First, a disclosure. I don’t watch Fox News, or any other TV news for that matter. I mention this because I’ve recently received some harsh and hurtful criticisms of this blog and my views, which were belittled as being “right wing” and likened to conspiracy theories promoted by Fox News. In the minds of many people who fashion themselves as liberals, there is no bigger putdown than dismissing someone as “right wing” and likening their beliefs to Fox News. It’s more polite than calling someone a racist or white supremacist, but often that’s what is meant by the criticism.

Interestingly, people who use Fox News as a catch all argument to shut down opinions they find objectionable don’t actually watch Fox News. Their view of the network is based on round the clock “fake news” criticisms by corporate media journalists, Hollywood celebrities, and satires of Fox News personalities on Saturday Night Live. I’ve never watched Fox’s “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” but if Cecily Strong’s portrayal is remotely an indication of the show’s anchor, what a horrific person.

Given the incessant ridicule of Fox News, one might expect the network would be the least watched cable news channel, barely holding on to its audience of mostly old and racist white men who supposedly comprise the network’s core audience. The latest Nielson ratings tell a very different story, one that Fox News’ critics should find quite alarming.

As reported by the industry publication Deadline, Fox News in prime time averaged 2.5 million viewers in the first three months of 2022, a gain of three percent. The modest increase is significant when compared to MSNBC, which suffered a 46 percent audience decline to 1.21 million viewers, and CNN, whose viewership declined 56 percent to 857,000. Fox News in prime time averaged more viewers than MSNBC and CNN combined.

What’s surprising is Fox’s surging popularity among younger viewers aged 25 to 54. Among this advertising coveted demographic, Fox’s viewership was up nine percent, while CNN and MSNBC respectively saw 56 percent and 59 percent declines. Legacy print publications also are hemorrhaging their younger audiences. According to documents leaked to the Wall Street Journal, only 14 percent of the Washington Post’s readers are under 55. 

Admittedly, even with 2.5 million average viewers, Fox’s purported influence is somewhat exaggerated. As the National Review’s Kevin Williamson noted, even Tucker Carlson, who averaged in 3.82 million viewers in the first quarter, reaches less than one percent of America’s 330 million people. Williamson and I are of like minds in that we wonder if viewers are even familiar with the Fox News shows SNL so mercilessly mocks. At least when SNL’s Gilda Radner satirized Barbara Walters, most Americans knew who the news anchor was because there were only three networks, and they drew huge audiences.

I share Williamson’s perception that people who spend a lot of time in front of Fox News or MSNBC “are not in the main what you’d call happy and well-adjusted people” but as he notes the cable networks “do have a relatively big footprint in our politics.” Given that surveys conclusively show that President Biden’s approval rating is less than 40 percent and continuously sliding, it would seem the corporate media and celebrities, Biden’s fiercest supporters, have lost sway with the American public. Indications are that the public’s dwindling trust and confidence in Biden and corporate media is poised to erode to even more dangerously low levels.

The New York Times on March 16 reported, albeit in the 24th paragraph, that damning Hunter Biden emails obtained by the New York Post just before the 2020 election were in fact authentic. The Washington Post and CNN have since followed suit and admitted that, yes, the emails on Hunter Biden’s “laptop from hell” were authentic.

That it took some 17 months before these publications got around to confirming the authenticity of Biden’s emails is disconcerting on several levels. The emails discussed some very questionable international business deals involving Hunter and his brother Jim that suggested Joe Biden, referred to as “the big guy,” was also to receive 10 percent of the profits.

When the New York Post first broke its story before the 2020 election, mainstream and social media were quick to shut it down as “Russian propaganda.” Fueling that narrative was this letter signed by 50 former spooks and intelligence officials saying the Post’s story had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” Here’s a compilation of some of the more than dozen corporate journalists who were adamant the Post was spreading Russian propaganda.  

Glenn Greenwald, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, was among those calling out the corporate media’s dishonesty.

The Times, the Washington Post, and CNN didn’t suddenly come clean about the Hunter Biden emails they previously disparaged because their consciences plagued them. Rather, it’s clear their Justice Department media handlers have given them a head’s up that a criminal investigation of Hunter Biden for tax evasion and other alleged serious crimes is gaining steam and before a grand jury. That President Biden possibly financially benefitted from Hunter Biden’s business dealings is serious stuff. It’s a story the corporate media can no longer ignore.  

To the New York Times’ credit, the publication in November reported that Hunter Biden had a  minority interest in a private equity firm that helped a Chinese conglomerate acquire one of the world’s largest cobalt deposits. The PE firm, Bohai Harvest RST (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Company (BHR), was controlled by the Bank of China and other Chinese investors.

The cobalt deal involving BHR allowed China to corner the market on the metal, giving the Communist country a major strategic advantage. There’s nothing in Hunter Biden’s background to warrant his involvement. He’s a former cokehead who was dismissed from the Navy for substance abuse and he had no expertise in metals and mining.

The Times reported that a dozen executives from companies involved in the cobalt deal said they were not given a reason for BHR’s participation. Most of the executives also said they were unaware during the deal of Hunter Biden’s connection to the firm.

When I was graduate journalism student, I was a teaching assistant to Lawrence Martin, whose birth name was Ladislav Bittman. Martin was a former senior intelligence officer in the Czechoslovak Intelligence Service who specialized in planting what was known in his day as “disinformation.” Martin defected to the U.S. and in exchange for an extensive debriefing on his activities, he was given a new identity. Eventually, he went public with his past.

Among the lessons I learned from Bittman was how intelligence services subject world leaders to blackmail. They engage family members or other people close to them and often reward them with lucrative business or other sweatheart arrangements that would be quite embarrassing if details were made public. China is reputedly a master of political espionage and blackmail. Although the New York Times raised red flags about Hunter Biden’s dealings with that country’s government-controlled business entities, so far there has been little media follow up.

When I mention Hunter Biden’s dubious foreign business connections to my liberal friends, they invariably shift the discussion to Donald Trump and cite his alleged collusion with Putin and Russia.

That’s another conspiracy theory that’s been conclusively discredited. Michael Sussman, a lawyer representing Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election campaign, was indicted in September for taking trumped up allegations about Trump’s supposed Russian collusion to the FBI and failing to disclose that he represented Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Sussman denies he misled the FBI.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee last week agreed to pay a $113,000 fine for falsely reporting that spending on research that led to the manufacture of the so-called “Pee Pee Dossier” was for legal services. One of the contributors to the dossier, which included allegations that the Russians had footage of prostitutes urinating on Donald Trump, was arrested in November for lying to the FBI about his sources for the damning and false allegations.

What readers of the New York Times and other liberal publications are learning about Hunter Biden’s dubious overseas business dealings is old news to Fox News and readers of conservative media. Those who despise Fox News and its politics would be wise to demand why readers and viewers of liberal publications and broadcast outlets were left in the dark for more than a year.

Maybe that’s why Fox News is gaining viewers, and rivals MSNBC and CNN lost about half their audiences. The public is a lot smarter and perceptive than the corporate media understands.

Display art photo credit: ©zhukovsky/123RF.COM

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.