Every year Fox News has dominated the airwaves, hauling in an amazing billion-dollar profit for Rupert Murdoch and his two sons – until now. Yet, with key on-air personalities jumping off the network to save themselves and others forced away, things are looking bad.
Sarah Ellison of Vanity Fair did a revealing piece on the sharp drop of 21st Century Fox’s cable news ratings to third place, after CNN and MSNBC. Sexual harassment and lawsuits forced former Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes out of the organization. That was the start the downward spiral. Ailes died earlier this year.
One of his former employees told Ellison:
‘They are feeling the pinch. They are trying different things with no real leadership, and trying to see what can stick.’
Ellison wrote in Vanity that the loss of one of the premier hosts, Megyn Kelly, to NBC left remaining staffers depressed:
‘Weeks after the unexpected death of ousted co-founder Roger Ailes, and the
shocking departures of anchor Bill O’Reilly and Ailes’s former deputy Bill
Shine, whom one former Fox News executive called Ailes’s spiritual “brother,”
the existential angst within the company’s subterranean newsroom has
reached a deeper level.’
The elder Murdoch has been the face of the old way of doing things at Fox, but as his two sons are rising to leadership roles, things are changing. James and Lachlan Murdoch are sensitive to the negative economic power of sexual abuse in the workplace.
In fact, the sons are reportedly “embarrassed” by the old boys’ club mentality of sexual harassment and racial meanness. Instead, the younger Murdochs have been looking to move the organization toward a more serious medium.
Until a rash of scandals in 2016, the network captured the profitable 25-to-55-year-old audience. Yet advertisers began dropping away from top rating hours, threatening even the most firmly planted pundits.
Bill O’Reilly was the cornerstone of Fox for over 20 years. However, those vital advertisers pulled out at a stunning rate after allegations about his sexual and racial harassment became public. The network fired him.
Sean Hannity has hurt himself badly by diving into conspiracies, such as insisting someone had murdered Democratic staffer Seth Rich. Yet, the network is keeping him, because they just do not have any viable replacements.
Both Greta van Susteren and Megyn Kelly left Fox for the greener financial pastures of NBC. In her Sunday night premier, Kelly interviewed Russian President Vladimir Putin, and locked her value firmly in place.
Ellison reported about how the remaining Fox employees felt about Kelly in Vanity:
‘Her hair was too beachy, one told me; her makeup too flat.’
Another Fox employee told Ellison, as reported in Vanity:
‘No one wishes her ill will/ But I didn’t read any good reviews of her performance, let’s just say that.’
So what does that mean for the future of Fox News? A former Fox executive told Ellison:
‘IF RUPERT IS STILL IN POSITION, HE’S NOT GOING TO LET YOU CHANGE A WHOLE HECK OF A LOT. BUT I’M NOT SURE JAMES AND LACHLAN HAVE AN IDEA [OF WHAT THEY WANT TO DO] AS MUCH AS THEY REALIZE THAT SOME SIGNIFICANT CHANGE HAS TO OCCUR. IT’S BEEN AN EMBARRASSMENT, AND THAT PRECEDES THE SCANDAL.’
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow blasted to the highest ratings peak, putting both Fox News and CNN to shame.
Check out this video of Megyn Kelly interviewing Putin:
Megyn Kelly tries to press Putin on Russian interference with U.S. affairs, to no avail. pic.twitter.com/t2VwBZbaHR
— DESUS & MERO (@desusandmero) June 6, 2017
Featured Image: Getty Images/Drew Angerer.