Almost since its inception in 1996, they have been the Cable News Network with the highest ratings. In 2016, they saw an impressive 36% percent growth in viewers. With their willingness to address Conservative issues and employing many pundits who fall on the Right side of the fence, Fox News has easily differentiated themselves in a media climate dominated by journalists on the Left. Their moniker “Fair and Balanced” should probably be, Fox News, the only station that let’s Conservatives talk.
The spectacular rise of Fox News has also been aided by the Presidential victory in November and the preservation of Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress also probably helped. While then Candidate Trump was very accessible to the media, his almost daily call ins to Fox and Friends, and his friendly relationships with Sean Hannity, and at times Bill O’Reilly certainly helped. When the whole world wants to know about President Trump, it is wise to tune into the station that has him the most.
President Trump and Candidate Trump liked to use the line that uses some version of “The forgotten men and women of this country will be forgotten no more”. He was usually referring to those from the middle of the country. Those from the “Flyover States” who were often not only unheard, but the butt of a lot of jokes from the blue coastal States as well. Coal Miners, those in the manufacturing industries and just those who found that under Obamacare they were not able to afford health insurance. They have always been the Bread and Butter of Fox News. the 2016 Election only served to bring them closer and in bigger numbers.
The 2016 election also did something that those on the Right have been trying to expose for years. The horrible left wing bias that exists in the current media enterprises like MSNBC, CNN, the New York Times etc. These biases have led to a new term to describe the media in America, Fake News. The Fake News phenomena is probably one of the hottest topics around these days.
*Editors note, Halsey News believes that the majority of Fake News is not based on the premise that most news is made up, but is based on undeclared bias. The Halsey News Network was founded on the principle that declaring allegiances and bias is important for News sources to have any level of credibility
Fox News has also fallen victim to the whole Fake News issue as well. It is almost impossible to cover politics and not find yourself caught up in the fever pitch of the moment, and being in a news cycle that is 24/7 doesn’t really help either. With Candidate Trump, they were able to seize on a huge audience of Trump supporters by not needing to spin his rhetoric but by just giving him a platform to talk and answer questions. Additionally, with the majority of the other media sources employing tons of Hilary Clinton surrogates and supporters, it was fairly obvious what narrative they were pushing. Some journalists on Fox News saw their stars rise with Donald Trump like Megyn Kelly, only to see them fall when it turned out their conflict with President Trump was all they had. Kelly has since left Fox News and is a reporter very few people are about any more. Shepard Smith, Fox News’ only openly gay reporter has found himself constantly under attack for a very clear anti Trump bias. Fox News will probably have to eventually decide if his unpopularity is worth keeping him at the risk of being seen to get rid of him for his sexual preferences. Time will tell. It also is interesting to note that Daily Caller founder and former cohost of CNN’s Crossfire, Tucker Carlson debuted on Fox News around the time of the election and has since been given Megyn Kelly’s prime time slot. He has been slamming the ratings and his show is widely seen by Conservatives and Trump supporters as being a great addition to the Fox News Lineup. Reddit’s /r/The_Donald, a strong barometer about how the fans of President Trump are leaning, generally are distrustful of the media, but watch Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity pretty religiously, if not just because they enjoy the show but both have been very strong Trump supporters. They have also been seen as one of the driving forces in the accent of Fox News sister channel, Fox Business, the fastest growing Business channel on Cable. Fox Business has found a voice with Lou Dobbs, who regularly tweets supportive Trump posts and commonly includes #MAGA and #TrumpTrain in his tweets. It also helps that Fox Business spends an inordinate amount of time speaking about Trump positive business climates, deregulation, and tax cut policies proposed by the President.
— Lou Dobbs (@LouDobbs) March 15, 2017
The million dollar question these days, especially among the Alternative media, is whether Fox News will fall victim to the same culture that is destroying leftists in the Main Stream Media? Will their Conservative Bias be a driving force in their destruction of credibility? Sites like Breitbart and The Daily Wire are seeing huge increases in traffic, but those sites don’t try to hide their biases. Fox News often calls themselves Fair and Balanced, and while it may be true they are the closest to it. It is kind of silly to not acknowledge where they fall on the political spectrum as well.
