By Peter Barry Chowka
To those who comment consistently and negatively about the Fox News channel whenever it is mentioned in print, may I ask, What exactly is it you are wishing for?
I began covering the cable news wars, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, and other topics for American Thinker and other publications 20 months ago. (That was after fifty years of paying close attention to – and often reporting on – issues and personalities involving the media. Yes, 5-0 years or a half century.) When I resumed writing about the media again in the spring of 2017, that was barely four months into President Trump’s first term. Already at that point, most of the mainstream media, of which Fox News is an outlying part, was ratcheting up its negative coverage of the new president. Two years later now, that coverage has become close to 100% negative and intolerable, with CNN and MSNBC in particular almost totally unwatchable due to their constant negative bias against everything Trump and their exclusion of other important news.
While its 24/7 programming schedule is not above criticism, including articles I have written, Fox News has emerged as the sole exception in all of MSM broadcast and cable news. Its signature nightly news program, Special Report, anchored M-F by Bret Baier, which recently added weekend editions at the same hour, is head and shoulders above the competition on the two other major cable news channels, the broadcast networks, and PBS.
Two additional hours of live news, at 7 and 11 P.M. E.T., hosted by veteran broadcasters Martha MacCallum and Shannon Bream, are also refreshingly fair and objective. Meanwhile, the core of Fox News’s prime-time schedule – 8-11 P.M. E.T., with each hour-long show during that time period repeated starting at 12 midnight E.T. – features the most credible, newsmaking, and consistently conservative opinion-dominated shows that Fox News has ever presented.
The prime-time schedule of the “good old days” of the Roger Ailes era of Fox News that some people say they miss, for example five years ago, consisted of Bill O’Reilly at 8 P.M., Megyn Kelly at 9, and Sean Hannity at 10. Hannity was the only reliable conservative of the three. Today, and for the past year-plus, Tucker Carlson Tonight at 8, Hannity at 9, and The Ingraham Angle at 10 is arguably the best prime time schedule that Fox News has ever presented.
Since its premiere on November 14, 2016, Tucker Carlson Tonight has quickly evolved into must-see viewing. Carlson is a reliable conservative whose credentials include a twenty-year-long history as a news program host on all three major cable news channels as well as a background as a prolific writer and editor – he co-founded the leading conservative site The Daily Caller in 2010. Videos of Carlson’s nightly opening monologues and his well informed challenges to a variety of left-wing guests frequently go viral and are as good as anything in print or online.
During the past two years, Hannity, one of President Trump’s closest friends, has assembled a regular cast of guests and contributors who have uncovered the web of corruption involving the Obama administration; the Department of Justice; the FBI; and other elements of the Deep State, which has conspired to take down the Trump administration since 2016. He has introduced and brought to prominence guests including Gregg Jarrett, Sara Carter, John Solomon, and Sidney Powell – all of them serious journalists and analysts who have advanced the story of the plots to take down President Trump and absolve Hillary Clinton et al of their crimes.
Mark Levin’s Sunday night show, Life, Liberty & Levin, is the only long-form one-on-one interview program on all of cable news television. His guests are almost always conservative thought leaders who immediately command a viewer’s attention but who otherwise seldom have an opportunity to present their ideas at this length on commercial television.
Early in the mornings, seven days a week, Fox & Friends, one of the closest things to lighter infotainment on the channel’s schedule, also stands alone in terms of quality and openness to conservative guests and ideas compared with all of the other morning programs on both cable and broadcast television. The program’s hosts are clearly right of center, and it’s reportedly one of the president’s favorite shows. Fox & Friends‘ respect for American history and traditions including the military, police officers, and people in flyover states – where a host will often broadcast from remotely – is refreshing.
On the weekends, prime time programs hosted by Jeanine Pirro, Jesse Watters, Greg Gutfeld, and Steve Hilton are also consistently conservative platforms for analyzing the news.
Finally, two recent long-form investigative series, part of the ongoing Scandalous franchise, were among the best television documentaries in recent times. They shed extensive new light on two scandals – involving the Clintons and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) – that finally got the detailed review and treatments they deserved.
Nothing is perfect, and one can find fault with some of the other programs on the FNC schedule. A mid-afternoon news show hosted by Sheppard Smith, who seems as though he’d be more at home on CNN, and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace are two examples. There is also the overabundance of irritating Fox News “contributors” like Jessica Tarlov, Marie Harf, Cathy Areu, and Juan Williams. But they and the other in-house left-wingers never appear without being challenged by an equal or greater number of conservatives.
It should be kept in mind that Fox News has never billed itself as a conservative channel, even though – wink-wink nod-nod – it was in fact designed back in 1996 as a much needed, more fair and balanced alternative to the rest of the MSM. Its motto for many years was “Fair and Balanced,” which means that liberal viewpoints need to be heard. For a more reliably, totally conservative outlet, one can turn to OAN (One American News Network), the BlazeTV, or Newsmax TV, all of which are available on many cable and satellite systems and online. There is always room for more competition.
When major news is breaking, as it did on Friday, January 18, when Buzzfeed’s inaccurate story about the president allegedly suborning perjury was published, it was Fox News that did far and away the best live coverage while the rest of the MSM was screaming “Impeachment” all day and into the night.
[Update Tues Jan 22 10:38 PM EST: All three of tonight’s (Jan 22) Fox News prime time programs are the most recent examples of important TV that should not be ignored. Tucker Carlson Tonight, Hannity, and The Ingraham Angle were as anti-MSM, pro-President Trump, and truthful as anything you will find ANYWHERE.]
A complement to Fox News on cable and satellite is Fox News dot com online – a news and opinion site that is one of the most popular news websites in the U.S., second only to CNN’s.
