Rupert Murdoch’s network Fox News suffered its worst month since April 2000, falling into third for total day viewers and overall viewers.
Whereas CNN averaged 2.49 million weekly total viewers and MSNBC drew 1.93 million, Fox secured just 1.49 million, down 18 per cent year-on-year.
President Trump, once a huge fan of Fox news, urged his supporters to switch allegiance to fringe competitors like Newsmax and One America News Network (OANN).
Fox, correctly, declared Arizona had been won by Joe Biden before the all of the votes had been counted, enraging Mr Trump. “Fox News Sucks!” Trump voters chanted at a vote-counting center in Arizona
Lurch to right
There are now concerns that the network is pushing even further to the right in the hope of winning back their lost viewers.
As Adam Gabbatt writes in the Guardian: “…the network seems to have made a chaotic lunge towards the right wing in recent weeks as hosts have dabbled in conspiracy theories and aggressively attacked the Joe Biden administration.”
Matthew Gertz, a senior fellow at the progressive media watchdog Media Matters, said he had detected a shift at Fox to get back “the most hard-edge” Trump supporters, reports the Guardian.
“The network really needs to win them back. It’s of great concern for Fox if they’re no longer in first place. It’s not going to be possible for them to command the same ad rates, it’s not going to be possible for them to demand the same fees from cable carriers,” he said.
One of the most controversial presenters, Tucker Carlson, has defended QAnon. Carlson said : “If they succeed in controlling what you believe you are no longer a citizen, you are no longer a free man, you are a slave.”
Discussing the huge fall in viewers with The Daily Beast, one unnamed former on-air Fox personality commented: “Fox has seen ratings dips before and has always come back. But there’s no denying this is disastrous for them.
“They clearly have no plan other than to keep reshuffling the same old tired, uninteresting deck chairs, and the audience knows it. The lack of leadership, a bench, or any exciting, news-making ideas coupled with the blood-letting to Newsmax and OANN have put it in a position never seen before… There is zero doubt they are panicking behind the scenes.”
James Murdoch recently condemned the US media for “propagating lies” which have unleashed “insidious and uncontrollable forces” that will endure for years.
“The damage is profound,” he told the Financial Times in an interview. “The sacking of the Capitol is proof positive that what we thought was dangerous is indeed very much so. Those outlets that propagate lies to their audience have unleashed insidious and uncontrollable forces that will be with us for years.
“I hope that those people who didn’t think it was that dangerous now understand, and that they stop.”
He added that the media would inevitably face “a reckoning” after being “co-opted by forces that only want to stay in power, or are manipulating our discourse from abroad and are only too happy to make a mess and burn things down.”