While he’s not arguing with the success of Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch in building Fox News Channel into a $1.5 billion-a-year profit machine, columnist Jack Shafer, writing on Politico, recaps the channel’s success story and makes the argument that FNC may have hit its ceiling as it caters to a mostly right-leaning audience.
“As it turns out … the number of conservative meat eaters is quite small — an average of 1.35 million viewers tune in to Fox News Channel, and its best-rated show, ‘The O’Reilly Factor,’ attracts only 3.4 million, and most come from the oldest demographic,” Shafer writes, noting parenthetically that these numbers are inflated for an election year. He contrasts the numbers with the no longer attainable 40 million viewers who once tuned in for traditional network news.
Shafer suggests that the Murdoch brothers, James and Lachlan, who are increasingly stepping up to run Fox News, “tilt the network harder in the direction of conscientious journalists like Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace, and away from its honey badgers — notably Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and the ‘Fox & Friends’ crew. Both Kelly and Wallace are deserving of larger audiences than they get, and maybe one of the reasons their numbers aren’t larger is because new viewers are put off by the channel’s reputation for honey-badger journalism.”
Click on the link to Politico near the top of this story to read Shafer’s full analysis.