For those who insist that they never watch Fox News because it’s just another part of the biased and failing MSM, be careful what you wish for. If it drastically changes its current course or somehow disappears from cable TV, I can guarantee that it will be missed.
(An earlier version of this article appeared on January 10, 2019 at American Thinker.)
Peter Barry Chowka writes about politics, media, popular culture, and health care for American Thinker and other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @pchowka.
By Peter Barry Chowka
This weekend, on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and the 99th anniversary of the first Armistice Day (renamed in 1954 Veterans Day to commemorate not only the 1918 truce but to honor all veterans), neither CNN or MSNBC has any special programming scheduled. Fox News, meanwhile, has announced a new hour-long prime-time commemorative special, Modern Warriors, scheduled to air Sunday, November 11 at 8 PM ET/PT.
The Fox program is hosted by Pete Hegseth, himself a veteran and the former executive director of Vets for Freedom. A graduate of Princeton University, Hegseth currently serves as a Fox News contributor and one of the co-hosts of Fox & Friends Weekend.
The format for Modern Warriors is a roundtable discussion with Hegseth and four decorated military veterans, including Dakota Meyer, a Marine veteran of the war in Afghanistan who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2011 by President Obama for his heroic actions during a 2009 battle. (Meyer married Bristol Palin, the daughter of Sarah Palin, in 2016 but they were divorced earlier this year.) Other participants in the Fox News program are former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, retired U.S. Army Ranger Sean Parnell, and former SEAL Rob O’Neill, the latter who is credited with delivering the fatal shot that took out Osama Bin Laden during a raid on the Al Qaeda leader’s hideout in Pakistan in 2011. O’Neill is the author of No Easy Day, a memoir about his role in the killing of bin Laden. Luttrell wrote Lone Survivor, the book that inspired the 2013 movie of the same name starring Mark Wahlberg. Parnell is the author of the memoir Outlaw Platoon and the new novel Man of War. According to Fox News, the men will “reminisce about war, combat, military morale today and why they served.”
A preview clip of Modern Warriors shows the five participants in an informal private dining room-type setting similar to the set of the occasional Fox News show Wise Guys hosted by William Bennett. Wise Guys will move to Fox’s new online subscription streaming service Fox Nation that is scheduled to launch on November 27. The page at Fox News dot com highlighting Modern Warriors notes that for people who sign up for Fox Nation on Sunday, November 11 (Veterans Day), a $5 donation will be made to the non-profit 501C-3 charity Folds of Honor, which supports “serving the families of our fallen and disabled service-members.”
Peter Barry Chowka writes about politics, media, popular culture, and health care for American Thinker and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @pchowka.
By Peter Barry Chowka
EXCLUSIVE: On his Fox News program Friday night, June 1, 2018, Sean Hannity made a startling comment. For the past year, Hannity, the #1 host on cable television news, has been doggedly pursuing the truth about the attempts of the previous administration and the Deep State to block and then to negate the election of Donald Trump in 2016. A variety of “kill shots” have been aimed at Hannity’s reputation during the past year, with the intent of having him removed from the air. To date, none of these efforts has succeeded.
On Friday, before he broke major new news with the help of journalists John Solomon and Sara Carter, Hannity stopped and directly addressed his audience. From the program’s transcript:
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: And by the way, great news for me tonight. Pay close attention. Remember when Senator Chuck Schumer said that you better not mess with the Intel Community because they will get you six ways to Sunday? This is great news for me. Best-selling author, Jerome Corsi, he’s the author of this book out now in book stores, on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com. It’s called “Killing the Deep State.”
You might remember him. He was back — remember, the group against John Kerry, Vietnam Vets for Truth? He was one of them. He’s saying that yours truly, that I, Sean Hannity, am the next target of the deep state.
Wow. Isn’t it so great to know that these corrupt officials with their backs against the wall that are desperate people, who do desperate things, and people that have the most powerful tools of intelligence, are now going after me? OK. Really? So sadly, after all we have learned, now we have Jerome Corsi’s prediction. It doesn’t surprise me. Isn’t that sad? Are we the United States of America, or are we going to be the former Soviet Union or are we going to be Venezuela? I promise you this one thing, I’m never stopping ever.
Here to help break down this damming new report, is “The Hill’s” John Solomon.
John, good to see you, sir.
JOHN SOLOMON, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF DIGITAL VIDEO, THE HILL: Good to see you.
HANNITY: Quick question. Do you think that Corsi could be right?
SOLOMON: I don’t know. I hope not. I hope that people stay within the law at all times. Right? You don’t want to see —
HANNITY: Haven’t you been told by people that you – certain things were happening to you?
SOLOMON: There are times people have raised questions about reporters like myself surveilled. And in the past, the FBI did illegally intercept my mail 10 years ago. There’s a public record of the FBI apologizing to me for taking my mail after I broke all the stories about what the FBI knew before 9/11.
HANNITY: Yes. That’s pretty scary. Again, if that is the case, if people who are trying to get to the truth and exposing corruption then become targets of the deep state and those that have these tools of intelligence, you can say good-bye to the Constitution. It doesn’t exist.
HANNITY: And by the way –
HANNITY: – you might have been unmasked, right?
SOLOMON: Don’t know. I don’t have evidence of it. And I try –
HANNITY: You’ve been told it.
SOLOMON: Yes, I got a report.
By Peter Barry Chowka
The Cable News Wars of 2017 continue to rage on, with the Fox News Channel and MSNBC fighting it out for first place in prime time. When the ratings for the month of November came out at the end of the month, MSNBC appeared to be fine tuning – some might say fudging or even faking – the official numbers to try and claim a victory when they actually came in second to FNC in a critical metric.
