A control room at the Fox News Channel, New York City

BY PETER BARRY CHOWKA The channel with the most fair and balanced news and the most conservative prime time opinion lineup blows away the competition.

This past week witnessed Fox News pull far ahead of its major cable news competitors CNN and MSNBC – setting itself up for the largest weekly ratings victory since at least last fall, if not earlier, in the critical Nielsen Research television audience measurements. In recent months, the lead in the important cable news evening shows has seesawed between Fox News (FNC) and MSNBC, with Fox usually leading in total viewers and MSNBC often winning the so-called advertiser preferred prime demo (viewers 25-54). But not last week.

Starting on Monday May 7 and for the next three nights (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) – Friday’s ratings won’t be available until Monday May 14 – FNC basically trounced MSNBC and CNN in both total viewers and the demo and by significant margins. The pre- and post-prime time hours (7-8 P.M. and 11 P.M. to 12 midnight E.T.) were also handily won in both metrics on the four nights by Fox News. This was no seesaw – it was a rout.

Analyzing the ups and downs of TV ratings, especially in the highly competitive cable news world, is not easy – it’s a classic case of trying to read the tea leaves. One theory holds that positive news for President Trump translates to more viewers tuning in to Fox, the only channel that gives him anything close to a fair shake. This past week was a very good one for President Trump with the release of the three Americans held by North Korea after Secretary of State Pompeo’s latest trip to North Korea, the setting of a date and location for President Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jung-un, and the POTUS honoring his campaign pledge to withdraw from the seriously flawed Iran nuclear deal which pleased his base. When the real news favors Trump, viewership of Fox News tends to go up. Similarly, when the Resistance pours some new gasoline on the fires of the Mueller investigation or the left’s cries for Impeachment!, the anti-Trump channels MSNBC and even last place CNN see a rise in their numbers.

Whatever the cause, the recent breakaway lead for Fox News is significant because it suggests that the latest heightened efforts by the left wing enemies of the channel targeting two of its prime time hosts, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity, have fallen flat. After last February’s Parkland, Florida high school shooting, Ingraham, who broadcasts at 10 P.M., was singled out for an attempted advertiser and viewer boycott. This followed her mild Twitter critique on March 28 – which in reality was little more than a mere mention – of Parkland student anti-gun activist David Hogg, the new darling of the left. Ingraham’s tweet came six weeks after the school shooting during which Hogg had publicly emerged as a major, insistent, in-your-face voice of the anti-Second Amendment political movement in the United States. Always ready to dish it out but apparently not able to take it, Hogg immediately called for a mass boycott of Ingraham’s show’s advertisers and at one point more than 20 of them had reportedly pulled their ads. The aim of the Hogg-instigated boycott was to have Ingraham taken off the air. When Ingraham returned from a week long Easter vacation, however, her ratings went up.

President Donald J. Trump and Sean Hannity at the White House, January 2017

Sean Hannity, Fox News’s #1 personality, has been vilified and targeted for elimination several times during the past year. He has described these attempts by leftist groups like Media Matters as looking to deliver a “kill shot” to his broadcasting career. Last month, two more attempts were made to smear Hannity in hopes of taking him out, initially by associating him with Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, the current bête noire of the American political and media establishment. When there wasn’t much substance to that attempt at guilt by association, The Guardian in the UK was enlisted by the anti-Trump Resistance and, on April 23, citing leaked confidential financial documents, published an article revealing that Hannity had invested $90 million of his savings in real estate – de facto villainy in the view of the collectivists who now comprise the Deep State Democrat-dominated MSM.

The vaguely implied “crimes” associated with Hannity’s investment – that he was a heartless slumlord who benefitted from Federally-guaranteed loans, and/or a hypocrite for taking Federal money – were quickly debunked, surprisingly by a prominent outpost of the MSM itself – the New Yorker magazine. The same day the Guardian story appeared, the New Yorker dispatched one of its writers to a Hannity-owned apartment complex in Georgia. After spending a few hours nosing around there, he and the accompanying photos a New Yorker magazine photographer took of the place documented a situation that highlighted Hannity’s sound and responsible stewardship of a large and appealing middle class rental property.

Not quite finished with the bones of this story, however, the Washington Post, in its latest attempt to keep the tale alive, only two days ago ran a lengthy update, “At Sean Hannity properties in working-class areas, an aggressive approach to rent collection.” As usual, there is not much “there” to the story and therefore nothing in it is really worth quoting. Among the 2,400 reader comments to the article at the time of this writing, this one seemed to best sum it up: “Curious what the Washington Post does when you stop paying Subscription fees.”

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran reporter and analyst of news on national politics, media, and popular culture.  He is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.  Follow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka.

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Peter is an author, journalist, media analyst and commentator on a wide range of issues including national politics, health care, media and popular culture. He has over four decades of experience reporting for a variety of publications and media. During the past year, Peter has written over 125 articles for American Thinker and his work has also appeared in several other major publications.