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Generation O’Reilly

I’ve caught some flak from readers e-mailing me, criticizing me for not coming to Bill O’Reilly’s defense. More on why I didn’t in a second. First, though, it’s worth thinking about Ian Tuttle’s piece on how O’Reilly and younger conservatives aren’t really in touch. [1] Excerpt:

I appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, Fox News’s flagship evening program, hosted by the now-ousted Bill O’Reilly, in the summer of 2015. An average number of people tuned in that night — somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 million. My conservative friends, twentysomethings, many of them from reliably red states, were not tuned in. But their parents were.

That’s telling. The O’Reilly Factor, which will air its final episode on Friday, was a massively popular news show — for a decade and a half the most popular show — on America’s most-watched cable news network. But The O’Reilly Factor was not for everyone; more to the point, it was not intended to be. Bill O’Reilly’s loyal viewers were largely older, suburban or rural, middle or lower-middle class, generally white, and Republican. At the end of 2016, O’Reilly averaged 3.3 million nightly viewers, but while viewers in the key 25-to-54 demographic increased significantly from 2015 (probably an effect of the unusual election year), they still accounted for less than one-fifth of his nightly audience.

This is entirely anecdotal, but after O’Reilly’s departure was announced, I thought about who among my conservative friends watches O’Reilly. The only person I could think of was my mother, who is 73. In fact, I have lots of conservative friends in my age cohort who complain about the effect heavy Fox watching has on their parents. The general complaint is that their folks have become a lot more opinionated about political issues, and a lot angrier and more bombastic. I once wrote about Fox Geezer Syndrome [2], and included lots of comments from readers. Here’s one:

I grew up watching very little television. Then when I was in ninth grade we started looking to buy a new car. I promise that’s not a non-sequitur.

It turns out that the new Dae Woo dealership in town had a promotion: test drive one our cars, get a free Dish Network subscription for a year. My dad did the drive, and we got the Dish.

Over the course of the next year Fox News slowly took over our house. For a while, the main thing we watched was the O’Reilly Factor, which became appointment viewing each night. But it expanded from there. When the following summer came around–and I was home during the day–I was shocked by how much my mom watched during the day. Again, we rarely watched TV before this, and now my parents were watching 3, 4, 5 hours of TV a day, and that was almost exclusively Fox News.

It’s hard to exaggerate what effect the transition from major network news to Fox News had. It’s not that my parents’ actual views changed… Though never fundamentalists, they’d always been more or less part of “the Religious Right,” and my parents would always grumble about the liberal bias of mainstream media.

What changed was the intensity with which they held those views. Politics went from a significant but not at all central part of daily discourse to the overwhelmingly #1 concern. The amount of time my parents spent talking (and, presumably, thinking) about politics skyrocketed. As did the level of frustration and anger and vitriol. My parents seemed constantly angry about things over which they had zero control, bitter about matters that had nothing to do with them.

A few years later–recognizing that it was not a healthy influence–my parents got rid of the Dish. At some point my mom remarked that her stress levels had considerably lowered since she stopped watching Fox News. Since then they’ve gone back-and-forth with Dish or cable–one year they’ll have it, the next year they ditch it. But they’ve never returned to binge-watching Fox News.

They still watch it sometimes, and their political views are largely the same. And sometimes they can be angry and bitter about politics. But it’s not constant anymore. It’s not the regular state of being. I think the spell has been broken. They recognize at least some of the limitations of Fox News–they laugh at how ridiculous Sean Hannity is, for instance–and they do a somewhat better job of avoiding being completely sucked into things that have no relevance to their lives.

Yesterday I was talking with a conservative Evangelical friend in his early 30s. He’s really concerned that the fallout from Trump is going to be devastating for religious conservatism. I share his views. In his strong and necessary piece for National Review, David French considers the moral and reputational cost to conservatism of the “toxic” celebrity culture of the Right. [3]Excerpts:

There are those who say that the Left is “taking scalps,” and they have a list of Republican victims to prove their thesis. Roger Ailes is out at Fox News. Bill O’Reilly is out at Fox News. Michael Flynn is out at the White House. Those three names — the head of the most powerful cable news network, the highest-rated cable news personality, and the national-security adviser — represent a stunning wave of resignations and terminations.