In the latest ratings, the key prime time battleground was the 9 P.M. E.T. hour. Starting last spring, Rachel Maddow took MSNBC to first place in that time slot for the first time in 15 years. In the wake of FNC putting the weak show The Five on at 9 P.M. on May 1 (after Bill O’Reilly was fired less than two weeks earlier and the whole FNC prime time schedule had to be adjusted), that time slot was suddenly up for grabs.
Last September 25, FNC started introducing its new prime time schedule, returning The Five back to 5 P.M. and moving the channel’s #1 show, Hannity, back an hour to 9. In its first week at 9 P.M., Hannity immediately registered a strong first place showing.
One month later, Rachel Maddow was occasionally beating Hannity and FNC in the preferred demo – viewers between the ages of 25-54 who advertisers prefer because they think people 25-54 are more susceptible to purchasing the kinds of products and services that are advertised on television.
Coverage of the last month’s cable news ratings published on November 29 caught my eye. For example, Mark Joella wrote at Forbes:
Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity held onto his crown as King of Cable News, beating everyone in the November ratings period with an average audience of 3.2 million viewers, making Hannity the most-watched cable news show for the second straight month.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who led her network to record ratings in the third quarter, finished November in third place overall, with a total audience of 2.8 million viewers. Among the advertiser-coveted demographic of adults 25-54, Maddow finished in second place, with 634,000 viewers.
So, what then are we to make of another – completely different – analysis of the November cable news ratings? “Rachel Maddow Is #1 In The Demo Again As Fox News’ Hannity Gamble Shows Signs Of Slipping,” also published on November 29, but this time at Politicususa:
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow is the top-rated show with viewers age 25-54 as the same older viewers who have always watched Hannity are the only thing keeping Fox News afloat.
While Hannity and Maddow are engaged in a battle for the lead in total viewers, it is the prized age 25-54 demo where MSNBC’s Maddow has a clear lead.
According to numbers sent to PoliticusUSA by MSNBC, “’The Rachel Maddow Show’ reclaimed the #1 title in the coveted A25-54 demographic across all of cable news as well as for the 9pm time period (including all specials) [emphasis added] for the month of November, according to Nielsen.”
Indeed, that is what the NBCUniversal news release, crowing about its channel MSNBC, also dated November 29, said. A close look at the release, however, reveals the critically important caveat “including all specials.” In order to claim #1 status in the demo for the Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC had to include other “special” programs not hosted by Maddow that aired in Maddow’s 9 P.M. time slot during the month of November! The inclusion of Maddow-free programs, on nights when Sean Hannity was hosting his program at FNC, is obviously an unfair comparison. It does not accurately measure the performance of Maddow vs. Hannity during the entire month.
This fact was taken note of by the reliably fair and obective A.J. Katz, analyzing the ratings on November 29 at TVNewser:
Sean Hannity [emphasis original] had the No. 1 show in cable news in total audience, and the second-most-watched show on all of cable for November, only ESPN’s behind Monday Night Football.
Hannity was also No. 1 in the key A25-54 demo for the month if one excludes special programming (639,000 vs. 634,000 for Rachel Maddow). But if one includes special programming, Hannity is No. 2 in the demo behind Maddow.
So, there it is: an unbiased analysis of the cable news ratings. No one else, other than Katz, seems to have taken any note of NBCUniversal’s fancy footwork with the monthly Nielsen ratings report.
Should we be surprised that MSNBC, a notorious fake news channel, fudges the ratings? What else is new? CNN, another fake news outlet, tried the same thing last summer, as I reported at American Thinker on August 26:
On Monday [August 21], MSNBC and FNC described their programming from 9:01 to 9:27 P.M. E.D.T. (or 9 to 9:30 P.M. in the case of MSNBC) as “Pres Address-Afghanistan” (FNC) and “MSNBC Special Coverage” (MSNBC), instead of The Five and The Rachel Maddow Show that normally air at 9 P.M. CNN, however, told Nielsen it was airing “Anderson Cooper 360,” even though, as with the other channels, President Trump was on CNN during that entire time. This means, in effect, that the ratings surge provided to CNN during that half hour by viewers tuning in to see President Donald J. Trump – ironically CNN’s nemesis – will be attributed to the lagging Anderson Cooper program!
Back to the present, the latest weekly ratings that came out on December 5th were analyzed by Fox News in a press release:
According to Nielsen Media Research, FOX News Channel (FNC) topped all of basic cable in primetime and total day with P2+, averaging 2.5 million and 1.5 million total viewers, respectively. Additionally, last week, FNC crushed the cable news competition in primetime and total day with both total viewers and the A25-54 demo, with Hannity leading the way as the most-watched program in cable news in both categories (3,228,000 P2+; 628,000 A25-54). Additionally, Hannity’s telecast on Wednesday 11/29 ranked #5 for the week in all of basic cable, only behind football, The Walking Dead and Hallmark’s original Christmas movie. Overall, FNC programs made up 10 of the top 20 programs in all of cable, including various presentations of The Story with Martha MacCallum, Tucker Carlson Tonight, Hannity and The Ingraham Angle.
Fox News’s sister cable channel, the Fox Business Network, also had good news to report:
FOX Business Network (FBN) continued its winning streak over CNBC, crushing the network in Business Day viewers for the 26th consecutive week, according to Nielsen Media Research. During the historic financial news week of November 27th-December 1st, FBN’s Business Day coverage saw a 27 percent advantage over rival CNBC with 241,000 total viewers compared to CNBC’s 190,000.
As the Dow passed the momentous 24,000 mark on Thursday, November 30th, FBN’s Business Day coverage swept CNBC across the board. Averaging 269,000 total viewers, FBN’s Business Day delivered a 35 percent advantage over rival CNBC (200,000) and a 7 percent win in the A25-54 demo with 32,000 viewers compared to CNBC’s 30,000.
