HBO’s John Oliver lit up Fox News and called them out for not believing what they were selling and being terrified of losing their audience to Newsmax.
Oliver said, “The filing shows the extent to which Fox News hosts did not believe the s*it they were selling, which is fine if you work for QVC and you have to fill an hour on why a bejeweled squatty potty will change your life, but it’s a bit more concerning when you pretend to be the news.
But perhaps the most fascinating thing is how terrified major Fox figures were of losing their audience to more conspiracy-friendly networks like Newsmax, with Tucker Carlson at one point saying, ‘an alternative like Newsmax could be devastating to us.’
They seemed to understand that acknowledging Biden had won was alienating their viewers. Sean Hannity wrote to a producer after the network called the election for Biden, ‘respecting this audience whether we agree or not is critical. Fox has spent the month spitting at them.’ To which, the producer replied, ‘Right. Our best minutes last week were on the voting irregularities,’ which they all knew were bulls*it.
Oliver closed the segment by pointing out that the only firable offenses at Fox News were making the stock price go down and being a sexual monster, but only if people outside the company find out about it.
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For decades, academics and media reporters have studied how Fox News shapes and influences viewers, but John Oliver raised an interesting point. What if Fox News is being driven by its viewers?
Fox News isn’t the disease, but the symptom of the toxic extremism of the majority of the Republican Party.
If Fox News was telling the viewers what to think, they would not have to worry about losing their audience to Newsmax, because they would have the power to shape what the audience thought. The fear at Fox News was that if they were not meeting the audience demand for election conspiracies, viewers would leave them and get their fix elsewhere.
John Oliver torched Fox News for not only being a lie, but for also being weak, and when looked at from this perspective, Fox isn’t strong but is just as weak terrified of their viewers as Republicans are of their voters.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association