What is Wrong With Fox News?
The hallmarks of the media’s coverage are vitriol, partisanship, melodrama, and lack of impartiality. But what’s even worse? The fact that Fox News encourages a strong sense of brand loyalty among its viewers. The show’s anchors consistently refer to President Trump as “our president,” and its culture is one of conservative victimhood. So if all of these factors are bad, why do so many viewers continue to watch Fox News?
The insult about Fox News is no surprise. The network’s commentators, unlike politicians, do not seek votes but an audience to generate advertising revenue. As a result, the network has become the most-watched cable channel globally, which has created a side industry of denunciation. A nonprofit watchdog group, a disapproving chorus of authors and filmmakers, and a thriving social media criticizing Fox.
The abuse is primarily directed at the news network’s programming, which is the most-watched cable network in America, outpacing even ESPN. However, critics point out that a network that has the capacity to engender mass disorientation is not an appropriate target for criticism. Fox is a symptom of the more significant problem, not a cause. It is an expression of the dislocation that characterizes our culture. It wears down the common meanings of our democratic system, resulting in disorientation and mass suspicion.
The lean right stance of Fox News viewers isn’t as apparent as it once was. According to a recent survey conducted by the Center for Public Integrity, the average Fox News audience is slight to the right of the average U.S. adult but not as far to the right like some other outlets. The survey ranked 30 news outlets by self-described partisanship and ideology. While the survey results weren’t statistically significant, they were still indicative of the network’s partisanship.
A recent poll by Suffolk University found that Fox viewers were more critical of President Obama and feared Hillary Clinton, believed the presidential election was being rigged and believed that the American media is conspiring against Donald Trump. This is hardly surprising if you look at the demographics of both news outlets. While the general public is distinctly Democratic, MSNBC and CNN have become increasingly partisan. According to one survey, 45% of MSNBC’s regular viewers are Democrats while only 18% watch CNN.
The impact of Fox News on Republican voting is evident. For every 2.5 minutes a week that Fox News is broadcasted, Republican vote shares rise by 0.3 percentage points. Similarly, when it comes to liberal media like CNN, the impact of Fox is nearly insignificant. In Ethan Kaplan and Stefano DellaVigna, researchers found that Republican vote shares increased by 0.3 percentage points. However, the effect of liberal media on partisanship was much more significant.
Overall, most Democrats distrust Fox News and the Republican-leaning independent media. But this doesn’t mean that they tune out Fox News altogether. About a quarter of Democrats still watch Fox News for their political news. More liberal Democrats, who distrust Fox News more, are the ones who watch it. So, what’s the reason behind this distrust? And how do we fight it? The answer lies in the political news we consume.
It’s no secret that Fox News is obsessed with the recent immigrant “invasion” of the United States. However, their televised discussion of the topic smacks of bloodthirsty white supremacists. Several days later, Kilmeade defended her use of hyperbole. However, her words, stoked by the news network’s enthusiastic audience, are hardly a reflection of her moral integrity or stance against immigrant “invasion” or even immigration.
The inherent contradictions in Fox’s programming are exemplified in the show’s title. “Fox & Friends” blurs the line between news and opinion. While it’s a shameless rip-off of a news organization, Fox goes to great lengths to retain an audience that will cling to it like glue. In addition to the misinformation in which it is awash in, Fox has a culture of conservative victimhood that pervades its programming.
Lack of impartiality
While the network is known for its political coverage, it often fails to provide an objective and unbiased view of the issues. This is especially true when Fox hosts reverse their opinions to fit the political agenda of their president. For example, while Trump had called negotiations with North Korea “disturbing,” Hannity now calls them a “huge foreign policy win.” Gertz believes that Fox drives Trump rather than the other way around because its anchors routinely push the president to reject compromises and pursue his radical approach.
The network’s Washington bureau features reporters who look just like their mainstream counterparts. Jim Angle, the White House correspondent for Fox, is a prime example. But the network also picks up stories from right-wing outlets like Drudge Report. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it is also a big problem. Forget about being impartial. Fox is no longer impartial. Therefore, it should apologize to its viewers for their bias.
While many media outlets report news, Fox is particularly controversial because of its conservative viewpoint. As a result, many liberals have accused Fox executives of being biased.
Yet Fox executives argue that the media in the United States has become accustomed to left-leaning news and that a truly balanced network would have a balanced viewpoint. In contrast, British papers consistently deliver excellent coverage while keeping their political affiliation secret. However, Fox executives’ claims are not valid.
The media bias of Fox News is still evident, but it’s more subtle, primarily due to wording and tone of voice. AllSides created a separate Media Bias Rating for Fox News Opinion/Editorial to make this more explicit. Unfortunately, even though it’s not the only source of news content, the network also lacks impartiality, as it’s often characterized as “leaning right” by a majority of the AllSides community.
Influence on elections
Studies have shown that Fox News has a significant effect on American elections. Over 15 years, Fox has won more hearts for the Republican Party than any other news outlet. The media’s influence on vote share could determine the next president. Whether Fox News is a positive or negative force on elections remains seen. Its influence on vote share could be crucial in the 2016 presidential race. Whether Fox’s messages are accurate is another question.
As the dominant political broadcaster in the country, Fox News has an unmatched influence on American politics. Its nightly audience is 1.5 times larger than CNN or MSNBC combined. While the president has repeatedly referred to Fox News as “fake news,” millions of Americans still believe it to be accurate and trustworthy. And that may alleviate nationwide turmoil – or sow it. However, many other outlets have a similar influence on the United States.
In 2016, the news network hosted a CNN interview with a Republican attorney who criticized Trump’s campaign. Carlson was a frequent guest on the show. As his host, Carlson has an uncanny knack for advancing dishonest arguments supporting Trump. In one recent interview, Carlson invited a former Trump campaign lawyer to speak on the program. Meanwhile, Laura Ingraham claimed that there were numerous questions about the electoral process and unverifiable dumps of votes. The show did not respond to our request for comment.
While most Democrats distrust Fox News, it is important to recognize that this doesn’t mean that they tune it out altogether. About a quarter of Democrats report watching it and reading its political articles. Among Democrats, those who watch it the most are conservative, moderate, and liberal. It’s important to know that Fox News’ influence on elections is not solely a matter of the number of viewers it attracts.