Additionally, FBN also dominated CNBC as the markets reacted to the breaking news surrounding former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. On Friday, December 1st, when the markets plunged over 300 points before steading to close down 41 points, FBN recorded 278,000 Business Day viewers to CNBC’s 210,000. Furthermore, FBN also outpaced CNBC in the demo with 41,000 viewers to 36,000.
Battles in the cable news war of attrition aren’t close to being over, so stay tuned for developments.
Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran reporter and analyst of news on national politics, media, and popular culture. Peter’s latest video interview on The Hagmann Report on Dec. 1, 2017 can be watched here. Follow Peter on Twitter @pchowka.
By Peter Barry Chowka
On Tuesday, November 21, at 10:17 A.M. E.S.T., the press release went out from Fox News in New York:
FOX News Channel (FNC) has signed nationally syndicated radio talk show personality Mark Levin as host of Life, Liberty & Levin, a new weekend primetime program debuting in February 2018, announced Suzanne Scott, president of programming.
The addition of Levin, an iconic figure in the 21st century conservative movement, to the Fox News regular lineup should please the channel’s core audience. Until recently, FNC’s commitment to a fair and balanced conservative viewpoint had appeared uncertain with the ignominious dumping of long-term popular “no-spin” host Bill O’Reilly last April, the firing of popular conservative host Eric Bolling in September, and the elevation to higher profile status of progressive hosts and contributors like Juan Williams, Sheppard Smith, Jessica Tarlov, and Marie Harf, among others.
One month ago, however, Fox News reinforced its M-F prime time schedule with the addition of Laura Ingraham’s show The Ingraham Angle at 10 P.M., capping what is now the strongest right of center prime time lineup in the channel’s 21 year history.
Levin’s new program is set to premiere in February in its time slot on Sundays at 10 P.M. E.S.T. He will continue to do his 3-hour daily nationally syndicated radio talk show which is rated #3 in the country, behind Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Levin, who turned 60 on September 27, also hosts a nightly online subscription-based television show LevinTVon CRTV, a channel that features programs hosted by conservatives Michelle Malkin, Deneen Borelli, and Stephen Crowder.
Levin is an attorney who served in the Reagan administration as chief of staff to Attorney General Edwin Meese. He got his start in radio two decades ago by appearing as a guest legal analyst on Rush Limbaugh’s and Sean Hannity’s radio shows. Hannity nicknamed Levin “The Great One,” and still calls him that when he appears occasionally on Hannity’s TV program. In 2002, Levin was given a radio program of his own, weekends on WABC AM 770 in New York. In 2003, he moved to the 6-9 P.M M-F slot on WABC, which at the time was Hannity’s flagship station, immediately following Hannity’s show. In 2006 The Mark Levin Show, which continues to air live at 6 P.M. E.S.T., went into national syndication.
Although Levin on the air can come across as acerbic and argumentative, he is a serious and articulate constitutional scholar and his legal and political expertise are reflected on his show. He has developed a large and dedicated audience. Levin is also the author of over half a dozen New York Times best selling non-fiction books. The most successful one, Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, was released in 2009 and became a #1 New York Times best seller for eleven weeks. It was rated #2 on Amazon.com’s list of the bestselling books of 2009.
The Nov. 21 Fox News announcement noted:
Life, Liberty & Levin will explore the fundamental values and principles undergirding American society, culture, politics, and current events, and their relevance to the nation’s future and everyday lives of citizens. The hour-long program will feature Levin’s lively in-depth and long-form interviews and powerful debate style with consequential guests covering history, philosophy, and economics. Levin will also capitalize on his extraordinary knowledge and compelling perspective as a constitutional lawyer to discuss the American founding, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution.
In making the announcement, [FNC president of programming Suzanne] Scott said, “Mark’s passion for the principles found in the Constitution and success in talk radio has made him a distinct figure in the media landscape. We look forward to adding this spirited program to our weekend lineup.”
Levin added, “I am honored to join FOX News, a network I have enjoyed appearing on as a guest for quite some time. As a proud citizen of the United States, I am delighted to share the significance of American values with such a wide audience and look forward to engaging with important guests about crucial topics.”
In taking note of the announcement of Levin joining FNC, most of the mainstream press saw it as Fox News reinforcing its perceived pro-Trump tilt. Politico, for example, noted:
“It’s clearly another step in Fox News Channel’s evolution to a more Trump-friendly series of programming,” said Dan Shelley, executive director of the Radio Television Digital News Association. “It’s right in their current wheelhouse.” . . .
The network has stuffed its lineup of opinion hosts with consistent cheerleaders for the president. Former mainstay Megyn Kelly was known for feuding with Trump, and even Bill O’Reilly — who was forced out by the network in April amid sexual harassment accusations — would break with him occasionally, but Fox’s current prime-time lineup of Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham rarely criticizes Trump, and goes to great lengths to defend him. Levin fits into that mold.
The 10 p.m. Sunday time slot is not a high-profile one, though it could lead to bigger things, according to Brian Wieser, a senior analyst at Pivotal Research.
“If someone is getting a Sunday 10 p.m. show, it’s safe to say that’s a trial run,” he said. If viewing levels build or the show develops well, he said, “then it can be given a time slot which is more likely to get greater viewing.”
Shelley also noted that the move locks in Levin — a highly established name in conservative media — from joining other competitors.
The MSM has a vested interest in spinning Fox News as a one-voice, pro-Trump propaganda mouthpiece. The reality is that progressive leftists are represented throughout the day on the channel. And even in prime time, when conservative hosts rule the 8-11 P.M. time period, Democrat and other left of center guests are regularly heard, in fact every night without fail on Tucker Carlson’s show at 8 P.M. and also often on Hannity at 9 and The Ingraham Angle at 10. Levin himself was not initially pro-Trump and in fact he opposed Donald Trump’s candidacy until September 2016. Lately, Levin has been more sympathetic to the Trump administration, especially in the face of the Deep State’s overwhelming resistance to the Trump agenda, but not without criticizing it from time to time.
