As supporters of President Donald Trump gathered around the country last week to oppose the election, a surprising chant can sometimes be heard: “Fox News Sucks.”
The network played a central role during Trump’s presidency, regularly hosting him on his various shows and featuring a slate of commentators who vocally defend him. But that relationship began to show signs of tension in recent months, after Fox News and The Associated Press became the first major media outlet to declare outside hostility to Trump that former Vice President Joe Biden took the presidency. Arizona won the race.
On Thursday, Trump further vented his anger on Fox News, claiming that the network’s ratings “collapsed”, which is untrue. On election night, Nielsen’s ratings data showed that Fox News picked up an average of 14.1 million viewers from 8–11 pm ET, a record for cable news coverage of the presidential election.
Trump tweeted, “Very sad to see this, but they forget what they had achieved, what they got there. They forgot the Golden Goose.”
With Biden as president-elect, Fox News’s relationship with Trump and conservative America is at a crossroads. The conservative media landscape today is much broader than it was four years ago, and rival networks promoted during Trump’s presidency may be eager to take on Fox News – possibly in concert with Trump. But any prediction of Fox News’ demise would be premature.
“They’re not 800-hundred-pound gorillas, they’re 8,000-pound gorillas,” said Howard Polskin, who monitors right-wing media outlets. “Fox News casts a huge shadow and is very important. Foxnews.com’s audience is 10 times larger than the second largest conservative outlet. It is not even close. “
While Fox Corp CEO Lachlan Murdoch indicated that things might change after the election, he remained convinced of Fox’s position during a call with investors on election day.
“You just have to beg your fan base to stop watching Fox News and start watching your channel.”
Murdoch said, “I would hope that as we enter another general news cycle, which is bound to happen eventually, the appetite for news will increase.” “We have seen through it … different administrations and different political cycles, we have retained our number 1 position through all of that.”
On Thursday, at Fox Corp’s annual shareholder meeting, Murdoch reiterated that Fox News had an incredible year, which he attributed to its “live news, analysis and clear and strong opinions”.
However, there is no question Fox News is facing a new reality. Right-wing media sites have campaigned under Trump – an unusual phenomenon in itself, as biased media sources typically grow even more when their side is not in the White House – and operating benefits such as One America News and Newsmax Can stand for if Trump stays with partner. He did not remain president once he was with her.
Newsmax – which maintains the election has not yet been decided – has seen a rating spike. Trump has retweeted the comments of Twitter users saying they are switching from Fox to Newsmax.
“If you look at the president’s tweet, he’s pretty much validating these sites, which people probably would never have heard of,” Eskinsk said. “Suddenly all these sites that were far away and on the right were becoming more mainstream in Washington. Trump gave a lot of credibility to the OAN reporter at the press conference.”
As Trump’s frustration with Fox News has increased, there has been renewed speculation that he may also start his own media network, with Trump already finding out.
Kagan Media Group’s research director Derek Baine said Trump has a devoted fan following and could exploit his donor list or create a media group from various smaller right-wing websites that already exist.
“Both Newsmax and OAN are small players, so the game plan will be to launch an attack on Fox News,” Baine said. “If you can also get 20 percent of the advertising dollars that Fox News generates, it would be a big win. You don’t have to wipe them out, you just have to appeal to your fanbase to stop watching Fox News and watch your channel. “
Trump’s relationship with Fox News and Rupert Murdoch, whose family controls his parent company, has changed considerably during Trump’s presidency. Fox News and News Corp declined to comment on NBC News.
Murdoch and Trump had cultivated a close relationship that included weekly calls. But over the past several months, things have gotten rockier.
Matthew Sheffield, a former conservative activist, said, “Murdoch has a history of turning on conservative leaders that he thinks need to go – but this is the first time Murdoch has turned against Republicans in the United States.” “
“Rupert Murdoch has a history of turning over conservative leaders – but this is the first time Murdoch has turned against the president of the Republican Party.”
Fox News’s firm commitment that Biden conquered Arizona, which brought Trump into disrepute, exposed the existing duality between the network’s news-based content and its opinion-based programming.
On Monday, host Neil Cavuto also pulled away from the Trump campaign news conference, with White House press secretary Kayle McNee saying Democrats are trying to prevent people from seeing ballots.
Cavo said, “That, that, that. I think we should be very clear: she’s charging the other side as welcoming fraud and illegal voting.” “I can’t do well until he has more details to go back.
According to Sheffield, the communicative message delivered on Fox News is reminiscent of what is within the broader Republican Party as both established their message on Trump’s subsequent presidency.
“It’s a parallel tension between the Republican elite and the Republican base and then the Fox News Newsroom and Fox News,” he said. “Fox News is virtually a microcosm of the Republican Party.”