Back in February,
I reported the news that, in 2013, black viewers accounted for only a measly 1.1.
percent of all viewers of Fox News (HERE). Well, last week, Nielsen viewer numbers for 2014 came out, and, guess what, the number
of black viewers dropped even lower, to just one
percent. That’s 1 as in…1. With an average viewership of just over 2 million,
that means that only about 20,000 of them are black on any given night.
think about it, that’s really staggering. I can’t think of another network that
gets that low a number of black viewers, which means that, either things are not working out at Fox News or, more accurately, things are working out fine, just
the way they like it.
That 1.1% of
black viewers compares with MSNBC, of which about 24% of its average audience is
black, and CNN which gets about 16% black viewership. And remember that Fox News gets more than twice the daily audience of either MSNBC
or CNN, and yet their black viewership is far larger than Fox’s.
But that shouldn’t
really be a surprise, is it? And considering all the news in the past few
months centered on ending racial strife in America, and Fox’s predictable plantation massa take on it, why should
the network get any black viewers at all? In fact that 1.1% is, for my money, too
the deal, Fox is employing an old strategy that has worked for decades. In other
words, you can’t go broke pandering to the fears of white men. It’s a tactic
that the media has been using that dates back to the 1930’s, with Father Coughlin
(look him up), and even before that. White guys, and in particular working class
white guys, live in perpetual fear. Fear that everything is going to be taken
away from them. Their jobs, their status, their homes, their white women, you
name it. And the media, long ago, discovered that, if you play on those fears, it’s
cash money in the bank.
thing to keep in mind always is that, the average age of the typical Fox News viewer is
68.8 years. That’s a fact, no joke. And the network skillfully knows how to
play to its aged audience. As conservative David Frum, who’s no fan of Fox News (which he calls the network for the “anxious
elderly”) wrote almost a year ago: “Fox was
carefully designed to look like a TV show from the 1970s: no holograms, no
urban hipster studios, lots of primary colors.”
And he further
added that: “in other respects too, Fox
offered a path back to a vanishing past. Here was a place in which men were
firmly in charge, and in which women were valued most for their physical
attractiveness. Here was a place in which ethnic minorities appeared only in
secondary roles — and then, with brave exceptions, only to affirm the
rightness of the opinions of the white males in the primary roles.”
Frum is a staunch conservative, yet he can see through Fox News’s apparently hypnotic gaze.
thing to keep in mind is that, though Fox is still firmly the No.1 news network on
cable, its audience actually dropped almost 25% this year. And since, as I previously
mentioned, that the average age of the audience is 69 years old, the reality is
that Fox News’ audience is literally dying off.
they may average 2 million viewers a week, that’s nothing compared to many
other cable networks, such as ESPN, which gets 12 million viewers on average, or
shows such as “The Walking Dead,” which gets an astounding 18 million viewers an episode, and another 10 million from repeat viewings and on-demand, becoming the most
watched show on cable, possibly beating out every show on network TV as
think it can attract black viewers by having on the network black so-called pundits, like the washed up Stacey Dash, who was famous mainly for “Clueless,” and her Playboy spread (well maybe she’s not all bad…)? Of course not. Dash and others like her are on the
network to appease and comfort the network’s elderly white audience, by having black
sell-outs who broadly generalize, and say the worst things about black people
that would even make the Grand Kleagle of the KKK say, “Whoa! That went too far!”
So what does
the future hold for Fox News? More deaths of their core audience, which means less viewers, and a black viewership inching closer to 0%. But don’t expect anything to
change soon. They’re still making money hand over fist (for now), but always remember that
their bark is much worse than their bite.