Tag: hannity
What Next For Fox? Ratings Collapse After Tucker Carlson Ousted

What Next For Fox? Ratings Collapse After Tucker Carlson Ousted

It’s been less than a week since Fox News suddenly pulled Tucker Carlson off the air, and the early results for the network have been devastating. Fox’s ratings are in a tailspin, and its right-wing media competitors are successfully stealing its market share by painting the network as a traitor to the conservative movement. It’s time for Fox’s executives and stars to panic – and whatever they do to reverse course is likely to be irresponsible and destructive.

Viewership for Carlson’s former timeslot is in freefall. His show drew just over 3 million viewers last Wednesday, including 357,000 in the crucial 24-54 demographic. A week later, Fox host Brian Kilmeade’s third night in the timeslot brought in only 1.33 million viewers and 124,000 in that demographic. Fox’s audience for its 8 p.m. ET hour plummeted 56% among all viewers and 65% in the demo in just a week – and still may not have hit bottom. Meanwhile, MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes scores its first ratings wins in the show's history.

The night-by-night ratings numbers show the starkness of the Fox decline.

Those numbers would be bad enough on their own – but the ratings carnage isn’t limited to Carlson’s old timeslot. Hannity and The Ingraham Angle, which follow it in prime time, each declined by at least 33 percent among all viewers and at least 40% in that demographic over the same period, suggesting that a large share of former Carlson viewers who are turning Fox off in his former hour aren’t turning it back on afterwards. Fox programs that air earlier in the evening, like The Five and Special Report, have also seen viewership decline, albeit by a smaller proportion.

Fox’s ratings are swooning as the network comes under relentless fire from its rivals in conservative media. Some influential right-wing figures have called for a boycott of Fox, including Steve Bannon of Real America’s Voice, who argued that “if you're watching Fox you're helping the people that are against you” and urged his audience to “take the clicker and turn it off.” Trumpist digital outlet Breitbart.comsplashed its front page on Friday with a story calling Carlson’s firing a “Fox News purge” in which “the Murdochs reestablish corporate control.” And hosts and guests on Newsmax, Fox’s closest direct cable news competitor, have called Carlson’s firing a case of Fox “pull[ing] the race card” and “succumbing to the woke mob” that foretells the “death of Fox News” and benefits the rival network – which has seen a ratings jump this week.

The prime time ratings collapse comes at a very bad time for Fox. The network is currently trying to make the case to several major cable carriers that its programming is so essential that it should be granted a huge increase in fees that would firm up its profits. The negotiations will surely be more difficult if Fox’s audience remains in a steep decline.

If Fox’s ratings remain soft, its leaders will be moved to act. The last time the network saw a ratings collapse of this magnitude was after the 2020 elections, when it came under pressure from the right for being insufficiently supportive of then-President Donald Trump. Fox’s executives and stars panicked at the time over the prospect of the network losing its hegemony to rivals like Newsmax. They responded by amplifying election fraud conspiracy theories they knew were not credible, and a few months later, Fox made Carlson the face of the network.

But because Fox’s viewers demand incendiary content, moves to firm up their support can come at a heavy cost to the network. The election conspiracy theories eventually triggered a massive defamation settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, another even larger lawsuit is still in play, and revelations from the Dominion lawsuit may have cost Carlson his job.

Whatever Fox does this time won’t be pretty.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Fox News

How Fox Buried News Of Its Massive Defamation Payout

If you’ve heard about Fox News’ record-breaking settlement with Dominion Voting Systems over the network’s election fraud lies, you probably don’t depend on the right-wing propaganda outlet for your information.

Fox News devoted only 6 minutes and 53 seconds of coverage to its last-minute $787.5 million settlement with Dominion as of posting time. Dominion had sued Fox for defamation, citing its lies about that company’s role in purportedly rigging the 2020 presidential election against Donald Trump.

Fox’s coverage amounted to roughly one second of airtime for every $1.9 million of the settlement.

The Fox payout to Dominion “is the largest publicly known defamation settlement in US history involving a media company” and is “nearly 10 times the company’s valuation from 2018, and roughly eight times its annual revenue in 2021, according to court filings,” CNN reported.

