This is Roger Ailes. He became the CEO of Fox Entertainment (known also as FoxNews) in 1996. He remained CEO for 20 years, until he was forced to resign due to allegations of sexual harassment. When he came to Fox, he was credited with saying the following,
“We are not going to report the news, we are going to make the news”
For the most part, Fox was doing exactly that. Fox was the cable news version of Rush Limbaugh of Hate Radio. Republicans would listen to what Rush and Fox were saying and they reacted accordingly. Fox had a loyal audience that was loyal to Fox. Fox had a number of superstars on their network such as Megyn Kelly and Bill O’Reilly, but they were never bigger than the network. Being a fan of Kelly and O’Reilly was just part of being a loyal fan of Fox.
This started to change in 2015, when Donald Trump went down the escalator at Trump Tower. Where before Fox was the dog that wagged the Republican tail, soon it became Trump wagging the Fox tail. Trump was the news and Fox reported on Trump. Trump would say something, and Fox would react to it and pay homage to him. The Fox audience shifted their loyalties from Fox to Trump.
The truth hit Fox hard on election night 2020 and the first few days after the election. fox was the first network to report that Biden won Arizona. Fox’s audience were not impressed. Fox for the first few days tried to be accurate in their reporting on the election as Biden started winning key states such as Georgia and Pennsylvania due to the late counting of mail in votes. The Fox audience left in droves going to networks such as Newsmax which was already on the ‘election was stolen’ bandwagon. In order to get Trump’s audience back they had to jump on the ‘election was stolen – rigged voting systems’ band wagon. They did get their audience back, but it cost them a payment of $787.5 million, to do so.
Viewers of Fox were no longer loyal to Fox, but to Trump. In the meantime, the Fox audience began to expand their loyalties, not to Fox, but to a specific entertainer, on Fox, that being Tucker Carlson. Just as extremists, in the Republican Party, such as MTG and Matt Gaetz, appeal most to the Trump base Fox entertainers such as Carlson and Lou Dobbs (since fired) did the same.
The Dominion lawsuit discovery process brought out texts that showed Carlson at his worst. Some of the texts showed Carlson insulting Fox executives. Fired former Tucker Carlson producer, Abby Grossberg, had tapes, of Carlson, showing him to be a misogynist. Fox had no choice but to fire Carlson.
Fox is now facing a double whammy. Their viewers who were once loyal to Fox, are now loyal to Trump and Tucker. Viewers are leaving Fox in droves. Fox is now in the same predicament as they were immediately after the 2020 election. One thing though, Fox is making news. They are the news. Their decline and the fact that they have no apparent solution is hitting the airwaves big time. What goes around comes around.