News and Analysis

Fox News Has A ‘Relatively Small Base,’ ‘Credibility Among A Minority Of The Country’: Brian Stelter
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 08: Brian Stelter attends CNN Heroes at American Museum of Natural History on December 08, 2019 in New York City.
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for WarnerMedia

The highest-rated network in cable news, Fox News, has a “loud but relatively small base” of viewers, and its programming decisions have reduced it to having “credibility among a minority of the country,” said Brian Stelter, the chief media correspondent for one of FNC’s lower-rated rivals. Fox’s trustworthiness as a news source has been “negated among the majority of the country,” added Stelter.

Stelter threw shade at Fox News on Thursday night during a CNN report on Tucker Carlson’s new special, “Patriot Purge,” which streams on Fox Nation.

Do “the Murdochs have no concern over the credibility of their news organization?” asked host Don Lemon on “Don Lemon Tonight.”

“They may have a lot more concern over the profits and loss. And the profits right now are still tremendous,” admitted Stelter, CNN’s host of “Reliable Source” and a frequent Fox News critic.

“When you talk about credibility, they do have credibility among a minority of the country, among a loud but relatively small base that is willing to tune in,” Stelter said. “So, credibility is certainly within a very short supply” for Fox News, he continued. “It’s been negated among the majority of the country.”

Both attacks seemed unusual since CNN lags Fox News on both measures.

Fox News remains the most viewed cable news network in America, averaging 2.37 million viewers during prime time in the third quarter. CNN’s prime time line-up attracted just over one-third as many viewers, with 822,000 people willing to tune in during prime time. CNN also suffered the greatest year-on-year dip in viewership, losing 46% of its audience since last year. Fox News had the smallest reduction in viewership, 32%, according to Nielsen ratings.

Fox News’ credibility has also been rising, edging out CNN in an August survey conducted by Brand Keys and published by Media Post. A total of 89% of respondents said they trusted Fox News, up three points from February. That surge comes as an October Gallup poll showed that only 36% of Americans have a “fair amount” of trust in the legacy media, a near-record low.

CNN experienced the largest drop in viewer trust among the nine brands surveyed, falling by five points. Seven of the nine TV news brands examined showed trust levels declined, and ABC stayed the same, according to Media Post.

“It seems, Don, at this point, Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch are shameless,” Stelter told Lemon. “Rupert had a big 98th birthday tonight in midtown Manhattan, having a big party with his friends. He doesn’t seem to have any regrets or any concern about the consequences of his content.”

Stelter told Lemon that Fox is appealing to a “shrinking … MAGA audience that is still absolutely committed” to the network. He added that Fox News viewers are “excited to tune in at all hours and support Fox News and read the Wall Street Journal editorial page and support the other right-wing brands.”

Stelter invoked The Wall Street Journal because, on Wednesday, the world-renowned financial publication published a letter to the editor by former President Donald Trump about the 2020 election. The move drew a harsh rebuke from CNN: “Why the Wall Street Journal *never* should have published Donald Trump’s letter on the 2020 election.” The WSJ editorial board fact-checked the president’s letter on Friday but also said in the fact-check that it would be “difficult to respond to everything” in it.

Lemon also interjected that “Fox argued in court that no reasonable person should take what Carlson says as fact.” He omitted the fact that U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant, an Obama appointee, ruled in June that MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow’s “statements cannot reasonably be interpreted as allegations of fact.”

Fox News, the continual victim of Stelter’s ire, fired back at the host earlier this month, calling him little more than a puppet of the network’s president, Jeffrey Zucker.

“The only reason he’s there is because he’s sort of a clone of Jeff Zucker,” New York Post writer Miranda Devine told Fox News. “He looks like Jeff Zucker. He loves Jeff Zucker. He is the boss Jeff Zucker’s mouthpiece. Otherwise, would you give the guy a job on TV? No.”

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Fox News Has A ‘Relatively Small Base,’ ‘Credibility Among A Minority Of The Country’: Brian Stelter