The presidential election last November heralded real change for America. And it wasn't just by evicting Donald Trump from the White House. Almost immediately the Fox News audience cratered due to the network having bent to reality by recognizing that Joe Biden had decisively beaten Trump.
In addition to Fox's viewers being disappointed that their formerly favorite dispenser of ultra-conservative propaganda had betrayed them by not embracing Trump's “Big Lie” that the election was “stolen,” Fox also had to deal with some competition from a couple of upstarts to their already extreme right (who are also having ratings troubles). Consequently, for the first time in twenty years, Fox News fell to third place behind MSNBC and CNN. And you know that's gotta hurt. According to Forbes…
“Fox News Channel, owned by Rupert Murdoch's Fox Corp, has dominated the rating books since the start of the 21st-century, but over the first two weeks of 2021, it has averaged fewer viewers throughout the day than both CNN and MSNBC.”
The pain from having been crippled in the ratings clearly got to Sean Hannity. On Wednesday he posted an item on his website that celebrated that CNN was in a “Free Fall” having “Los[t] 47 PERCENT of Primetime Audience in Key Demographic Since Trump Left Office.” The article excitedly declared that…
“Without wall-to-wall coverage of all-things Donald Trump, CNN’s primetime line-up has lost nearly half of its entire audience in the 25-54 age demographic since the former President left the White House on January 20th.”
There are a couple of notable slants in Hannity's twisted take. First of all, notice that he is only measuring the ratings decline from Biden's inauguration day on January 20, rather than from election day on November 3rd. That's because by January there had already been a massive spike for both CNN and MSNBC, so the subsequent drop looks considerably steeper.
Even more bizarre is Hannity's description of CNN as having “wall-to-wall coverage of all-things Donald Trump,” when it is Fox News that wears that description so much better. Fox continued to cover every utterance of Trump during that period, which was not the case with CNN and MSNBC. They were, however, covering Biden's public events that Fox virtually ignored. Hannity even commented on his program that he couldn't find Biden. Obviously, he must have been looking on Fox News.
Fox News has regained some of its losses in the past couple of weeks, but it is still struggling to stay ahead of the competition. What's more, while all three of the cable news networks saw rollercoaster ups and downs since election day, both MSNBC and CNN are averaging more viewers than they were a year ago. Rachel Maddow even rose to become the number one program in all of cable, not just cable news. Only Fox News is lower year over year. And Fox's competitors succeeded by covering the real president and his administration. Bloomberg reports that…
“All three of the big cable news networks have seen a decline in viewers since their highs around Election Day. MSNBC, which has been broadcasting news conferences daily by Biden Press Secretary Jennifer Psaki, led in total viewers throughout the day last month. It and CNN were up year-over-year in February, while Fox saw a decline.”
However, Hannity's article provided a hysterical analysis of the ratings landscape with a three year old quote from Ted Koppel:
“Longtime broadcaster Ted Koppel famously mocked CNN’s Brian Stelter to his face back in 2018, telling the network’s media pundit that 'CNN’s ratings would be in the toilet without Donald Trump.'”
Let's set aside that the fact that what Koppel said was hardly mockery. It was just an opinion that Brian Stelter likely agreed was plausible. What makes this so laughable is that Hannity must have forgotten this exchange he had with Koppel that literally mocked him to his face on his own show in March of 2017:
Hannity: Do you think I'm bad for America?
Koppel: Yes. … You have attracted people who are determined that ideology is more important than facts.
So Koppel not only told Hannity to his face that he was bad for America, but he insulted Hannity's viewers as being ignorant cult followers who don't care about facts. And all of this inspired Hannity to post a celebratory article full of wholly unwarranted pride. It's hard to think of something more pathetic.
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