But this isn’t scalp-taking, it’s scalp-giving. Time and again prominent conservative personalities have failed to uphold basic standards of morality or even decency. Time and again the conservative public has rallied around them, seeking to protect their own against the wrath of a vengeful Left. Time and again the defense has proved unsustainable as the sheer weight of the facts buries the accused.

Moreover, the pattern is repeating itself with the younger generation of conservative celebrities. The sharp rise and meteoric fall of both Tomi Lauren and Milo Yiannopoulos were driven by much the same dynamic that sustained O’Reilly for years, even in the face of previous sexual-harassment complaints — Lahren and Yiannopoulos were “fighters” who “tell it like it is.” O’Reilly was the master of the “no-spin zone” and seemed fearless in taking on his enemies.

What followed was a toxic culture of conservative celebrity, where the public elevated personalities more because of their pugnaciousness than anything else. Indeed, the fastest way to become the next conservative star is to “destroy” the Left, feeding the same kind of instinct that causes leftists to lap up content from John Oliver, Samantha Bee, and Stephen Colbert. Liberals use condescending mockery. Conservatives use righteous indignation. That’s not much of a difference.

The cost has been a loss of integrity and, crucially, a loss of emphasis on ideas and, more important, ideals. There exists in some quarters an assumption that if you’re truly going to “fight,” then you have to be ready to get your hands dirty. You can’t be squeamish about details like truth or civility or decency. When searching for ideological gladiators, we emphasize their knifework, not their character or integrity.


The conservative movement includes some of the best and most admirable people I’ve ever met. It also includes its share of grasping, ambitious fame-hounds, people who live for the next Fox hit and angle to write this year’s version of the “liberals are sending this country to hell” bestselling book. But bad character sends a country to hell just as surely as bad policy does, and any movement that asks its members to defend vice in the name of advancing allegedly greater virtue is ultimately shooting itself in the foot.

Read the whole thing. [3]

How should Fox transition into remaining a conservative (ish) network, while replacing its aging audience as it dies off? Because that audience is old: [4]

The median age of a primetime Fox News viewer is 68 [5], according to Nielsen. That means half of the channel’s viewers are older than 68. CNN’s median primetime viewer, meanwhile, is 59. Fox News still has more total viewers in the 25-to-54 demographic that advertisers covet, but CNN and others are gaining [5].

It’s possible Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan, who are acquiring control of their father’s media empire as he ages, see all this as a good thing. Fox News, for now, has a monopoly on the “older, conservative viewer.” [6] As currently-old conservatives get even older and, eventually, die, a new generation of viewers will replace them.

But how long can that last when you’re not attracting younger audiences? Today’s young people are watching less traditional TV and more online content—especially for their news (some of which cater to their sensibilities [7] far better than banal news networks can). Fox News can’t afford to just wait around for these younger viewers to become old.

That’s an interesting point. I don’t know about you, but I don’t watch Fox not because I am opposed to Fox, but because I don’t watch cable TV, period. I get my news online and, when I’m driving, from public radio. If I had cable TV I would definitely watch Tucker Carlson’s show, because he’s fresh and unpredictable. If they gave Mollie Hemingway a show, I’d watch the hell out of it. But I don’t know that it’s possible for any network to win me back as a cable subscriber. There are just too many other interesting things to do, and having a TV connected to Netflix streaming and Amazon streaming satisfies all our televised entertainment interests.

I think David French is correct about the toxic influence of conservative celebrity culture, but then, John Derbyshire was right back in 2009 when he wrote in TAC about how conservative talk radio wrecks the Right.  [8]I don’t know that it’s possible in this media environment to avoid the dangers of ideological celebrity culture on either side of the political divide.

