If it seems like Fox News is desperate maybe it is

If it seems like Fox News is desperate maybe it is

Fox News firebrand Tucker Carlson has become the one-man embodiment of an aging angry white man. His primetime Fox show has turned into a vector for every racist, xenophobic, misogynistic cliche white supremacists can dream up. In the midst of a nationwide debate over frenzied Republican voter suppression efforts, Carlson spoon fed his viewers a vile “white replacement theory” rebuttal once relegated to the fringe white nationalist and neo-Nazi corners of the universe.

Playing on his white viewers worst instincts, Carlson told them that liberals become “literally hysterical … if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate—the voters now casting ballots—with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World.”

“Everyone wants to make a racial issue out of it,” he continued, “No, no, no, this is a voting-rights question. I have less political power because they are importing a brand-new electorate. Why should I sit back and take that? The power that I have as an American, guaranteed at birth, is one man, one vote, and they are diluting it.”

This is peak Carlson in the post-Trump era, echoing neo-Nazi marchers in 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, shouting, “Jews will not replace us!” Carlson’s gusher of hate speech has spurred organizations like the Anti-Defamation League to lobby Fox News executives for his dismissal. In fact, Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of ADL, recently told advertisers Carlson was an “example of how hatred is being mainstreamed in America” and pressed them to withhold their ad dollars from the right-wing outlet, according to Bloomberg News.

Yet despite the mounting pressure, Fox News execs have remained steadfast, and there’s a reason—Carlson’s race to the bottom is a ratings magnet and, yet, Fox seems pretty desperate these days.

Civiqs has been polling viewership of Fox News at the end of every survey for several years now, and the once-dominate outlet doesn’t seem as powerful according to those trend lines. In 2019, for instance, anywhere from roughly one-fifth to one-quarter of Civiqs respondents said they “frequently” watched Fox News. But today the advent of right-wing competitors like Newsmax and One America News Network (OANN) has cannibalized Fox’s frequent viewers down single digits.  

Here’s several data points from 2019, before Civiqs began polling Newsmax and OANN viewership.

Do you watch Fox News?

March 2019
August 2019

Frequently
19%
22%

Occasionally
28%
28%

I do Not watch fox
53%
51%

More recently, however, Fox’s fortunes have plummeted. In October 2020, prior to the election, 15% of respondents still said they watched Fox frequently, 31% said occasionally, and 54% said never. But following the election, in December 2020, Civiqs also began asking the viewership question about Newsmax and OANN. Here’s the results from the three outlets last December.

Do you watch the following outlet? (December 2020)

Fox
Newsmax
OANN

Frequently
8%
11%
10%

Occasionally
29%
17%
13%

I do not
64%
72%
76%

The latest Civiqs poll last week showed a continued deflation in Fox viewership consistent with late last year, while viewership of Newsmax and OANN, in particular, slipped a bit. 

Do you watch the following outlet? (April 2021)

Fox
newsmax
Oann

Frequently
9%
8%
6%

Occasionally
24%
16%
12%

I do not
67%
76%
82%

As a point of comparison, MSNBC’s viewership has remained relatively consistent over the last couple years. In August 2019, 14% of respondents called themselves frequent viewers of the liberal outlet, 27% were occasional viewers, and 59% said they didn’t watch at all. Last week, 13% said they were frequent viewers, 23% occasional viewers, and 64% don’t watch at all. MSNBC’s modest slip in viewership is more consistent with an overall dip in engagement many political outlets have seen following a frenetic few months that included the November elections, January Senate runoffs in Georgia, and the horrific Capitol insurrection inspired by Donald Trump. 

But overall, the most eye-popping changes are Fox slipping from some 20% of frequent viewers in 2019 to single digits now, alongside a double-digit increase in respondents who say they don’t watch Fox at all, from low-50s two years ago to mid-60s more recently. That suggests the outlet’s once muscular agenda-setting power on the right has atrophied significantly. Viewed in that context, Fox’s embrace of Carlson’s fire hydrant of vitriol seems more a function of desperation than anything.

From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.

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