Peter Chowka is a veteran reporter and analyst of news on national politics, media, and popular culture. Follow Peter on Twitter @pchowka Peter’s latest interview on The Hagmann Report from Nov. 15, 2017 can be watched here.
By Peter Barry Chowka
In recent months, Sean Hannity, host of the #1 program on cable news and the #2 nationally syndicated political talk radio show, has been at the tip of the spear. Day in and day out, his programs nightly on Fox News and during the day on radio have featured some of the best original reporting and commentary – and debate – on the divisive and polarizing issues that have arisen since the election of Donald J. Trump as president one year ago. For his efforts in trying to give President Trump a fair hearing, Hannity has been targeted for destruction by Media Matters and other left wing individuals and groups.
With 20 hours a week on the air (radio and TV), Hannity rarely gives interviews on other programs. An exception was his first appearance at the start of Fox News host Jesse Watters’ weekly show Watters’ World on FNC last Saturday evening November 11.
Hannity’s interview with Watters was pre-recorded in Hannity’s studio at Fox News headquarters in New York City. It proved to be an interesting discussion of fake news and where, in Hannity’s view, we go from here. A partial transcript below starts with Hannity’s comment about the surprising victory of Donald Trump on November 8, 2016:
HANNITY: Nobody listened. . . But the people who are suffering listened.
Watters then played a montage of video clips from CNN, MSNBC, and the broadcast networks of mainstream media anchors and hosts weeping and wailing on the night of 11/8/16 when they realized that the unthinkable – the victory of Donald J. Trump – was actually happening.
HANNITY: This meltdown has gone on for a year. . . This is now bordering on a psychotic, collective breakdown by the left. They can’t handle how wrong they were. . .
There is a swamp. There are forces that are working every day that want this president out – no matter how they do it. You’ve got the Deep State, you’ve got the liberal media, you’ve got the Democrats, then you’ve got weak, timid, spineless Republicans and Never Trumpers. They want him out! They’ll do anything they can do to get this man out of office.
JESSE WATTERS: And they’re doing it day after day and I believe it’s because the Democrats are completely shut out of power so the media now is the tip of the spear. Trump has declared war on the media. Let’s look at the history going back a year of Trump vs. the press. Roll it!
At this point, another selection of video clips highlighting the media’s unfair and biased reporting on the administration of President Trump was shown.
WATTERS: Who do you think is winning? Right now the ratings and circulation are up with the media but credibility is way down.
HANNITY: I don’t think they’ll ever recover credibility-wise. The single greatest quality of Donald Trump is that he’s not going to take your lies, he’s not going to take your misinformation, he calls you out for what you are. This media bias thing – we conservatives have talked about for years – now you see it, day after day, night after night, newspaper article after newspaper article. I don’t see how they recover any credibility. . . I think people are hip to media bias. I said in 2007 that journalism is dead. It’s buried, it’s finished.
It’s sad because people deserve the truth. I definitely have a conservative view, because I feel that conservatism works. But you just have to look at the truth sometimes. They’re [the MSM] so ideological – everything is seen within the prism of this hatred that they have toward the president. It’s not good for the country.
Video of Sean Hannity’s segment on the November 11 Watters’ World can be streamed from here.
By Peter Barry Chowka
CNN, the venerable cable news channel now in its 38th year, is a mess. While it masquerades as an objective news source, CNN’s coverage of President Trump and the Republicans is anything but fair and balanced. On Wednesday November 8, news reports suggested that CNN could hamper the mega billion dollar sale of its parent company Time Warner to AT&T unless Time Warner first divests itself of CNN and separates it from the proposed deal. And now, an attorney is promising to refile federal charges alleging CNN has systematically discriminated against more than 200 of its past and present employees who are African-American.
The legal case against CNN alleging racial discrimination was originally filed last December on behalf of two plaintiffs as part of a much larger class action involving as many as 175 CNN personnel. One of the primary plaintiffs, Celeslie Henley, worked at CNN for seven years but was fired, she alleged in the 2016 suit, after emailing CNN’s human resources department to complain about alleged discriminatory treatment by her employer.
The case that was filed last year, with the plaintiffs represented by Atlanta attorney Daniel R. Meachum, was thrown out of court this past July by Judge William Duffey, Jr. At the time, the judge cited technical problems with the suit. Attorney Meachum is now promising to correct the errors that he acknowledges and to refile the lawsuit before the end of this year. He said this week that he has another 30 plaintiffs to add to the suit for a total of 205.
At the very least, this development is an embarrassment to the news channel at a time when other problems are rearing their head. Not least is the situation with CNN’s ratings. Of the three American cable-satellite-Internet news outlets, CNN is usually third in the ratings behind Fox News and MSNBC.
The ratings from a typical day this past week – Wednesday November 8 – illustrate CNN’s dilemma. Screen shots of the two charts below, courtesy of TVNewser, show (top) the Nielsen cable TV news channel ratings in the so-called demo – the preferred demographic of viewers between the ages of 25-54 – and (bottom) total viewers. On November 8, CNN was #3 according to both metrics.
The executive responsible for the channel’s scheduling, talent, and anti-Trump editorial spin that defines all of its reporting is CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker. Starting at NBC in 1986 as a 20-year old researcher, Zucker went on to have an impressive 24-year long career with the network, eventually rising to president and CEO of the company, NBC Universal. Along the way Zucker was credited with invigorating NBC’s Today Show and later on the network’s prime time schedule. But Zucker’s career at NBC floundered after his disastrous flubbing of the host transition of NBC’s crown jewel late night franchise when Jay Leno was ousted in favor of Conan O’Brien only to return a year later when O’Brien faltered. It was “one of the biggest debacles in television history,” according to the Los Angeles Times. Zucker’s career at NBC never recovered and he was asked to leave the company in 2010.
