Big bad Fox News is no giant, more like a pipsqueak

Big bad Fox News is no giant, more like a pipsqueak

Reading reports on television network viewership of the first night of the January 6th Committee hearings, I was reminded again. And again, I shook my head because Fox News’s impact is so minuscule relative to the reporting on it, it looks a lot like paranoia.

by David Stone

Assorted Ideas, Large & Small

Fox News, the Mouse that Snores

yelling formal man watching news on laptop
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

It’s simple. The report said that, despite being the only major network not carrying the hearing, Fox News got “its usual 3.1 million viewers.” Sounds like a lot, but it isn’t.

The total population of the U.S. is just over 330 million. So, 3.1 million viewers is less than 1% of us. That’s not even a rounding error in the national TV viewing audience.

And yes, that number includes children, but let’s say we cut them out. Generously, that gives Fox News something struggling to hit the big 2% mark.

According to AdWeek for the same period, ABC World News Tonight with David Muir averaged 7.72 million total viewers, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt averaged 6.11 million total viewers and The CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell averaged 4.61 million total viewers.

That’s roughly 18 to 3 million, and that’s before counting other cable competitors like MSNBC and CNN.

So, What’s the Big Deal?

Is it media envy but out of all proportion? Or is it juvenile self-righteousness?

Why elevate big mouths griping to a small room – like Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingrahm and Sean Hannity – as if they’re lions scraping at the walls?

I think it’s for contrast. Making the Fox News, Trump-loving cadre out as the bad boys of media content has a prophylactic effect. That is, “We may be lackeys to corporate ownership and advertisers, but we’re not as bad as those guys.”

In a mainstream media marketplace that sells fear and foreboding, drawing viewers to advertisers with cures, the good guys may be the worst. Maybe the Fox News gang shouts louder just to be heard because that suits their advertisers.

After all, the My Pillow guy wants an audience too.

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