The political reality out here on the fruited plain hit Fox News like a freight train this week. The trust they held with right-leaning Americans for many years was slashed in half in the last month all thanks to the constant bashing and biting at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. YouGov Brand Index is reporting that its “Buzz score” for Fox News has fallen to 17% trustworthy from 36% in January. That puts Fox at the same trustworthiness level as CNN.
To measure perception of the two networks, YouGov BrandIndex used its Buzz score, which asks respondents: “If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?” A score can range from 100 to -100 with a zero score equaling a neutral position.
On January 1, 2013, Fox News Channel’s Buzz score with Republican adults 18 and over was 49. By the first GOP debate last August, the score had dropped to 38. The downward momentum accelerated earlier this year when Fox News Channel’s score dropped from 36 on January 18th to 14 on February 12th. Trump declined to participate in FNC’s sanctioned GOP debate on January 28th. Fox News Channel’s current Buzz score is 17.
For those who like visuals, this is what that looks like:
Fair and balanced, huh?
Both YouGov and Gateway Pundit are making much of the numbers falling AFTER the August 2015 debate confrontations between Donald Trump and Fox News’ resident agitator Megyn Kelly. A cursory glance at the comments of articles about Kelly all say the same thing about her from former viewers, and it is not positive. There are also caustic comments about George Will, a man who lost this writer’s respect with his snobbery regarding Trump’s lack of intellectualism. In fact, former viewers of Fox, are calling the network GOPe, or the blogosphere’s shorthand for “ESTABLISHMENT,” and in no way conservative the way the unwashed, and unsophisticated masses are. (See this thread from FreeRepublic.)
What is most obvious, though, is that Fox is pushing a narrative that is not resonating with the electorate that usually patronizes them. The network is one of many “conservative” media outlets – including talk radio, and online publications – that are all in anti-Trump mode, and are turning off the people who are not bamboozled by Ted Cruz, and do not want to settle for Marco Rubio who needs some executive experience before running for higher office.
Fox and the other networks are used to telling the people what they SHOULD think about any one topic, and how they SHOULD feel about the issues. They told the people Trump was more or less a loser, and to trust them on it. Well, that didn’t work. Trump proved them wrong. The candidate that reflects the concerns of the masses is Donald Trump, and at this point in the election process, there is an emotional investment in the outcome that is prompting Fox’s audience to tune out.
When the advertising revenue drops due to lost market share there may be a change. Women sitting in short skirts and high heels doesn’t sell an audience forever.