Fox News has hemorrhaged daytime viewers since election night. Stories by Axios and the AP go into some details, reporting a surge in viewers to CNN since the election. The AP story relates that Fox daytime viewership is down 10 percent compared to a year ago. In prime time, however, Fox News still dominates. According to Axios, Fox said it had its highest-rated November ever.
What happened? I wrote about it incessantly in the immediate aftermath of the election — here (November 7), here (November 8), here (November 9), and here (November 13). Fox News lost the trust of its core audience — I speak as a former member — on election night.
Fox News has yet to answer for what happened on election night — its call of net gains for Democrats in the House early in the evening, before polls had even closed in California and its call of Arizona for Biden when the outcome was seriously in doubt. Whatever happened to Arnon Mishkin? He appears to have been secreted into a witness protection program while Fox News itself rests on its right to remain silent. My own inquiry to Fox News senior corporate communications executive Irena Briganti — see my November 13 post — has gone unanswered.
Throw in the performance of Chris Wallace at the first presidential debate and since then on Fox News Sunday. If we never see his face again it will be too soon. What a pompous fraud. With so many prominent conservative pundits on the payroll as contributors, Fox has been spared a fair share of the criticism that might help it understand what it has done.
How do you win back trust that has been squandered? I think you begin with a frank accounting to viewers. The silence doesn’t cut it.