What interests me, though, is how this plays out with younger people who don’t care as much about TV. Does TV have to grow more extreme in an attempt to capture their attention? What? In my case, cable and broadcast TV hasn’t been part of my family’s life for years, and that’s just fine. Whenever I would go visit my dad in the past few years, I was jarred by how the people on Fox seemed to be barking at viewers. I don’t know if watching CNN would have felt different — I mean, I don’t know whether what I experienced is something particular to Fox, or whether I had grown so unaccustomed to cable news that all of it seemed to come on way too strong. Probably the latter. Whatever the case, I didn’t want it.

Readers, do you see different news media habits with you and your parents’ generation (or your children’s generation)? Talk to me.

136 Comments (Open | Close)

136 Comments To "Generation O’Reilly"

#1 Comment By James Kabala On April 22, 2017 @ 9:16 am

Stephen Cooper: Aren’t those people models who posed for the photo deliberately (who knows for what original purpose) and quite possibly are not married or at all connected to each other in real life? I don’t know much about where Shutterstock gets their photos from, but I don’t think they are raiding actual family photo albums.

#2 Comment By Nick Stuart On April 22, 2017 @ 9:42 am

To try to speak to your question. Don’t know anyone who watches cable news as much as I do (Fox). I don’t really sit down and “watch” it as much as I leave it running for background noise and glance over when someone coherent is speaking (Mollie Hemmingway or Ben Stein for example).

Limbaugh is a lot more interesting when things are happening (like now) than when not (when his program devolves into 1/3 “Buy my stuff,” 1/3 “The country is going to perdition because of [NFL, NBA, MLB outrage du jour],” and 1/3 commentary on events of the day.

I don’t hesitate to tune any of them out when they get repetitive.

I don’t understand how anybody could listen to (for example) Mark Levin, Michael Savage, Alex Jones or other what I call “screamers.” Glen Beck has become, IMHO, incoherent.

I suspect anyone who watched or listened to any one “talk radio” or “cable news” all day every day without huge skepticism would in fact become angry (and ill-informed).

#3 Comment By Charlieford On April 22, 2017 @ 10:07 am

I’m still trying to get a handle on how young (college aged) conservatives are navigating the world. They don’t watch Fox–they don’t really watch TV. They don’t read anything that isn’t assigned in their classes. They have no interest in the history of the conservative movement, or in American political history (in any depth). They aren’t enamored of Ronald Reagan–his charisma hasn’t lasted, and his obsession with the Cold War is as irrelevant as an obsession with Mussolini would be–and they have no memory of the Bush II administration. I’m not sure how they define “conservative” (or “liberal”), or how they choose who or what to be loyal to or even listen to. The only thing recently that has seemed to excite them on national level is the missile strike against Syria. Like most everyone else their age, they were curious about the MOAB in Afghanistan, but were like almost all their peers unaware that we were at war in Afghanistan. They are aware of local political races: they know who the candidates are, and fervently support the Republican candidate, but the mode of commitment seems similar to the kind of loyalty they show the school’s athletic teams: It’s pretty non-ideological, and more of a “these are our people” sort of thing.

#4 Comment By WAB On April 22, 2017 @ 10:12 am

The last and only conservative talk show I could watch without wanting to throw my shoe at the TV was Firing Line. After that the whole conservative genre turned into a Limbaugh-Coulterian mass of anger, resentment, stupidity and gracelessness. Carlson’s unctuous thoughtfulness is laughable; at least Stewart and Colbert did straight comedy.

The entire media news genre is a wasteland of shallow, pandering entertainment now with the occasional rare exception. I read newsprint and tour the on-line sites to get a sense of where the country is. My sense is that everyone’s gone nuts.

#5 Comment By Patrick On April 22, 2017 @ 10:22 am

“They still watch it sometimes, and their political views are largely the same. And sometimes they can be angry and bitter about politics. But it’s not constant anymore. It’s not the regular state of being. I think the spell has been broken.”

Once a year during Lent, I give up this website and find myself *way* less paranoid and way less strident and more friendly with secular people.

[NFR: But … but … THEY’RE OUT TO GET YOU! — RD]

#6 Comment By Surly On April 22, 2017 @ 10:30 am

I read my news–I hate watching video. But when we invaded Iraq in the early 2000’s my husband and I watched cable news a lot. I still remember watching Fox and how thrilling it was to see us kicking the crap out of Hussein–scenes like pulling the statue of him down were artfully done.

