The concept of Fox News is so brilliantly simple — hey, let's launch a news network that doesn’t hate Middle America — that the only way to kill a Fox News is to convince it to kill itself, which is exactly what the silver-spooned Murdoch sons have done in forcing out Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly. For the first time in, what — a decade?, Fox News has lost a vitally important ratings crown to, ohmydeargawd, MSNBC.
What matters in the business of television is the demo, the 25-54 advertiser-coveted age range. That is where the bragging rights are, and in that arena …
MSNBC finished May as the No. 1 cable news network in the advertiser-friendly A 25-54 demo for weekday prime (Mon-Fri, 8 – 11 p.m.), per Nielsen. This is the first time the network has defeated both Fox News and CNN on weeknights in the demo since September 2000.
And the #1 cable news personality for the month of May? MSNBC's conspiracy theorist Rachel Maddow.
Do you want to know who, at least until last month, was the #1 cable news personality going all the way back to around the time fire was invented? Yep, one Bill O'Reilly. The man held that crown, day after day, week after week, month after month … and did so forever.
And do you want to know who hired Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity and the rest of the prime time murderers row of Fox News personalities who remained undefeated going back two decades … That would be Roger Ailes.
But both are gone now because Fox News committed suicide in letting them go, and did so over unproven and disputed allegations surrounding sexual harassment. Oh, sure, Dan The-Documents-Are-Real Rather has a job and so does serial-liar Brian Williams and so does serial-plagiarizer Fareed Zakaria and so does Anderson Poop-On-A-Teabaggers-Desk Cooper and so does Maggie What-Can-I-Do-for-Hillary-Today Haberman …
But Fox News was somehow convinced to sacrifice their golden geese to their very own enemies, and now the bottom has fallen out — and my guess is that there is still a lot of bottom left to go.
Over the last three decades of watching the media, the firing of Ailes and O'Reilly is, without question, two of the single most stupid decisions I have seen a news organization make.
As I have said before, you do not allow the people who want you exterminated (CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post) to make your decisions for you. You do not allow those who will never be appeased until you are extinct, to decide the outcome of scandals. Those decisions should be left only to the people who matter — the customers. And in the case of Ailes and O'Reilly, the customers were adamant (look at the ratings as the scandals heated up) in not wanting Fox News to cave.
But cave Fox News did, and in doing so damaged its brand — its brand as an outsider, its brand as a fearless warrior against the corrupt national media, its brand as a beautifully belligerent screw you to our hideous Ruling Class, its brand as being on Our Side — and I think that brand has been damaged forever.
At the very least, can someone explain to me why Fox News threw out the baby and the bathwater, tossed out O'Reilly and his hit show The Factor? Why not keep The Factor and drop Eric Bolling in that anchor chair?
Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb …
Fox News has allowed its fiercest enemies to get under its skin, guide its decision-making process straight over a cliff, disrupt its once-legendary composure, and now they are seen by the only people who matter — the Fox News customer base — as weak quislings and losers — losers to, of all places, MSNBC.
So riddle me this …
Now that Fox News has gone over to the darkside, what is stopping you from doing your patriotic duty by cutting the cable cord?