In defense of Fox News

It is increasingly popular in some conservative circles to bash the Fox News Channel.  As one who has followed Fox News closely since its launch in 1996 and has written about it extensively — including critically when I felt that it was warranted — I would like to vehemently disagree with the recent rash of naysayers.

It has become fashionable for right-of-center critics to share a perception of Fox News as having abandoned its conservative roots and veered to the left.  Many commentators claim that the cause for this perceived leftward drift is the enhanced role of the purportedly left-of-center "Murdoch Boys," James and Lachlan — the sons of Fox News co-founder Rupert Murdoch.  I should know something about this subject, since it was apparently my article at American Thinker published on June 12, 2017 that first established the meme of the "Murdoch Boys."  (The fact is that today, only one of the Murdoch sons has a role at the New Fox — Lachlan Murdoch, who is the chairman and CEO of the Fox Corporation.  His brother James is not involved in the Fox company, including Fox News, at all.)

My reporting on the "Murdoch Boys" in June 2017 was then, and this is now.  In the summer of 2017, Fox News was in a chaotic state.  Its most popular prime-time host, Bill O'Reilly, had been let go in late April, and the prime-time schedule was a mess.  The channel's co-founder and hands-on programmer, media genius Roger Ailes, had been forced out the previous summer.  The outlook for the future of Fox News in mid-2017 seemed uncertain.

By early fall, however, the channel had righted itself.  Longtime conservative stalwart Sean Hannity had reclaimed his prime-time slot of 9 P.M. E.T., conservative icon Laura Ingraham was added to the schedule at 10 P.M., and brilliant conservative writer and veteran TV host Tucker Carlson was firmly ensconced at 8 P.M.  For the first time in its 21-year history, Fox News prime time comprised uniformly strong unabashed conservative hosts.  Once again, Fox News took the unquestioned lead in the highly competitive ratings battles with MSNBC and CNN.

All three of Fox News's prime-time conservative opinion programs were repeated in order for the Pacific Time Zone, and they were preceded and followed by live news hours anchored by veteran broadcasters Martha MacCallum and Shannon Bream.  This evening schedule represented eight hours of consistent high-quality programming that had never before been equaled on the channel.

Meanwhile, Fox and Friends — the live morning show that airs from 6 to 9 A.M. E.T. M–F (and four hours on Saturdays and Sundays) — with weekday hosts Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, and Ainsley Earhardt, was consistently conservative and patriotic in tone and emerged as one of President Donald Trump's favorite programs.

Much of the rest of the day, Fox News was either fair and balanced (its news programming) or tilting right of center.  Notable exceptions were Shepard Smith's 3 P.M. E.T. eponymous news hour and, as some would claim, Your World with Neil Cavuto that followed.

On the weekends, Fox News was reliably and consistently conservative in its evening opinion shows, with weekly shows hosted by Judge Jeanine Pirro, Greg Gutfeld, Jesse Watters, Steve Hilton, and Mark Levin.  An occasional series, Scandalous, provided some of the best and most probing documentaries about previously taboo subjects (the Chappaquiddick incident, the Clinton impeachment, and the trial of William Kennedy Smith).

Since the advent of the Trump administration and the fake news Russia collusion meme, meanwhile, Fox News prime time has provided platforms for guests who have advanced our understanding of the depth of the Deep State's attempted coup against President Trump.  Names of some of the regular guests that come to mind include Sara Carter, John Solomon, Dan Bongino, Tom Fitton, Jay Sekulow, Sidney Powell, and Dr. Robert Epstein, among many others.  The last time I checked, these and other guests continue to appear uncensored on Fox News.

Another indication of Fox News's continuing importance: it is the platform that President Trump and leading members of his administration choose to appear on.

I just reread a feature article that I wrote for American Thinker on January 10, 2019, "Conservative Critics of Fox News Need to Get a Grip" — and I think everything that I reported then is still accurate today, six and a half months later.

I asked rhetorically in January, and I will repeat it now:

For those who insist that they never watch Fox News because it's just another part of the biased and failing MSM, be careful what you wish for.  If it drastically changes its current course or somehow disappears from cable TV, I can guarantee that it will be missed.

Peter Barry Chowka writes about politics, media, popular culture, and health care for American Thinker and other publications.  Peter's website is  Follow him on Twitter at @pchowka.

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