I can see how watching Fox would change a person’s perspective and suck them in–I could feel it happening to me–even as I was horrified by the decision to go into Iraq and KNEW it was going to be a disaster, watching Fox’s take on it made me want to jump up and down and cheer USA! USA! USA!. It was like war as some sort of entertainment event.

#7 Comment By stephen cooper On April 22, 2017 @ 11:30 am

James Kabala – thanks for pointing out a flaw in my comment — Shutter Stock did nothing wrong in this case and I should not have implied they did – they don’t buy photos without releases from the models, and they don’t allow or cooperate with the use of photos for defamatory purposes. And there is nothing dehumanizing about the picture in itself – which, taken in the best light, is a well-posed portrait of old friends or an old couple enjoying each other’s company -and I should not have implied Shutter Stock – or, by implication, the photographer – did anything wrong. I am just, in general, against the whole idea that it is fair to take a picture of somebody innocently doing something they enjoy and then attach that picture to a commentary which puts the people portrayed in a negative light, as if they were the actual (direct or indirect) objects of the criticism. Just about every Christian site that I read on the web has done it (except the ones without pictures) – but I don’t like it. To that extent I am an iconoclast, I guess.

#8 Comment By g On April 22, 2017 @ 12:01 pm

BillO was a case study in papal envy. His pontifications were meant to be received ex cathedra and robed. Delusional Romanist syndrome.

#9 Comment By Tyro On April 22, 2017 @ 12:23 pm

I do not agree that Samantha Bee and John Oliver “uphold…basic standards of morality or even decency” in their professional lives. The few times I’ve watched Bee’s routines, I found her jokes filthy (and not very funny). Oliver can’t get through a routine without repeated use of the F-word.

This is such a perfect example of the state out our disocurse: “sure the right wing talking heads are dishonest and foment rage and hate towards others. But some liberals told off-color jokes and used a naughty word, so both sides are just as bad.”

#10 Comment By Gary On April 22, 2017 @ 1:17 pm

I’m young enough to qualify as a Millennial, and honestly, the only thing I watch on Fox News is the Greg Gutfeld show, because I find him to be funny and an independent thinker, although I’m a little disappointed that he’s trying to curry favor with the die-hard Trump crowd.

Otherwise, my media consumption tends to be podcast- and YouTube-based – Gutfeld, Perino/Stirewalt, Shapiro, Reason Magazine, Dave Rubin, the Intelligence Square debates, Convos with Bill Kristol, Barron and Zacharias for religion, Adam Carolla for humor. I can’t imagine actually sitting down and watching television for hours on end, and I’ve got no interest in being screamed at or patronized. Even the Gutfeld show I can get on YouTube.

I suspect that younger conservatives have moved to those mediums of media, and have no interest in the Fox News primetime lineup. I also think that this doesn’t augur well for Bannon-type populists. There are some podcasts and YouTube shows that fit in with Trumpism, like Gavin McInnes and to some extent Steven Crowder, but unlike Fox News, there’s far more Buckley conservatives in the mix in online media than there are at Fox. The populists’ may have a monopoly on media as it pertains to senior citizens but not for younger conservatives.

#11 Comment By Hound of Ulster On April 22, 2017 @ 1:59 pm

If you think Gen-X and millienials will turn on Fox News et al as they get older…not going to happen. People’s views don’t become more conservative as they get older, they tend to harden, whether the person is on the left or the right. I can see Fox News going through a rapid switch in its preferences in response to generational turnover…

#12 Comment By elizabeth On April 22, 2017 @ 2:15 pm

Thanks for the movie recommendation from someone here.

We watched “the brainwashing of my father” on Amazon yesterday. It is a fascinating review of the history of right wing media and its contribution to our current social tensions.

#13 Comment By Youngish conservative On April 22, 2017 @ 3:32 pm

Spouse and I are 35 and also never watch FOX or network news. My in laws watch too much of it, in fact we joke that they are turning into my FIL’s parents, who always had it on (and they used to hate).

