Now that the monster Roger Ailes has been slain and the palace that he built, Fox News Channel, has been revealed to be a catacomb of sexual harassment chambers built to satisfy the old goat, a power shift is taking place ahead of schedule at the company. The shift was inevitable as the 76-year-old executive was going to retire or expire in the coming years, and the 85-year-old primary owner of the channel, Rupert Murdoch, is likewise reaching the end of his actuarial limit. Soon, control of the insanely profitable ($1.5 billion a year) channel will fall to Murdoch's empowered heirs, sons James and Lachlan, and with it will come the opportunity to rethink how to position the conservative TV audience’s guiding spirit. Will they seize the opportunity? ...
But for all the success Fox News Channel has reaped, it may have hit its ceiling. ...
“I do think the Fox formula, as incredibly successful as it’s been, will change in the next few years,” says Ailes biographer Kerwin Swint, a professor of political science at Kennesaw State University. “And that’s because it has to. The media landscape changes, and media habits and culture moves on. It seems to me as if Fox has already become less overtly partisan in its coverage, if not its commentary. Megyn Kelly deserves a lot of the credit for that.”
Swint points to the network’s aging audience, which at 68 is the highest among the cable news networks, and is also 98 percent white. “With Ailes gone, they have lost their spiritual father. They will need a new identity. I think James Murdoch has quite a different vision for Fox than Ailes had. But he will move slowly, his father will insist on maintaining the ‘brand.’ And if Trump loses in November, which is quite likely, Fox management will have some decisions to make about their direction, similar in some ways to the Republican Party: ‘What does the future look like?’”
Kennesaw State Unversity politcal science professor Kerwin Swint is one of three analysts discussing the Republican debate on the News Radio 106.7's Republican Debate Roundtable with Steve McCoy and Cheryl White. The debate aired Thursday night on Fox News. Click on the link to hear Swint's analysis of the debate, with highlights of his perspecives at 3:34, 18:20, 28:55, 41:55 and 43:54.
Whether a Democrat or a Republican is inaugurated president next year, the conservative commentators Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity will still be in their respective studios, holding forth for the Fox News Channel.
The two men, whose contracts are up after the presidential election this year, are on the verge of renewing their contracts through the 2016 election season, according to people with knowledge of the negotiations. The people insisted on anonymity because the negotiations were confidential.
The renewals would cement in place the two critical pieces of Fox’s programming lineup: the point-of-view talk shows “The O’Reilly Factor” at 8 p.m. and “Hannity” at 9 p.m. As the two most popular programs on the channel, “The O’Reilly Factor” and “Hannity” help to make Fox News a profit center for the News Corporation, the media company controlled by Rupert Murdoch. Fox News is expected to make $1 billion in profit this year.
Mr. O’Reilly and Mr. Hannity’s willingness to stay at Fox, and Fox’s willingness to have them stay, came as no surprise to staff members at the channel or at its cable news rivals, some of whom cited the adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” when talking about Fox’s prime-time schedule. ... ... m ...
The “twin pillars of the operation,” Mr. O’Reilly and Mr. Hannity are “proven personalities, proven moneymakers,” said Kerwin Swint, a professor at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, who has written a book about Roger Ailes, the Fox News chairman.
He surmised of Mr. Ailes, “he’s going to try to lock them up as long as he can.”
Fox News is famous for its iconoclastic conservative take on US politics, while rival MSNBC is seen by some experts as becoming its liberal equivalent. But do cable news stations influence election campaigns?
For the best part of a decade Fox News has been the dominant US cable news network.
Its blend of jaunty news during the day, and colourful conservative pundits - like Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck - during the evening has proved a popular formula.
Beck has gained notoriety. His eponymous show on Fox News, where he can weave together targets as diverse as Woodrow Wilson, the Black Panthers and Goebbels in a heady hour-long polemic, is watched by 2.5 million people, despite being hours before primetime. It beats its rivals on the other cable news networks more than 4-1. Fox News is for Americans who have felt for years that the media are dominated by the East Coast liberal elites that make decisions that don't reflect the rest of America”
Fox News's dominance has caused concern for some on the other side of the political divide. ...
For all of Fox News's alleged partisanship, there are some analysts who feel MSNBC is going the same way - turning into a liberal version of Fox News.
"It's definitely there," says Prof Kerwin Swint, author of Dark Genius: The Influential Career of Legendary Political Operative and Fox News Founder, Roger Ailes.
"You can see their progression of following the lead of Fox News."