The Baltimore Sun‘s David Zurawik thinks it’s time we had a conversation about Fox News. As in, America has chosen Fox as its dominant news source, so what does that mean? “Much of the media establishment seems bent on ignoring the incredible ratings success of Fox News,” Zurawik writes. But the historic relevance of the broadcast networks and CNN, Zurawik argues, were dealt a major blow on Election Night:
On a watershed political night, more Americans tuned to Fox for information about the vote than anywhere else.
I have been covering media long enough to remember when CBS, NBC or ABC was the big story on election night in the 1970s and ‘80s.
And, as a critic, as late as 2008, I was thinking no channel mattered more than CNN. This year, for all the reporters it had on the ground election night, CNN barely did better than the we-lost-our-credibility-in-our-slavish-devotion-to-Obama MSNBC. That’s pathetic.
Zurawik argues the lopsided ratings on Election Night–with Fox News beating everyone–was perhaps not about politics. But rather, Americans may be responding to the network’s priorities:
I think one of the reasons for this latest evolution of ratings dominance might be that Fox was a far better watchdog on the Obama White House than any other TV news organization. It took the heat and the blowback from an administration that showed an enmity for the press not seen on Pennsylvania Avenue since the dark days of Richard Nixon, but it stayed the course. And now with viewers seeing the contempt this administration had for them and the truth, they respect what Fox did the last six years.