We mostly read stuff on RealClearPolitics. I do check instapundit every day. We also listed to The Federalist Radio hour almost every day. My spouse was recently trying to figure out how he could get his parents to start listening to that instead of FOX and Rush. I think most TV news is just fluff. I can become more familiar with a topic by listening to an hour long podcast on it rather than a 5minute segment.

#14 Comment By Anne On April 22, 2017 @ 3:40 pm

I grew up watching and listening, along with my whole family, to the Huntley-Brinkley Report nightly on NBC. There were times somebody would switch to Walter Cronkite on CBS, although I can’t remember why. Chet Huntley and David Brinkley were a hard act to beat, Huntley the world-weary straight man and Brinkley his sardonic younger partner whose expression and tone of voice provided plenty of commentary without anything having to be said. But of course, Cronkite was the epitome of serious newsman, the “elder statesman of broadcast news.” When he broke down delivering the word that JFK had died, it was like seeing your father cry. Nobody watched ABC News unless they were in some part of the country where reception was limited and it was the only network that came in. Yet, all in all, TV newscasters and their reporters “in the field” were people most Americans respected and trusted to keep them informed about what they needed and wanted to know about the world.

I remember when that started to change. It was towards the end of the Vietnam war about when revelations about America’s evil doings around the world began coming out of the Congressional hearings overseen by Sen. Frank Church. The Watergate revelations took place amid a long series of bad news cycles for American TV listeners, and you know what the ancients used to say happens to messengers who deliver bad news. Indeed, “fed up” Americans began talking about “liberal” (translation: anti-American) bias in the news. And even as Woodward and Bernstein broke the Watergate scandal and inspired leftish college students to become “tough investigative reporters,” TV news was undergoing a radical change.

It’s often said that evil capitalists who own America’s broadcast industry singlehandidly turned TV news into entertainment overnight. In reality, those capitalists were responding to free market forces, giving those “fed up” American audiences what they wanted to see: Some good news. Just as Ronald Reagan came along to tell Americans their country wasn’t what all the revelations claimed, that on the contrary, this was, we were/are the best, the most generous, most virtuous people on earth, local TV reporters were told to focus on human interest stories, catch people doing good, and heck, smile when that “on air” sign flashes, chat, joke even, leave audiences happy for a change. Reporters broadcasting from third world war zones stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb. Eventually, their air time receded, until local news dominated national and international two to one.

Now we know where all that good news was headed, eventually deteriorating as it did into celebrity gossip, politicians’ sex scandals and partisan commentary passing for news, be it talk radio, Fox News or even actual fictional programming, such as The Daily Show. (I won’t even count what happened during the 2016 presidential campaign with Russian propaganda bots creating anti-Clinton internet headlines and “fake news.”)

We’ve come a long way since Chet and David said goodnight to each other and Walter Cronkite assured us all, Democrat and Republican, “that’s the way it was.” Americans have since learned to hear what they want to hear, know no more than they want to know, and blame the messengers whenever events get out of hand. Given this larger context, what Bill O’Reilly did or didn’t do with regard to sexual harassment (and that IS why he was fired, NOT because his form of “news” programming is a distortion of everything a free people should expect from democracy’s “fourth estate”) seems relatively unimportant. Don’t get me wrong, it IS important to advancing women’s rights in the workplace. Unfortunately, another partisan commentator will merely take his place, and TV “news” will continue to deteriorate into what those “fed up” Americans labeled it back when it was actually the real deal: Your free market at work.

#15 Comment By Susan On April 22, 2017 @ 7:43 pm

Mollie Hemingway is on Fox a lot as are many other good people.

#16 Comment By Joe M On April 22, 2017 @ 9:02 pm

Younger people aren’t watching TV news, I’d argue. That’s why the median age of 68 its no big deal. But FOX gets beat up whereas CNN gets a pass, and the latter is every bit as over the top as the FOX crew. Younger evangelicals are just embarrassed to be conservative, when you get down to it. The culture is liberal, the media is liberal, so being conservative is just a buzz kill and doesn’t jive with cool music and global crusading. And people like O’Reilly are cringe-inducing. But wait, Stephen Colbert isn’t?

