot its own party in the foot.

Read Rich’s entire piece HERE.






  1. Fox News is clearly not doomed as Pat suggests. Even Rich readily points out the recent ratings dominance. One of the more interesting facts in the article is the median viewing age of the viewers, which are as follows:

    68 – Fox News
    60 – CNN/MSNBC
    62-64 – ABC/CBC/NBC

    So does that mean that Fox just caters to old people? Perhaps. I thinks it’s more of a stat that retired people tend to watch more TV.

    Nearly 47% of the people voted for Romney compared to 51% for Obama. And as long as all the other networks continue to fight amongst either trying to win viewership of the 51%, Fox News will be happy to have a near monopoly of the remaining 47%.

  2. Neftali: Two things:

    1. I didn’t claim that Fox News is “doomed” as a ratings power house. Echoing the theme of Frank Rich’s piece, I raised the question of whether FNC is doomed as a significant electoral influence. It would seem that it is. As noted above, Republican presidential candidates have fared poorly since the launch of FNC (and Limbaugh).

    2. Your suggestion that FNC “will be happy to have a near monopoly” of the 47 percent of voters who went for Romney is a misinterpretation of the numbers. As Rich notes, cable news viewership is meager. Hence, it’s silly to suggest that any significant portion of Romney voters were regular viewers of FNC or any other cable news outlet. The simple fact of the matter is that the vast majority of voters, Democrats and Republicans alike, don’t spend much time watching cable news channels. Moreover, FNC’s share of younger viewers is declining precipitously, which means its political influence increasingly is concentrated among older voters. Well, demographics like that aren’t going to be of much help to Republican candidates.

    Conclusion: FNC’s ambition to become a major influence in elections is doomed to failure. FNC probably made lots more money than MSNBC during the 2012, but the party MSNBC favored did better at the polls than FNC’s Republican candidates at all levels (presidential and congressional).

    • I didn’t mean to infer that all 47% of Romney voters watch Fox. That’s obviously not true. But that percentage of voters is clearly FNC’s target audience. While the rest of the networks are fighting for viewership from the 51%. Yeah, I get that only a small percentage of people actually watch TV news, but Fox clearly has significantly greater chance at dominating the market of their target audience. Thus, there is no reason to think Fox’s goals of influencing elections is doomed.

      There is also the possibility that the Fox News execs are all too familiar with the limited influence of TV news on all election results. Perhaps their entire goal is just to make money from a carefully targeted demographic. After all, they are a corporation. A corporation’s goal is to make money. Period. Having some lofty noble goal as to influence society without regards to profit is usually a mantra of the left wingers. (See Air America). So to that end, Fox is highly successful. In fact, Fox might not even care who is winning and losing elections. Heck, preaching extremism may actually be better for corporate profits, especially when you lose. It is always easier to criticize those who are governing than it is to actually govern, right?

  3. Steverino

    Fox News appears to wax and wane with the Republican party, perhaps they’re one and the same.

  4. Cole Sear

    A median viewing age of 68 is not a good thing. It means, quite literally, that your audience is dying off. This has been a trend in television news and newspapers for more than 20 years, as the average age ticks up more or less with the baby boom. This trend is dramatic in the news media business, leaving all networks and local news to fight over a pie that is only going to get smaller and smaller. Younger people simply do not watch television news. And god bless them for it.

    Someone wisely said more than 50 years ago that television is a vast wasteland. Today, it is that, and TV news additionally stews in an ocean of toxic waste. The sooner people stop watching it, the better off our country will be.

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