In 2019, Fox News continued its spiral to the bottom with increasingly racist content, particularly in the prime-time hours, when big audiences are tuning in for nightly immigrant-bashing, overt racism, unhinged late-night rants, conspiracy theories, and even attacks on a 16-year-old climate change activist for having the audacity to work to make the world a better place for her future.
All of that is troubling for a national cable news outlet, but perhaps even more troubling is the fact that 2019 was a record-breaking year for Fox News viewership. Business Wire reports that, according to Nielsen Media Research, peddling conspiracies and promoting racist content must be feeding a hungry audience, because Fox News saw its highest viewership in the 23-year history of the network in 2019, averaging 2.5 million viewers per night. Business Wire writes, “FNC also ranks as a top-five network in primetime in all of television for 2019. Additionally, Hannity was the number one program in cable news for the third consecutive year with 3.3 million viewers.”
It gets worse. The notoriously racist shows featuring Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham have a tight grip on conservative audiences, and they aren’t only talking to your older relatives. Said Business Wire, ”In cable news, FNC secured nine of the top 15 programs in total viewers and the 25-54 demo. Additionally, FNC’s The Five, Tucker Carlson Tonight, Hannity and The Ingraham Angle claimed four of the top five programs in the younger 18-49 demo.”
This is what we are up against! As Fox News continues lurching to the extreme right, there is a danger that other networks will follow its lead to cash in on the ratings and the profits, forever seeking that middle ground and “both sides” to the story, even though the progressive side of the story is rarely ever told. And that is why now, more than ever, we need Daily Kos to stand strong in the face of the blatant propaganda coming from the most-watched news outlet in the country. Its hosts, such as Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs, are regularly dining and palling around with Donald Trump and his circle of deplorables. As you can see from the graphic above, Lou Dobbs doesn’t bother even remotely to mask his pro-Trump propaganda, even as his reports mirror those that come from North Korea and China slobbering over their own Dear Leaders.
Sean Hannity has even taken the stage to address the crowds at Donald Trump’s political rallies. Can you imagine a prime-time host from another network having the audacity to display such blatant partisanship? Is there really a scenario in which Rachel Maddow, Chris Cuomo, or Anderson Cooper could be speakers at a political rally for a Democratic candidate? Their credibility would be shot, and they’d likely be looking for a new line of work. But not at Fox News. Let’s face it, the most-watched network in the country is little more than a Republican-operated super PAC.