[NFR: Stephen Colbert is an entertainer. I don’t watch any of them, but don’t you think that’s a meaningful difference? Since when do you have to be a Fox News fan to be a true conservative? Watching it or not watching it says nothing about whether or not one is a conservative. — RD]

#17 Comment By adh-dhariyat On April 22, 2017 @ 9:16 pm

I’ll try to speak for the young(er) conservative friends whom I have. They don’t watch Fox News either. They purport not to trust anyone but Breitbart and some also like (maybe past tense?) Milo. There seems to be a lot of disengagement lately.

From my side (youngish liberal), I do eschew CNN, MSNBC and most other cable news. I listen to podcasts (Dan Carlin’s Common Sense, Slate’s Amicus, FiveThirtyEight, BBC World Service) and some other online sites taken with a huge grain of salt – The Economist, Vox, Vulture, Vice, The Week. And for ‘opposition’ research (which I find myself agreeing with more and more lately), I come to TAC and FPR.

#18 Comment By jcastarz On April 22, 2017 @ 9:33 pm

I’m an old white man (age 60), who has not had TV since 1995. I do have an old Sony Trinitron that I play DVDs and VHS tapes on, but otherwise no reception. I spend a lot of time on the Internet, but I don’t “stream” TV; I prefer to read instead – especially on sites like TAC, where lots of thoughtful people post informative comments. I used to go to the Fox website to get a counter-perspective to liberal web sites, but gave that up when I seldom found Fox talking about the same things.

This week I became aware that this… O’Reilly guy… got laid off from Fox. I didn’t even know who he was! And there you have it Rod, in a nutshell.

(PS: I can get quite spun up on Internet news w/o a TV, and so I’ve learned to ration how much time I spend on that.)

#19 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 22, 2017 @ 9:34 pm

People’s views don’t become more conservative as they get older, they tend to harden, whether the person is on the left or the right.

Hasn’t been my experience. I even have doubts about Robespierre now and then. Whose experience do you base this assertion on?

#20 Comment By Lllurker On April 22, 2017 @ 10:29 pm

RD: “… I would explain to her why he was wrong about this or that thing; I felt sorry for her being so afraid of all the things he was telling her were out to get her. Did you ever watch Glenn Beck when he was on Fox? I did. If you took him seriously, you’d be freaked out too…”

For one member in our family Beck was the gateway drug that led him into a sort of conspiracy madness. Now it’s a regular diet of Alex Jones and the other crazies. It seems the one commonality between all of the crap this guy reads and listens to (besides fear, fear, fear) is that it’s all emotionally charged in some manner or other.

This guy has now reached the point where his mind doesn’t even seem to recognize and except logic. In most areas of his life he seems fine. He’s a good parent and successful In his work. But nowadays any thoughts in his head that touch on politics and “news” are just plain tinfoil-hat crazy.

#21 Comment By JonF On April 23, 2017 @ 7:12 am


That is– somewhat– my experience. The main exception is that most people do gain a degree of experience which causes them to jetison hopelessly unrealistic and utopian ideals as they age. The 60s generation did come to realize that “All we need us love” is not, sadly, true.
The other process that happens is that the boundary areas of politics move on (Except maybe in areas where huge amounts of money are at stake). Today’s heterodoxy becomes tomorrow’s orthodoxy or at least it’s well-accepted reality.

#22 Comment By Fran Macadam On April 23, 2017 @ 7:35 am

Never watched Fox and never will.

It’s all fiddling with the remote while Rome burns.

#23 Comment By Ken T On April 23, 2017 @ 9:49 am

I have to agree with the commenter above who pointed out that Fox didn’t invent it, they just figured out how to tap into a phenomenon that already existed and capitalize on it. My father, who was born during WWI, was an outrage addict decades before either talk radio or cable TV ever existed. I have many memories from the 50’s as I was growing up of him reading his newspaper and suddenly exploding in rage over something he read (often a trivial matter that had nothing to do with him). I have no doubt that if he had lived to see the birth of Fox he would have jumped right in.