The agreement, announced on Tuesday afternoon in a courtroom filled with reporters following an hours-long delay before opening statements were to begin, received extensive coverage from major news outlets worldwide.

But on Fox, coverage was limited to a pair of reports from the network’s Howard Kurtz on “news side” programs Your World and Special Report, and a pair of headline reads on Your World and the overnight show Fox News @ Night. Kurtz, who was initially barred by Fox from reporting on the case, appeared in the Delaware courtroom on Tuesday.

Kurtz, whose reporting was often harshly critical of Fox’s operation before he took a job at the network a decade ago, presented a relatively upbeat portrayal of the massive settlement Fox agreed to pay out.

On Your World, for instance, Kurtz did not mention the $787.5 million figure on-air (he later toldSpecial Report that a settlement total had been stated by Dominion’s lawyers but that he had been unable to “independently confirm” it). He also read in full Fox’s hilariously nonsensical statement that “this settlement reflects Fox's continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards” and claimed that “much of the media was looking forward to six weeks of, frankly, a lot of people in the mainstream media, anti-Fox, rooting for Fox to lose, they're now going to be deprived of that opportunity.”

Kurtz did call the claims at issue – “that Dominion voting machines … were somehow stealing votes from Donald Trump and flipping them to Joe Biden” – both “obviously false” and “conspiracy theories.” But he did not mention the voluminous evidence revealed through the lawsuit that Fox’s hosts, executives, and producers were aware those claims were false at the time the network aired them.

Notably, the settlement was not mentioned on Tuesday’s editions of The Five, Tucker Carlson Tonight, or Hannity, or on Wednesday’s Fox & Friends or Fox Business’ Mornings with Maria. Each of those programs (or one of its hosts, in the case of panel show The Five’s Jeanine Pirro and Mornings with Maria’s Maria Bartiromo) had aired statements about Dominion that the company’s lawyers identified as false.

Judge Eric M. Davis, who oversaw the case, wrote last month that it is “CRYSTAL clear that none of the Statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true” (emphasis in original).

Nor was the settlement discussed on Fox News evening shows Jesse Watters Primetime and The Ingraham Angle.

The network also hid the story on its website and concealed relevant facts from its readers in the article about the settlement it published.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Donald Trump

'Emasculation Of Fox News': $787M Settlement Humiliates Murdoch Network

Dominion Voting Systems accepted a settlement offer from Fox News on Tuesday in its $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against the network's willful false reporting and propagation of former President Donald Trump's conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.

The agreement was reached shortly after jurors were seated in the high-profile trial, which coincided with Dominion submitting additional exhibits that included more than seven thousand examples of internal communications and texts between employees and executives.

New Castle County, Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis also assigned a special master "to oversee the investigation into whether Fox News followed discovery demands," per Raw Story.

Details, however, are still emerging.

"Dominion lawyer Justin Nelson just said Fox is settling the case for $787.5 million," MSNBC producer Kyle Griffin reported. Nelson added that "lies have consequences. The truth does not know red or blue."

Semafor's Ben Smith reported that according to attorney Erik Connolly, who represents Smartmatic, "Dominion's litigation exposed some of the misconduct and damage caused by Fox's disinformation campaign. Smartmatic will expose the rest. Smartmatic remains committed to clearing its name, recouping the significant damage done to the company, and holding Fox accountable for undermining democracy.”

Because of the nature of the case and its impact on the American political landscape, experts and onlookers speculated about Fox's forthcoming comeuppance.

Dominion Chief Executive Officer John Poulos noted at a press conference that "Fox has admitted telling lies."

Two of Dominion's counselors shared their thoughts too.

"It's a good day for Dominion," one exclaimed. "It's a good day for democracy," their colleague replied.

Media Matters for America's Matthew Gertz tweeted that "Fox News has settled with Dominion for what is presumably a massive sum. But no amount of money can erase what we all learned about Fox from this case."

CNN's Brian Stelter stated that "regardless of what happens next in Dominion v. Fox, it's clear that the network has been held accountable like never before."

CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig observed that Fox's monetary penalty is "10 times the value of Dominion."

When Fox News responded with a "continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards," CNN anchor Jake Tapper declared on the air that "this is going to be difficult to say with a straight face."

