Where have Fox’s fans gone? Networks frequently conduct audience research, so Fox probably has a pretty solid answer to that question. Fox sources say that some viewers have sampled Newsmax, yes, but many have just chosen to turn off the news altogether. They’re watching Hallmark, HGTV or Netflix instead.
I asked Hofstra communications school dean Mark Lukasiewicz, a former NBC News and MSNBC executive, for his analysis on what has happened to the Fox base. He wrote back: “Tristan Harris famously said that social networks are about ‘affirmation, not information’ — and the same can be said about cable news, especially in prime time. But for the conservative media ecosystem, just what should be affirmed has suddenly become an existential question.”
“The unified wall of support for Trump has splintered after last week’s assault on the Capitol,” Lukasiewicz said. “Republicans are disagreeing with Republicans on the most basic questions: Should Trump be impeached? Should he be convicted? Does he bear responsibility for what happened? I suspect traditionally conservative audiences are bewildered and confused. Confusion is certainly apparent among many conservative media producers and commentators — trying to find their footing as the story of the Capitol assault, and the President’s reaction, keeps getting worse.”