In 2012, less than two years after his ignominious departure from NBC, Zucker landed the top job at CNN. Curiously, despite his professional relationship with Donald Trump during the latter’s success over the course of a decade at NBC with his highly rated reality show The Apprentice, which Zucker reportedly green-lighted, Zucker turned CNN editorially against Trump when the billionaire real estate developer declared for president in 2015.
And now, two years later, CNN’s ratings are stuck in third place, CNN itself may be the fly in the ointment that prevents the completion of the $84 billion Time Warner/AT&T deal, and another big anti-discrimination lawsuit looms. How long can Zucker last? Will CNN keep to its far left of center bias or moderate its coverage? Stay tuned for developments.
Postscript: On November 9, Matt Drudge, who rarely posts anything on his Twitter account, tweeted:
Jeff Zucker out either way at CNN, primetime ratings abysmal. Feud with President Trump too personal and ridiculous…
By Peter Barry Chowka
Ten years in, Fox Business now has reasons to celebrate after its latest victory over CNBC.
It seemed like an auspicious beginning in October 2007 when the 21st Century Fox media empire launched a new channel devoted to business news. Meanwhile, the Fox News Channel (FNC) was eleven years old at that point and had achieved #1 ratings status among the three U.S. cable news outlets, trouncing cable news pioneer CNN and MSNBC. The Fox Business Network (FBN) was intended to challenge CNBC, the leading cable-satellite-Internet business news channel, which had started way back in 1989 and seemed ripe for a challenge..
The first years of FBN turned out to be slow going, however. Two and one-half months after Fox Business launched, the New York Times (while not friendly to anything labeled “Fox”) reported “Few viewers for infancy of Fox Business.” In early 2009, the Washington Post noted “[Fox] Financial News Outlet Continues to Lag Far Behind CNBC.” For an embarrassing period of time, FBN’s viewers were “so low as to fall below [TV ratings reporting firm] Nielsen’s minimum standards for reporting,” according to Gary Holmes, a Nielsen spokesman.
Ten years later now, everything is different and the Fox Business Network has ample reasons to celebrate. An FBN news release on November 7, 2017 reported the latest:
FOX Business Network continued its winning streak over CNBC, topping the network in both Business Day and Total Day viewers during the heavily dominated business news week of October 30th – November 3rd, according to Nielsen Media Research.
CNBC still leads FBN during much of the day in the age 25-54 demographic metric but while the news for FBN has been getting better, for the 29 year-old CNBC it has been bad and it’s getting worse. As FBN’s audience share has been increasing, CNBC, according to ValueWalk (August 1, 2017) “Has Lowest Rated Business Day in 22 Years.”
The turn around for FBN was first noted by the mainstream media over a year ago when FBN began to top CNBC in the ratings. Last February 28, AP television writer David Bauder reported:
Fox Business Network topped CNBC in viewership during the business day for the fifth consecutive month[emphasis added], an illustration of dramatic growth at an upstart network that began operation a decade ago.
FBN averaged 218,000 viewers during the hours between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. in February, an increase of 59 percent over February 2016. CNBC, meanwhile, dropped from 212,000 to 182,000 in the same measurement, Nielsen Media Research said.
More recently on October 13, 2017, a lengthy article in USA Today reported that FBN:
. . . which celebrates its 10th anniversary next week, touts robust Nielsen data showing it has won the business daytime slot — from the time the stock market opens at 9:30 until 5 p.m. ET (an hour after its close) — beating CNBC over the past four quarters. . .
There’s no denying Fox Business Network is on the rise, says Chris Roush, professor of business journalism at the University of North Carolina.
A third cable-satellite financial channel, Bloomberg Television, which started in 1994, remains a poor third in the ratings and is inconsequential in influence. A November 19, 2013 BuzzFeed article about the channel noted that “Bloomberg’s audience is too small to be rated by Nielsen.” Bloomberg Television is mainly known for producing Charlie Rose’sinterview program which also airs nightly on PBS.
A 2,300 word article in Business Insider on October 17, 2017 recounts in major detail the history of FBN and its eventual success against CNBC. The article’s title accurately summarizes its content: “How Fox Business is beating CNBC by embracing politics.” But other analysts point out that CNBC has also modified its original focus on financial news in order to make room for the white hot polarized political coverage of the present time that represents a ratings magnet. As an August 5, 2017 unbylined article in ValueWalk notes, “CNBC is allegedly ‘business’ news. But, is it really? I’d argue it has tragically morphed into a 50/50 mix of ‘business and politics.’”
So, both competing channels have adopted a mix of business and politics. Produced in the same house as the its sister outlet the Fox News Channel – the dominant cable news source for the past 15 years – the Fox Business Network appears to have the advantage in this area.
The production values of FBN are similar to FNC’s, giving each one a similar compelling appearance and an advantage to FBN. This is television, after all, and the “look” is important to the art and science of capturing and keeping viewers. Fox News’s visual presentation has been state of the art and influential, copied by both CNN and MSNBC, since shortly after it went live. A lot of the innovative visual design was attributed to Rich O’Brien, FNC Sr. V.P. and Creative Director for 21 years, the “creative genius” who died in a car accident in July 2017.
Content is clearly also important. While CNBC (unlike its sister channel MSNBC or NBC News in general) lacks a consistent ideological or editorial spin, FBN is more uniformly business-, capitalist-, and conservative-friendly, and is much more balanced in its political reporting. Its sister channel FNC’s motto has long been “fair and balanced,” and the two channels share that ethic as well as on-air talent, including veteran reporters and hosts Neil Cavuto, Stewart Varney, Maria Bartiromo, and a number of others.
