While Fox News continues its lead in the cable news ratings war, a new index shows that the Fox News brand has been on the decline for the past three years with Republicans 18 and over.
Over the past six months, Fox News has celebrated some of its highest ratings, which includes two of their most highly-rated telecasts in the history of the network.
However, according to YouGov BrandIndex, which measures the public’s perception of different brands, Fox News is not doing well.
“By mid February,” according to YouGov, Fox’s “perception by Republican adults 18 and over had reached its lowest point in more than three years, and has declined by approximately 50% since January of this year.”
Over the past year, one variable may explain the Fox News brand’s continuing decline among younger Republicans. That variable is the rise of Donald Trump.
The GOP front-runner has started a civil war within the Republican party, leaving Fox News in an extremely awkward position. On one hand, the anti-Trump Republicans believe that Fox News gives Trump too much airtime. On the other hand, the pro-Trump Republicans cite the billionaire’s beef with Fox’s Megyn Kelly as proof that the network is an “establishment” attack dog.
Trump’s bombastic personality allows him to attract all of the media attention he wants. There’s no doubt that he was a considerable factor behind the success of their first Republican debate, which aired on Fox last August and set a new record as the most-viewed broadcast in the network’s long history.
And the second most-viewed Fox News broadcast was the debate which Trump opted to boycott over his blood-feud with Kelly. Viewers tuned in just to see what Kelly and the other candidates would say about Trump.
Interestingly enough, the 50 percent brand downturn seems to coincide with the most recent feud between the network and the hot-blooded billionaire. Before officially boycotting the debate, Trump said that he was only reconsidering his participation because of Kelly’s involvement. Trump then tweeted this question to his supporters: “Should I do the GOP debate?”
Fox News decided to post an antagonistic reply to Trump’s tweet, stating:
‘We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president — a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.’
While many found Fox’s statement amusing, Trump made it clear that he wasn’t laughing, and he formally announced that he would not be attending the debate via this scathing tweet.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2016
Trump also held a press conference in which he called Kelly a “third-rate reporter” and told his supporters that he’s not going to let Fox “play games” with him, referencing their sarcastic press release. Here’s the YouTube video of that press conference.
All indicators point to Trump’s brand going up. Time will tell if the Fox News brand continues to suffer should Trump decide to go after them again. We live in an interesting time when a single Republican presidential candidate can go toe-to-toe with the most powerful conservative media outlet in the world — and win.
It’s ironic that for years Fox News made billions by playing a significant role in creating the neo-con monsters who are now turning their backs on the Fox News brand and calling themselves Trump supporters.