To many, Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly were some of the most vile, disgusting, hateful, and generally despicable people in the world of media. Serving as two of the most notable faces associated with Fox News from the time Ailes started the network in 1996, the pair built the channel into a machine that made its name by creating controversy and playing on the sentiments of the most extreme viewpoints of conservatives.
However, the recent scandal that emboldened Ailes and O’Reilly, made many feel that birds of a feather truly do flock together. It was seemingly in that sense of togetherness that led to both male’s demise and ultimately left the deceased Ailes with a tarnished legacy.
Further tarnishing Ailes’ legacy is the current state of Fox News. For the last several days, the network has fallen behind MSNBC and CNN in the key demographic of adults ages 25-54, as reflected in the tweets below:
CNN release says Fox News was #3 in prime time ratings for 5 straight days last week, for first time in 17 years. pic.twitter.com/6o9edrKLpE
— Tom Gara (@tomgara) May 22, 2017
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) May 20, 2017
There is a lot of speculation around the sudden and sharp decline of Fox’s ratings. At the top of the list of things/people to blame are the sexual harassment allegations against Ailes and O’Reilly as well as their failure to cover the lack of honor, and diplomacy that Donald Trump has displayed while in office thus far.
With a new Trump scandal unraveling before the world’s eyes each day, Fox News has found itself in the difficult place of defending Trump or aligning itself with the networks working hard to truly report fair and balanced news. The unfortunate reality for Fox is that there is no in between where the lies of the Trump administration is concerned, so the network’s lack of willingness/ability to truly take a stance and report the story of the minute, day, hour, is a turnoff for many of its hardcore viewers.
In fact, Joe Scarborough, someone who usually buys into and himself reports much of the same rhetoric as Fox News, tweeted about the channel’s ratings decline:
FNC has been in 3rd place because:
1. Conservative intensity has plummeted
2. They’re not covering THE story. https://t.co/U2hhPE3ekw
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) May 18, 2017
It is still quite early to truly determine how long of a downward spiral Fox News will experience, or if/how the network will adjust. However, one thing is for sure, the house that Ailes and O’Reilly built, is definitely not as strong.
Featured Image via Getty Images/The Washington Post/Contributor.