The #1 program on FBN is hosted by Lou Dobbs. According to FBN’s November 7th news release, “For the 63rdconsecutive week, Lou Dobbs Tonight (7-8p/ET) was the number one rated program in business television with 381,000 total viewers, as well as the week’s number one rated business program in the 25-54 demo with 42,000 total viewers.” Dobbs is a consummate professional broadcaster who was a mainstay at CNN from 1980 when the channel started until 2006, when he wore out his welcome due to his increasingly independent, populist reporting that was incompatible with CNN’s evolving sharp left turn. Dobbs also appears from time to time on Fox News as a guest analyst.
Another FBN program host who is popular with viewers, and who occasionally crosses over to appear on FNC, is Charles Payne, whose compelling personal narrative is part of his success as a TV host and commentator.
Because of its more detailed focus on business news and its appeal to a sophisticated, financially literate audience, the Fox Business Network is sometimes referred to as “the thinking man’s Fox News.” Over the course of months of writing about the cable news wars and the Fox News Channel at American Thinker, a number of readers who posted comments have said they now prefer FBN over FNC, including because of the increasing presence on the latter of left of center, talking point-reading hosts and analysts like Juan Williams, Marie Harf, Richard Fowler, and Jessica Tarlov. The perception matched by the reality is that FBN is less encumbered with these kinds of predictable, progressive Democrat talking heads.
FBN is also the home of some entertaining non-political and non-business shows like Strange Inheritance® with Jamie Colby and The Property Man with Bob Massi. In the past, FBN has presented both repeat and new episodes of War Stories with Oliver North, an extremely worthwhile and entertaining documentary-style program about significant events in the military history of the United States.
By Douglas J. Hagmann
The resignation of Dr. Sebastian Gorka is neither a political “multi-dimensional chess” move nor tidy. The former gives too much credit where none is due, while the latter does not appropriately reflect the carnage of an internal political war for a controlling interest of the Executive branch.
It is the result of a street fight to control the direction of the Oval Office between those who stand for the “MAGA Doctrine” of American values and American exceptionalism and the those who detest it, instead wanting to implement a socially engineered, fake Socialist utopia while apologizing for the system and values that made our nation great.
It is a consequence of the war being waged against the true Conservatives by the Globalists and “policy people” frantic to chaotically push our nation further into a Socialist collective – a fake utopia embraced by the most delusional Progressive supporters of both Clinton and Sanders – who still cannot seem to accept that the people have rejexcted them and their flawed policies.
We must not listen to the “Fake News Industrial Complex,” a description first used publicly by Dr. Gorka and instead, pay attention to the carefully chosen words of Dr. Gorka himself:
“[G]iven recent events, it is clear to me that forces that do not support the MAGA promise are – for now – ascendant within the White House,” Gorka wrote in his resignation letter. “As a result, the best and most effective way I can support you, Mr. President, is from outside the People’s House.”
This is precisely what the Washington elitists and members of the “Fake News Industrial Complex” and “Destroy Trump Media” fear the most.
Consider the difference between President Donald Trump’s speeches regarding the U.S. policy on Afghanistan that he delivered on Monday, August 21, 2017 and the rousing speech he gave the next day to throngs of supporters in Phoenix, Arizona.
Conspicuously absent from the Afghanistan speech was the phrase “radical Islam,” “Islamic terrorism” or any other such variations in the context of the enemies we are fighting. The purposeful omission appeared to calm, albeit briefly, the “Fake News Industrial Complex” and the Deep State neocons like a dose of valium to a frenzied mental patient.
Perhaps this scripted text about policy solidified Dr. Gorka’s decision to step aside, which was anticipated following the mutually agreed departure of Steve Bannon from the roster of internal West Wing influence.
The next day, President Trump used Phoenix to reconnect with and re-energize his base. Outside of the Washington swamp, President Trump invoked the spirit of Ronald Reagan in a stirring speech that advanced the tenets of his MAGA platform: rebuild the economy, defend our country, defeat ISIS and build the wall.
Once again, the “Fake News Industrial Complex” became seriously apoplectic, traumatized by the very thought of the unapologetic presentation of American exceptionalism, the embodiment of Judeo-Christian values and a true Jacksonian policy agenda over a failed Eurocentric Globalist nightmare.
Choking on their own legacy of losses, they were unable to admit the gains already made in a mere 200 days of Donald Trump as President. The revitalization of NATO, the actual victories against ISIS, the unwavering alliance with Israel, and slowing illegal immigration by 73% since Donald Trump became President are like daylight to the vampires of the “Destroy Trump Media.”
Dr. Sebastian Gorka, alone or concurrent with Steve Bannon and other such influencers of policy and direction will undoubtedly serve a great purpose for America and all true Conservatives, even outside of the West Wing. Perhaps even more effectively.
By Peter Barry Chowka
On Friday evening August 4 at 8:23 PM, an article was published at HuffPost: “Fox News Host Sent Unsolicited Lewd Text Messages To Colleagues, Sources Say.” The article had obviously been in preparation for some time, since it included a statement from the targeted host’s attorney in defense of his client. The host in question is Eric Bolling, 54, a friend of President Donald Trump and a passionate defender of the president in his role as a prominent anchor and co-host on the Fox News channel (FNC).
These days, in the toxic climate of “Resistance” that has captured about half of the population and 90% or more of academia, the news media, popular culture, and the bureaucracy, anyone who supports Trump – like Eric Bolling, for example – risks being taken down.
