To those who comment consistently and negatively about the Fox News channel whenever it is mentioned in print, may I ask, What exactly is it you are wishing for?
I began covering the cable news wars, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, and other topics for American Thinker and other publications 20 months ago. (That was after fifty years of paying close attention to – and often reporting on – issues and personalities involving the media. Yes, 5-0 years or a half century.) When I resumed writing about the media again in the spring of 2017, that was barely four months into President Trump’s first term. Already at that point, most of the mainstream media, of which Fox News is an outlying part, was ratcheting up its negative coverage of the new president. Two years later now, that coverage has become close to 100% negative and intolerable, with CNN and MSNBC in particular almost totally unwatchable due to their constant negative bias against everything Trump and their exclusion of other important news.
While its 24/7 programming schedule is not above criticism, including articles I have written, Fox News has emerged as the sole exception in all of MSM broadcast and cable news. Its signature nightly news program, Special Report, anchored M-F by Bret Baier, which recently added weekend editions at the same hour, is head and shoulders above the competition on the two other major cable news channels, the broadcast networks, and PBS.
Two additional hours of live news, at 7 and 11 P.M. E.T., hosted by veteran broadcasters Martha MacCallum and Shannon Bream, are also refreshingly fair and objective. Meanwhile, the core of Fox News’s prime-time schedule – 8-11 P.M. E.T., with each hour-long show during that time period repeated starting at 12 midnight E.T. – features the most credible, newsmaking, and consistently conservative opinion-dominated shows that Fox News has ever presented.
The prime-time schedule of the “good old days” of the Roger Ailes era of Fox News that some people say they miss, for example five years ago, consisted of Bill O’Reilly at 8 P.M., Megyn Kelly at 9, and Sean Hannity at 10. Hannity was the only reliable conservative of the three. Today, and for the past year-plus, Tucker Carlson Tonight at 8, Hannity at 9, and The Ingraham Angle at 10 is arguably the best prime time schedule that Fox News has ever presented.
Since its premiere on November 14, 2016, Tucker Carlson Tonight has quickly evolved into must-see viewing. Carlson is a reliable conservative whose credentials include a twenty-year-long history as a news program host on all three major cable news channels as well as a background as a prolific writer and editor – he co-founded the leading conservative site The Daily Caller in 2010. Videos of Carlson’s nightly opening monologues and his well informed challenges to a variety of left-wing guests frequently go viral and are as good as anything in print or online.
During the past two years, Hannity, one of President Trump’s closest friends, has assembled a regular cast of guests and contributors who have uncovered the web of corruption involving the Obama administration; the Department of Justice; the FBI; and other elements of the Deep State, which has conspired to take down the Trump administration since 2016. He has introduced and brought to prominence guests including Gregg Jarrett, Sara Carter, John Solomon, and Sidney Powell – all of them serious journalists and analysts who have advanced the story of the plots to take down President Trump and absolve Hillary Clinton et al of their crimes.
Mark Levin’s Sunday night show, Life, Liberty & Levin, is the only long-form one-on-one interview program on all of cable news television. His guests are almost always conservative thought leaders who immediately command a viewer’s attention but who otherwise seldom have an opportunity to present their ideas at this length on commercial television.
Early in the mornings, seven days a week, Fox & Friends, one of the closest things to lighter infotainment on the channel’s schedule, also stands alone in terms of quality and openness to conservative guests and ideas compared with all of the other morning programs on both cable and broadcast television. The program’s hosts are clearly right of center, and it’s reportedly one of the president’s favorite shows. Fox & Friends‘ respect for American history and traditions including the military, police officers, and people in flyover states – where a host will often broadcast from remotely – is refreshing.
On the weekends, prime time programs hosted by Jeanine Pirro, Jesse Watters, Greg Gutfeld, and Steve Hilton are also consistently conservative platforms for analyzing the news.
Finally, two recent long-form investigative series, part of the ongoing Scandalous franchise, were among the best television documentaries in recent times. They shed extensive new light on two scandals – involving the Clintons and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) – that finally got the detailed review and treatments they deserved.
Nothing is perfect, and one can find fault with some of the other programs on the FNC schedule. A mid-afternoon news show hosted by Sheppard Smith, who seems as though he’d be more at home on CNN, and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace are two examples. There is also the overabundance of irritating Fox News “contributors” like Jessica Tarlov, Marie Harf, Cathy Areu, and Juan Williams. But they and the other in-house left-wingers never appear without being challenged by an equal or greater number of conservatives.
It should be kept in mind that Fox News has never billed itself as a conservative channel, even though – wink-wink nod-nod – it was in fact designed back in 1996 as a much needed, more fair and balanced alternative to the rest of the MSM. Its motto for many years was “Fair and Balanced,” which means that liberal viewpoints need to be heard. For a more reliably, totally conservative outlet, one can turn to OAN (One American News Network), the BlazeTV, or Newsmax TV, all of which are available on many cable and satellite systems and online. There is always room for more competition.
When major news is breaking, as it did on Friday, January 18, when Buzzfeed’s inaccurate story about the president allegedly suborning perjury was published, it was Fox News that did far and away the best live coverage while the rest of the MSM was screaming “Impeachment” all day and into the night.
[Update Tues Jan 22 10:38 PM EST: All three of tonight’s (Jan 22) Fox News prime time programs are the most recent examples of important TV that should not be ignored. Tucker Carlson Tonight, Hannity, and The Ingraham Angle were as anti-MSM, pro-President Trump, and truthful as anything you will find ANYWHERE.]
A complement to Fox News on cable and satellite is Fox News dot com online – a news and opinion site that is one of the most popular news websites in the U.S., second only to CNN’s.
For those who insist that they never watch Fox News because it’s just another part of the biased and failing MSM, be careful what you wish for. If it drastically changes its current course or somehow disappears from cable TV, I can guarantee that it will be missed.
(An earlier version of this article appeared on January 10, 2019 at American Thinker.)
Peter Barry Chowka writes about politics, media, popular culture, and health care for American Thinker and other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @pchowka.