The presidential election has been an absolute roller coaster ride—for us, for the candidates, and even for the media.
While no one was declared president on election night, the clear winner was Fox News. With 14.1 million viewers during primetime (compared to 9.4 million for CNN and 7.6 million for MSNBC), they swept the show.
Well, sort of…
Fox News did have a record night, but that’s only part of the story. The total number of viewers who tuned in over the course of the evening was 56.9 million, which is actually down 20% from the 71 million viewers who watched in 2016 and still below the 66.8 million who watched in 2012.
And that’s not the only thing that was down. After stirring controversy by calling Arizona for Biden far before any other outlet, and drawing the ire of many Trump supporters for other on-air decisions, Fox News has hemorrhaged viewers.
According to Nielsen TV ratings, several of Fox News’ core programs have shown a substantial drop in viewership since election night. Here’s the percentage of viewers each anchor lost from November 2nd to November 11th:
Neil Cavuto – 40%
Bret Baier – 40%
Martha MacCallum – 40%
Laura Ingraham – 36%
Sean Hannity – 33%
Tucker Carlson – 29%
Of course, Fox News is by no means imploding. Their year over year viewership has grown, they’ve surged among younger viewers, and they continue to lead CNN and MSNBC in primetime and both total viewers. And while certainly some of the decline could be attributed to fading interest in election coverage, the numbers show an unusually stark decline in viewership in such a short period of time. Does this prove the existence of a mass exodus of viewers away from mainstream media? Maybe. But there’s no doubt that trust in cable news coverage is only continuing to drop.
A Gallup poll shows the percentage of Americans who have a “Great deal/fair amount” of trust in mass media currently hovers around 40%. This is actually up from 2016’s all-time low of 32% but still down from the high of 45% in 2018. It’s no surprise also that the group with the lowest trust in the media was Republicans (32%).
We can debate which way the media trends all day long, but the examples of large media companies spewing one-sided propaganda are legion. The fault of the news isn’t the direction they’re trying to pull you. It’s that they’re trying to pull you at all.
The fact that viewers appear to be leaving Fox News in droves is likely a good thing. So much has been written about the media’s involvement in this year’s election results, and if that’s true, America may be better off listening to other sources.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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