Friday night, after seeing the HuffPost article, which was also mass distributed by Yahoo News, FNC executives, according to a Fox News spokesperson, decided that Bolling’s weekly half-hour Saturday morning FNC show Cashin’ In, that had already been pre-recorded as usual on Friday, would not be shown. A live news broadcast was substituted instead. On Saturday, an FNC spokesperson issued a terse statement: “Eric Bolling has been suspended pending the results of an investigation, which is currently underway.” Later Saturday afternoon, an FNC spokesperson emailed me with this additional information.
Paul, Weiss is conducting the investigation.
Rotating substitute hosts will be in place on The Specialists (weekdays/5pm) and Cashin’ In (Saturdays at 11:30am).
After the suspension was announced, Bolling’s attorney Michael J. Bowe defended his client in an email, according to the AP:
“The anonymous, uncorroborated claims are untrue and terribly unfair. We intend to fully cooperate with the investigation so that it can be concluded and Eric can return to work as quickly as possible.”
The Fox News Specialists, which Bolling co-hosts, is the hour-long M-F program that was added to the FNC schedule on May 1 at 5 PM ET when The Five, a similar talk program that previously held the time slot, was moved to 9 PM. Prior to working in television, Bolling was an independent trader based out of the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) and he also served on the NYMEX’s Board of Directors for five years. A Fox Business Network (FBN) and Fox News channel personality since 2007, Bolling has proven himself to be a reliable and principled conservative. Never taking himself too seriously, Bolling’s trademark has been his disinclination to wear a necktie except when he was required to do so, for example when he occasionally filled in as a substitute host for Bill O’Reilly in prime time.
Bolling had made a leap to prominence as one of The Five’s original co-hosts when that program premiered on July 11, 2011 and quickly became one of the most popular programs on the channel. He stayed with The Five until late April 2017, when Suzanne Scott, at the time the executive vice president of programming at Fox News, announced that Bolling had been selected to co-host the new program The Fox News Specialists along with Eboni K. Williams and Kat Timpf.
What is Paul, Weiss?
Paul, Weiss (formally Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP) is a large, prominent, New York based international law firm that was founded in 1875. It employs over 950 attorneys at offices around the U.S. and in major foreign capitals. The firm has been enlisted several times during the past year – possibly in an ongoing contractural basis – to “investigate” a number of allegations of sexual harassment that were leveled at prominent Fox News executives and on-air talent. After investigations of Fox News co-founder and CEO Roger Ailes, the channel’s number one host Bill O’Reilly, and several other Fox executives, they all left the company, either fired outright or after being forced to resign. All of the departed individuals, it should be noted for the record, have consistently professed their innocence. (Ailes passed away on May 18, 2017 and maintained his innocence until the end of his life.) None of the allegations against any of the individuals accused in the media has made it to court where they could have, or might have had as in the case of Ailes, an opportunity to defend themselves.
Only two months ago, on June 5, Fox News announced that Bolling had been signed to a “multiyear” contract. In a news release, Suzanne Scott, who had been elevated to president of programming for FNC, said:
“Eric has cultivated a strong fan base and has become a staple to the FOX News brand. His insight is valued and we are pleased to have him at the network for many more years to come “
On Saturday evening, August 5, the official Fox News Web page for The Specialists was not loading. One presumes that it might have been taken offline while it is being updated to reflect the suspension of Eric Bolling. The program’s official Twitter page, meanwhile, was still functioning, and while it continued to display numerous photos and video clips that included Bolling, it had removed his name from the program’s description:
Hosted by @kattimpf & @ebonikwilliams. Tune in weekdays at 5pm ET on @FoxNews Channel!
The removal of Eric Bolling from his on-air duties at Fox News comes within the context of major, highly visible changes at the channel during the past year. Just over one year ago, Roger Ailes, the acknowledged mastermind of Fox News’ success, left the company. The decision was not his. That landmark event represented the beginning of a sea change in the direction and the look of the venerable news channel. An indirect result was the departure for NBC News of the FNC’s prime time marquee host and the co-anchor of special events coverage Megyn Kelly in early January 2017. On April 19, 2017, after an advertiser boycott of his show that was continuing to gain momentum, Bill O’Reilly left Fox and his #1 program that aired nightly at 8 PM. On May 1, Bill Shine, an Ailes protégé who had played a major programming role at FNC since Ailes’s departure, also left.
These and several other departures upended FNC’s prime time schedule that had dominated the cable news ratings for the previous fifteen years. While Fox News is still competitive against MSNBC and CNN, each night in prime time is now a battleground for viewers, a war of attrition, in both the preferred “demo” (the demographic slice of viewers ages 25-54 that most advertisers covet) and the total number of people watching television.
Even before the schedule changes this past spring, there were reports that Eric Bolling, clearly a rising talent at the channel, was reportedly under consideration for an expanded role, possibly as the host of his own show or to replace Bill O’Reilly after the latter’s firing. Until last Friday, Bolling was the stalwart conservative co-host of The Specialists and a consistent defender of the Trump Administration and its agenda while his co-hosts on the program, 28-year old attorney Eboni K. Williams, who usually comes across as left of center, and 28-year-old Libertarian former comedian Kat Timpf, who was and still largely is a never-Trumper, were usually more skeptical of the POTUS.
If past is prologue, the announcement that attorneys from Paul, Weiss will be doing the investigating does not bode well for the outcome of the Bolling affair. All of their previous investigations have been associated with the targets ultimately leaving the channel. And for what it’s worth, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, Paul, Weiss was among the top twenty law firms in the country contributing to federal candidates during the 2012 election cycle – a total of $1.23 million donated by the firm’s employees with 81% of that going to the Democrats.
Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who writes about national politics, media, popular culture, and health care. He is a frequent contributor to American Thinker and The Hagmann Report. His new website is AltMedNews.net. Peter’s July 28, 2017 90-minute interview on The Hagmann Report can be watched here.