#24 Comment By TomM On April 23, 2017 @ 9:28 pm

Bill O’Reilly’s loyal viewers were largely older, suburban or rural, middle or lower-middle class, generally white, and Republican

O’Reilly has been this cohort’s only source of information about modern city life and minority culture and lives. That explains why they think all cities are war zones of drug sales, gang violence, and murder.

That is a really good point.
I live in So Cal, and I lived in NYC from 1985 to 2005. and I read descriptions of the city and the amount of doing-information is unreal. About public schools, about the crime and drugs, about life here in general.
In Bill O’s world it was always 1989, the Dinkins years, the height of the Crack epidemic. The height of the crime wave, the height of sexual permissiveness.
To the Fox viewers and to millions of people who don’t live in urban areas, it’s still 1989, and nothing can change that, and nothing at Fox is going to, as that’s their revenue stream. Trump embodies that.
He is the 1989 alpha, in a world that’s radically different from his world view and the view of his supporters. Maybe that’s why his core is so strong – they believe that we are living in the hell-scape of the 1980s. We’re not.

#25 Comment By TomM On April 23, 2017 @ 9:29 pm

Edit to read: Dis-information

#26 Comment By bkh On April 24, 2017 @ 7:16 am

Things are so much simpler when you take a view that the ship is sinking so get your loved ones in the life boat and any others you can grab. FOX, CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, TAC, or whatever is just there to watch to help gauge about how much time I have left before before it is too late and a new dynamic begins.

#27 Comment By Ned On April 24, 2017 @ 9:02 am

Well, speaking as a young-ish conservative…if Fox News went off the air tomorrow, it might take a week before I notice noticed. I don’t have cable – I cut the cord years ago.

I’d say a lot of younger right wingers are in the same situation – they don’t care about Fox News, it isn’t relevant to their lives, because they don’t have access to it. They get their dose of outrage and anger from Breitbart, or web shows like Gavin McInnes.

#28 Comment By Susan On April 24, 2017 @ 12:37 pm

A disproportionate number of Fox haters have never even watched Fox. They have been told by leftists that Fox is to be hated and they dutifully obey.

#29 Comment By FL Transplant On April 24, 2017 @ 5:26 pm

As my parents aged and their health problems increased it became harder and harder for them to engage with the outside world, they became more housebound, and their TV time increased year by year.

Daytime TV is God’s vengeance on the unemployed; there’s very little worth watching on. My Dad was able to fill his TV time with sports (there’s 162 baseball games on in a season, after all), HBO movies and series, and documentaries on History, Discovery, and other such (WWII stories, “How Things Are Made”, “Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge”, etc).

None of those appealed to my Mom, so she took a dive into Fox. There was a noticeable change in how she viewed the world. My parents lived in a lovely small Mid-Atlantic town not far from a metro area. Great neighborhood, long-time friendly neighbors who looked out for them as needed, exceptionally low crime–a crime wave would be kids on a summer’s night checking out unlocked cars looking for any loose change in the console. My Mom became fearful of a terrorist attack on her town, suspicious of all minorities (“they just want to move out here to bring their problems to us”), convinced the government was becoming the enemy except when it wasn’t, the need to curtail rights and freedoms to keep us safe except when doing so wasn’t in keeping with Fox beliefs, and how social standards and morality were collapsing. It got to the point where every time I went to visit I’d watch Fox for a few minutes to get the story they were presenting as The Outrage of the Day so I’d know what she was going to pontificate on. By the time she passed away she was parroting the worst of Hannity and O’Reilly as ground truth and anyone who didn’t agree with her was a leftist idiot who was refusing to understand the way things really were. She had also totally lost the difference between the Fox “news” that was broadcast for a few hours during the day and the Fox “opinions” that filled the rest of the time–she treated them both as factual truth.