Meanwhile, podcaster Victor Shi blasted the outcome, writing on Twitter: "What the actual f*ck. The Judge just announced that Dominion has SETTLED its case with Fox and that the case has been resolved. This was a terrible decision by Dominion to settle — both for justice and for our democracy. Godd*mnit."

Shi complained that "Dominion just announced they settled for $787.5 MILLION. That's not even half of the $1.6 BILLION that Dominion wanted from Fox & it's NOTHING for Fox 'News.' This is the literal definition of letting your opponent win. So embarrassing & bad for democracy."

Elie Mystal, a justice correspondent for The Nation, opined that "I think the reason this is disappointing is that Dominion gets $787.5 million dollars. But we, the people who supported them over the lies and misinformation spread by Fox... get nothing. I'd feel better if I got a cut. Instead. I just get more of Tucker Carlson's smirking face."

Jack E. Smith: "Dominion's emasculation of Fox News is underway."

LA Blue Dot in GA: "Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences. Hannity, Carlson & Fox News are free to lie about the stolen election and Dominion voting machines for maximum profit & viewership. Dominion is free to sue them into oblivion."'

BrooklynDad_Defiant!: "I hope this settlement between Dominion and Fox involves each of their airheads -- Hannity, Carlson, Ingraham, etc -- forced to apologize at the beginning and end of each show for lying repeatedly and knowingly to America, and they have to admit President Biden won the election.…"

It doesn't.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

marjorie taylor greene

Now Margie Says Towns And Cities Should Be Allowed To 'Secede' From State or County

United States Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) has had a rough week facing blowback after sharing controversial – and false – opinions on topics ranging from Russia's war against Ukraine to President Joe Biden's approach to healthcare.

But on Tuesday evening's edition of Fox News host Sean Hannity's show, Greene put forth another claim – that municipalities, no matter how big or small – should have the right to declare their independence from their home states or counties.

"You're talking about reducing the size, power of the federal government, giving more power to the states, in other words, federalism is a good thing. What would you say about cases like we see, um, counties in Oregon wanting to join Idaho? We see Buckhead. I used to live in, in Georgia for four years where you are, um, and Buckhead wants to separate, for example, from Atlanta, have their own police department, their own government," Hannity said.

"So you have these, these examples where people want to join up with another state or another county or another town, um, that should they have the right to do that?" Hannity asked Greene.

"Absolutely," Greene replied.

"Don't we believe in freedom in America? Isn't that what America is all about? Is it's, it's the, it's the people and their choices and the freedom to do so," she added. "I'm a huge supporter of Buckhead City."

Right on cue, Twitter pounced on Greene, who has a history of coddling secessionism and recently called for a "national divorce."

Ted: "Her husband couldn't wait to secede from their house."

Jeff Tiedrich: "divorced from reality is more like it."

PAPPY BEST: "Counties divorcing themselves from the state. Most of these counties that she's talking about are probably rural counties. How much money do these rural counties take in from the federal government in the form of farm subsidies? She talks an awful lot but thinks very little."

George Santos' Alter Ego: "Isn’t this literally in the constitution as a big-time no-no. No matter what you call it, divorce, secession, whatever. It's a direct violation."

SomeOldGuy: "States divorce the country. Counties divorce the state. Cities divorce the County. Neighborhoods divorce the City. Individual houses divorce the Neighborhood. Everyone is their own country. Is that the plan? Do I get my own flag?"

Kalle Nemvalts: "Why doesn't Greene go all the way and call for rule by local warlords? You know, the way they do it places that have overcome the tyranny of national governments."

PhoenixRangerProdigalSon: "She wants individual counties splitting from their States? How the hell would that NOT result in a Civil War? You think that Blue States would allow pieces of a relatively hostile Red America, to be present in its States? No one wants a Transnistria situation in America, MTG."

Dimforest: "Just wait until all the blue counties pull from the red states and they're just left with all that barren land they keep bragging about during election cycles."

Prince Ali: "Very patriotic position: not only should the country dissolve, but the larger states into which it would dissolve should also themselves dissolve. Sounds honestly like something somebody who absolutely loathes and despises this country would suggest, a foreign dictator maybe."

Watch below or at this link.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.