For more than two decades, Fox News has conditioned its audience to distrust news that collides with its worldview or theirs. Inconvenient facts have been dismissed and blamed on the “liberal media” or the “deep state” or one of the many other boogeymen favored by the right at any particular time.
On the other hand, the acknowledgment of reality is angering Fox’s audience, some members of which are refusing to accept the truth of the matter and rebelling when it is force-fed to them.
And Trump, who is livid at Fox for calling Arizona for Biden on Election Night and for not supporting him as slavishly as he would like, has been encouraging those viewers to change the channel and tune into Newsmax or OAN.
It is morphing into a real problem for Fox.
It’s unclear how long this trend will hold and it could very well be a short-lived phase. It is also worth noting that, even as Newsmax rips away some of its views, Fox continues to enjoy a dominant position in the conservative news market.
But Fox does appear to be reacting to the challenge. It recently launched promotional spots touting the network’s pro-Trump prime time lineup attacking the legitimacy of the elections, with a narrator declaring the hosts are “speaking up for you.”
All that said, it’s also worth noting that Fox has armed its rivals with the very instruments they are using against it.
Fox has primed viewers to distrust journalists and it has disseminated disinformation and promoted conspiracy theories that support the President. Now, Trump and these fledgling networks are wielding these tactics like a weapon against Fox. In some cases they’re also using former Fox personalities against them.
Newsmax hosts “Diamond & Silk,” who previously hosted a show on Fox’s streaming service, insisted Monday that Biden is “NOT the President” and said, “Somebody should let the left-wing media, including Fox News, know!”
If Fox executives are frustrated or perplexed by a the portion of their audience protesting the channel, they need only to look in the mirror to understand who bears the main share of the responsibility.