- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Fox News has fierce, faithful viewers, and their affection has paid off. Despite personnel changes and assorted challenges, Fox News has enjoyed its highest-rated year since it was founded 21 years ago. The network is beating its news competition — along with everyone else in the competitive cable realm.

At year’s end, Fox News marks its second consecutive year as the most-watched cable network of all according to Nielsen Media Research, besting ESPN, HGTV and other high-profile providers. In the news realm, Fox News now marks its 16th year at No. 1, garnering 2.4 million prime time viewers compared to 1.6 million for MSNBC and 1 million for CNN. Veteran prime time host Sean Hannity drew the largest audiences across all cable news programming, typically drawing 3.2 million viewers.

“Fox News has continued to prove its dominance in the television landscape despite many changes and one of the most intense news years on record. For a news channel to experience growth following an election year is unprecedented and we are grateful to our loyal viewers for once again making us the most-watched network in all of cable,” says Suzanne Scott, president of programming.

Fox News also dominated all-important social media, ranking as “the top news brand in total social engagement in the world” by Shareablee, an industry group measuring social outreach. Fox was also deemed “the top-tweeted news outlet for the year” by Twitter itself.

The online reach of Fox News Digital is gigantic. The network “had its most successful year ever across major metrics,” said comScore, another industry group. This year, Fox enjoyed a 29 percent increase of total online visitors — 96 million people arrived at the Fox News website in October alone.

Fox Business Network also has good news, marking its first yearly win over CNBC with record ratings, according to Nielsen. Fox Business also broadcast five of the six top-rated programs of the year in all of business television.

“From the Dow all-time highs to the SNAP IPO, Fox Business News comes out on top when major business news breaks, proving that we have become not only the most watched but the most trusted source for business news,” notes Brian Jones, president of the network.

TRUMP COVERAGE: 90% HOSTILE

The working relationship between President Trump and the news media continues to erode, and many journalists appear aggressively hostile toward the president, according to new research from the Media Research Center, a conservative press watchdog. The new study of major broadcast coverage reveals that 90 percent of statements made by reporters and nonpartisan sources the last three months on ABC, NBC and CBS evening newscasts about Mr. Trump and his administration were negative.

It’s all in the numbers. The analysts found 1,123 out of 1,228 statements made about the president on the “Big Three” news networks during September, October and November were critical of Mr. Trump. Only 105 of the statements were considered positive in tone or content.

“As the Media Research Center has been documenting all year, the media have approached the Trump presidency with unrelenting hostility,” wrote Rich Noyes, director of research for the organization.

“Even as the media whine about Trump, their hostile coverage shows no let up. Our study of news in June, July and August found an identical rate of 91 percent negative coverage — which means TV news is unchanged in its hostility toward the president,” Mr. Noyes said.

A MELANIA MOMENT

As her own family prepares to enjoy their first Christmas in the White House, first lady Melania Trump continues her gracious public outreach to the nation, in the last week visiting hospitalized kids and comforting Texans still homeless following Hurricane Harvey. On Wednesday, Mrs. Trump heads for a military base near the nation’s capital with a merry mission in mind, sorting and boxing toys on behalf of the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Campaign.

It’s a lot of toys. The campaign reports that since its founding in 1947, the program has distributed 530 million toys to 244 million American kids — and more are always on the way.

‘THE GILLIBRAND GRIFT’

“Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has very firm and principled political beliefs, and she’ll continue to have them so long as it’s politically expedient,” reports the Republican National Committee in a detailed report on the New York Democrat’s activities, citing 35 references from news reports, her voting record and even a press release from the senator’s office.

Mrs. Gillibrand — whose name comes up time and again as a presidential candidate — has become increasingly visible on the national stage, where she is speaking out on women’s issues and other matters, and publicly sparring with President Trump. Their most recent Twitter exchange offers “a possible 2020 preview,” suggested John T. Bennett, White House correspondent for Roll Call.

Republicans deem her outreach as “the Gillibrand grift,” and have been tracking her record.

“Since moving from the House of Representatives to the Senate in 2009, Sen. Gillibrand moved to the far left in an attempt to curry political favor; in fact, she was so quick to shift her positions on issues that Sen. Chuck Schumer had to tell her to ‘slow down.’ In the House, Gillibrand once opposed amnesty for illegal immigrants, calling amnesty legislation ‘fatally flawed,’ but now Gillibrand supports the DREAM ACT and has threatened a government shutdown over DACA,” the GOP noted in its report.

“In the House, Gillibrand received an ‘A’ rating from the NRA, but when she joined the U.S. Senate she flip-flopped on gun control issues and her NRA rating was downgraded to an ‘F’ rating. Gillibrand, a lawyer educated at UCLA Law, justified her flip-flops on immigration and gun control by saying she didn’t fully understand the issues — despite the fact she was a member of Congress at the time,” the report said.

“Although relying on former President Bill Clinton for endorsements and fundraising throughout her political career, Gillibrand turned on her longtime booster in what one Clinton aide saw as hypocrisy motivated by 2020 posturing,” the research concluded.

POLL DU JOUR

47 percent of Americans plan on attending a “small family gathering” for their holiday season party.

24 percent are not attending any holiday party.

22 percent will attend a “small gathering with friends,” 18 percent will attend a “large family gathering.”

13 percent will attend a party with co-workers, 6 percent a “large gathering with friends.”

Source: A YouGov Omnibus Poll of 1,159 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 8-11.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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