Q&A of the Day – Done with Fox News? What now? Who can you trust?
Each day I’ll feature a listener question that’s been submitted by one of these methods.
Facebook: Brian Mudd https://www.facebook.com/brian.mudd1
Today’s entry: Brian, I feel betrayed by Fox News and like I have nowhere to go for information anymore outside of radio and blogs. I’ve started watching OAN and Newsmax but it’s obvious they don’t have the same depth in reporting as the other networks. You've done work for Newsmax and Fox News right? What do you really know about what really goes on behind the scenes? What network do you think is the best right now and do you have any thoughts on where a lost Fox News loyalist can turn for news?
Bottom Line: I hear you and understand. And I’ve heard from many listeners in the same place. I’m not sure how helpful I can be, but I’ll try. I’ve been waiting out this week observing reporting practices by networks to get a clearer picture of what’s really going on. In short, more of the same of what we saw last week. In many cases it’s worse. There are two quick ways to judge the integrity of the reporting this week. Called races which aren’t yet decided and the characterization of Joe Biden.
For many disenfranchised Fox News consumers, the major catalyst for distrust began Election Night when the network became the first to call Arizona, which as of my creation of this story, still had more votes uncounted than separates Biden and Trump a week and a half later. It’s easily the most irresponsible call since the debacle by many news outlets in Florida’s 2000 election. But it wasn’t just that call, it was also the House. Breaching a universal journalism standard adopted after the Florida 2000 debacle, news organizations aren’t to call races in which voters are still voting. When Fox News called control of the House for Democrats, all polls in western states were still open. Additionally, they projected 5 pickups for Democrats. A week and a half later, 20 races are still too close to call, Republicans have gained a minimum of 6 seats and control of the House still isn’t settled. Every member of the Fox News Decision Desk should be fired. They violated accepted standards of journalism and were demonstrably wrong in their rushed judgements. It really doesn’t get any worse. So yes, for as poor as the judgement and reporting was and usually is from all other networks, Fox News was the worst on Election Day. Now, about the characterization of Joe Biden.
On Saturday the Associated Press, in conjunction with NBC News, decided they’d become king makers anointing Joe Biden President-Elect. Almost immediately thereafter almost all other news networks went along with the narrative. Throughout the course of this week, I’ve taken great care to explain why Joe Biden isn’t President-Elect and why it’s irresponsible and frankly an affront to our Republic for him to currently be characterized as such. The only two networks which haven’t used the premature characterization are the two you mentioned. OAN and Newsmax. In this regard they’ve been the most accurate in their reporting. But you brought up an important point. The depth in the reporting. There’s no doubt the size and scale of the news operations at all other national new organizations dwarfs what's happening at OAN and Newsmax. But then again, the same was true once upon with Fox News as well. As the popularity of Fox News grew, so did revenue and thus the size of the news operations as well. Perhaps they’ll be a repeat with these two networks? As for what I know and do etc...
The credibility crisis at Fox News, and other networks, is less impactful to me than most listeners. I spend most of my time researching and investigating stories myself, thus there’s little time to traditionally consume news. Now, when I do, I’m watching Newsmax more than others, but I do still bounce around a little as well. Which is probably what it’s going to be like for a while on my end. For most of my adult life I’ve used different networks for different things. For breaking news I’d tune to CNN. For in-depth foreign policy reporting I'd use CBS News. For pure journalism I’d tune into Tim Russert on NBC. For editorial perspective I’d use Fox News. Times change though. Tim Russert passed away, the final straw for me with CNN was their handling of the Dallas police shootings in 2016. With each of those occurrences Fox News filled the gap for me, to the point to where they eventually became my go to for just about everything. But my change in behavior started well before this election cycle. Catherine Herriage, whom I believe is the best foreign policy reporter in the world, transplanted from Fox News to CBS. I started to follow some of her work on CBS. Around that same time Newsmax began to up its game and became part of the rotation. So, here’s the deal from my perspective.
You can still rely on Tucker being Tucker and Hannity being Hannity on Fox News if that’s what you’re looking for. Otherwise, Newsmax and OAN will have to grow to have the resources needed to become as in-depth as the major networks. As for my work with any of them... Full disclosure, I’m currently active with iHeartMedia and Cumulus Media (syndicator of Mark Levin) in radio and the BBC networks, Fox News (Newscorp) and Newsmax TV on the TV side. My only contractual obligation is to iHeart. Regarding what I know behind the scenes...not much. My contact within TV news networks is limited to the producers and news talent/reporters and is specific to them and their shows rather than the networks broadly.
The only TV network executive I know and interact with is Chris Ruddy at Newsmax. I’ve known Chris for many years and consider him a friend. In fact, I remember having lunch with him several years ago when he told me he was thinking of launching a TV network to rival Fox News and wanted my thoughts. I was one of the earlier guest contributors on the network back in 2014 (here’s a segment from that era). Anyway, I can tell you that as long as Ruddy is running the show at Newsmax it’ll be reliable for libertarian minded conservatives.
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