I myself have found myself doing lots of things I vowed never to do in my youth as a result of my affinity for President Trump. I went to the polls and voted Republican, which I had always been against. I also started tuning in to Fox News again. In 2004, there was a documentary called Outfoxed. It generally highlighted the poor fact checking policies and conservative slant of Fox News.I generally regarded most of their assertions as accurate and stopped watching Fox News for a long time. As I said, President Trump brought me back to the Republican Party and back to Fox News. While I admit to these biases I have found that Fox News has been pretty good about not only reporting honestly but being meticulous in correcting false stories and righting the record when these things happen. It is preposterous for a news station to never make a mistake, it is imperative they correct them loudly and clearly when they do. It is important in a time where the majority of sources are “unnamed” and reporters stake their credibility on information they can’t attribute to any particular person that the record be corrected when necessary. It also is likely that if this isn’t religiously adhered to that competing stations and the public will use false information to further their own narratives.
A great example during the 2016 Election was the case of Bret Baier and the FBI Investigation of the Clinton Foundation (see videos at the bottom of this article). Bret Baier has always been one of the more ethical reporters on the air, let along on Fox News Channel. His ethics are beyond reproach. So when he went on the air and said that “FBI Sources” have said that an indictment was likely in the FBI investigation on Hilary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, the story was quoted across the political spectrum and on a majority of news stations.
2 days later Baier was forced to issue an apology. His sin? Using the word indictment. It is probably true that his sources, who he had no reason to distrust, used the term indictment. It is likely he was perfectly within ethical guidelines in saying what he did. The issue is, the FBI cannot and will not comment on ongoing investigations to the Press. He maintained his commitment to his sources not to reveal their identities and the Left seized on this as an acquittal of the Clintons and the Foundation.
The Truth is probably somewhere in between. The FBI, it turned out, was and still is investigating what was going on at the Clinton Foundation. No one knows whether there will be an indictment. At the time, this fact only served to help exonerate the Clinton Foundation among their supporters. The Right was furious that Fox News didn’t hold the line. The situation became lose lose.
This is also the current state of the media. All journalists are required to use unnamed sources. It is unlikely most news would even be reported if there weren’t people willing to go “Off the Record” to confirm or deny them. It was always assumed that the integrity of the journalist quoting the unnamed source was enough to determine the credibility of the report. Well, welcome to 2017.
The 2016 Election brought the credibility of all the media into question. Sources like CNN and MSNBC, when quoting unnamed sources were typically found to actually be quoting paid political operatives in the Clinton Campaign, and their reports turned out to be false on many occasions. To compound the problem, they hardly ever retracted anything, and this only hurt them further. Anonymous sources gave us the “Russia Dossier” on Buzzfeed. Themedia is seen as less trustworthy than Congress. Congress is typically seen as less trustworthy than Bernie Madoff.
Now Fox News is finding itself it hot water again. It may turn out that they are vindicated, but it also may be that the sources will forever stay anonymous. The example is Judge Andrew Napolitano, a Fox News contributor. He told both Varney & Co and Fox & Friends that three intelligence sources have told Fox News that President Obama enlisted the help of Great Britain to use British intelligence to do surveillance on Trump Tower. It is an understatement to say that if proven true, a sitting President using foreign intelligence sources to spy on political rivals borders on treason. This type of charge should not be made lightly. The rest of the day the charge was widely ignored by Fox News. Even rabid Trump supporter Sean Hannity ignored it, even though his evening show was focused on charges President Obama may have ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower during the election. The next day, Napolitano mentioned it again on Fox and Friends. The only follow up so far is that Fox has sent out a tweet with the allegation. Other than that…Crickets.
The question I am having difficulty answering is whether Fox News doesn’t believe that this charge has any credibility, which is so they should issue both a retraction and apology to President Obama. The other question, and even more importantly, if they believe this is credible, why the caution? If this is credible, this could be one of the biggest stories of all time. Could it be they are afraid of what the revelation could do to their other contributors? Their reputation on Social Media? Only time will tell.