#30 Comment By Peterk On April 24, 2017 @ 6:47 pm

where are the toxic folks on the Left? the last time a liberal was run out of town was when Dan Rather and Mary Mapes tried to fix the 2004 election with fake documents. Mapes is now writing in Dallas, and apparently folks on the left believe she was unfairly treated. Rather is slowly rehabilitating his rep.
I agree that many on the Right are shot down because they don’t f “walk the talk”.
But Powerline blog brought up a good point the other day
“Bill Clinton was credibly accused of rape by Juanita Broaddrick. Kathleen Willey says that he grabbed her p**** in the oval office. He was disbarred from the practice of law and was taxed costs of over $90,000 for committing perjury in Paula Jones’s sexual harassment lawsuit against him, which he later settled for $850,000. No one has forgotten how he treated intern Monica Lewinsky. In later years, Clinton was a frequent flyer on the Lolita Express.

All the while Clinton remained the leader of, and most popular figure in, the Democratic Party. It is remarkable that any Democrat has the nerve to try to make an issue out of sexual conduct with regard to any Republican or conservative.” The Ramirez cartoon that goes along with the post is also good

We have to face facts that the left is out to take down the icons of the right.


#31 Comment By Aaron On April 25, 2017 @ 2:49 am

I could never really stomach Fox News I used to watch Glen Beck. When I was a Mormon but that was more because he was “one of us” than any real political agreement.

As someone in their 30s I guess I’d be considered part of Generation Y and honestly the only News sources I use are Al Mohler’s The Briefing and the YouTube channel of Sargon of Akkad.

Even than I don’t agree with him 100% of the time it’s just to keep out of the “Evangelical Echo Chamber” so to speak.

I’ve tried watching Steven Crowder and he just comes off as a shrill bully. Oddly enough my Mom is slowly becoming like a Liberal version of Fox News junkie.

I love her but politics makes her almost incoherent and Apoplectic now. Meanwhile I simply don’t feel like I belong anywhere.

#32 Comment By JonF On April 25, 2017 @ 12:54 pm

Last time I watched anything on Fox News was the morning after the massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. I was visiting my sister in Michigan and saw some word about it on Facebook when I first got up. My sister had Fox News on (not sure why; she normally wouldn’t– maybe she had had heard some report as well, and turned to the first channel on TV that was covering it). What struck me about the coverage was that in nearly an hour of talk, talk, talk about the whole business Fox did not once mention that Pulse was a gay club.

#33 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 25, 2017 @ 2:28 pm

All the while Clinton remained the leader of, and most popular figure in, the Democratic Party.

I enjoy a good Clinton joke as much as anyone here, but the fact is Clinton remained popular with the general public, not just within the Democratic Party. It seems that voters are more interested in what feels good and the general association of the Clinton name with good times than with particular scandals. Activists of all parties and pressure groups over-rate the value of digging up dirt.

#34 Comment By Nelson On April 25, 2017 @ 2:49 pm

I’m 40 and I can’t stand the cable news stations. They spend too much time sensationalizing things that don’t matter (e.g. anything having to do with celebrities), and they spend too little time covering things that do matter (for example,
Why are we in Yemen and is it really in America’s best interest? Should we redirect foreign aid towards Mississippi and West Virginia instead? etc…)

#35 Comment By JonF On April 26, 2017 @ 1:55 pm

Re: Activists of all parties and pressure groups over-rate the value of digging up dirt.

I sometimes wonder if the 70s had been like the 90s, a time of (mainly) peace and prosperity, might not Nixon have survived Watergate?

#36 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 27, 2017 @ 9:54 pm

I’m surprised to see JonF reducing the Watergate scandal to a matter of “digging up dirt.” The President of the United States had commissioned a gang of burglars to break into the offices of the opposition party, and then used the authority of his office to cover it all up, making use of top White House staff and even firing the top two or three people at the Dept. of Justice to get a prosecutor fired who was getting close to the truth. Even his own party was revulsed in the end.

Ever since, BOTH parties have been trying to recreate the same level of scandal at will, a pathetic echo of “Let’s twist again, like we did last summer.” Republicans are perpetually grousing that people don’t pay attention to the petty scandals they try to drum up, and Democrats wonder why people don’t sustain the same level of outrage over an off color joke that we held when the president was actually committing high crimes and misdemeanors.