- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Fox News remains the kingpin network. It is must-see TV for President Trump, and often is cited as an important influence on policy and the daily political narrative.  More than 11.5 million viewers tuned in to Fox News for Mr. Trump’s State of the Union address last month; the cable channel bested not only CNN and MSNBC but the big traditional broadcasters as well. CBS, NBC and ABC also were left in the dust. The network does not appear to rest on its laurels, however, as it is pushing strategic new offerings and continuing to credit loyal viewers for its success — a canny business model.

Case in point: Fox News is preparing to debut “Life, Liberty & Levin” — programming meant to add zest to a typical Sunday night.

“Hosted by nationally syndicated radio talk show personality Mark Levin, the hour-long show will explore the fundamental values and principles undergirding American society, culture, politics, and current events, and their relevance to the nation’s future and everyday lives of citizens,” the network advises, noting that the first episode airs at 10 p.m. Sunday and features syndicated columnist and author Walter E. Williams, a George Mason University economics professor.

Fox News is not done, though. The network also will launch — in its own words — an “over-the-top opinion platform” called Fox Nation, currently in development and slated to go live in a few months.

“With our traditional cable viewership at an all-time high, we are proud to announce a new digital offering geared entirely toward the Fox News superfans, who represent the most loyal audience in cable, if not all of television,” says an enthusiastic John Finley, senior vice president of development and production for the network, which has remained the No. 1 cable news channel for 16 years and now consistently tops the entire cable realm, besting such rivals as ESPN and HGTV.

And about the new demographic. The superfan.

“This initiative will capitalize on providing that viewer, who is among the most affluent and well educated in cable, with a highly specialized content experience on a platform they can watch anytime, anywhere,” says Mr. Finley.

And what exactly is Fox Nation? The new offering will take “a deep dive” into the big issues of the moment via live, exclusive streaming content and long-form programming available only to subscribers. No ads.

Fox Nation will include access to exclusive events and two decades’ worth of archival Fox News programming not available anywhere else — plus interaction with familiar opinion hosts and personalities.

Again, a good business model. Fox News could gain an additional, potentially huge audience considering that FoxNews.com garnered 1.4 billion views of stories, videos and other content in the month of January alone, according to comScore, an industry source.


The “Throw them out campaign” was launched Tuesday by Everytown for Gun Safety, a jumbo-sized initiative essentially funded by billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The new campaign is described as “an action plan to kick out lawmakers beholden to the gun lobby” and includes a voter-registration drive, a pledge to support the cause, a guide to “NRA money,” identification of “gun sense candidates” and other such outreach.

“In November, we will fight to throw out every lawmaker unwilling to stand up for public safety, and if candidates won’t stand up to the gun lobby, we will run ourselves,” declares Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a grass-roots activist group.


Meanwhile, Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, is troubled by the news media at the moment.

“The heartbreaking attack on students and faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida is made even more terrible because the suspect is getting more than his share of fame. His face has been all over television and newspaper front pages, and there is a concern that this kind of attention might inspire somebody else to seek this same kind of infamy,” says Mr. Gottlieb, who cites recommendations from a Texas State University project titled “Don’t Name Them” that recommends the press report the facts and criminal charges and leave it at that.

“We certainly recognize the duty of the media to legitimately report the news, and the press must remain free to do its job. Maybe all we’re suggesting is that the media be as responsible with their First Amendment rights as they demand gun owners should be when exercising their Second Amendment rights,” observes Mr. Gottlieb.


“Small-business confidence is surging in 2018 as optimism rises among small-business owners about the newly enacted tax-reform package,” says a CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business survey released Tuesday, revealing that a record 62 percent express confidence in the marketplace.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, meanwhile, continues to track the number of businesses now offering employee bonuses, pay raises and other benefits inspired by President Trump‘s tax reform policies. Close to 400 business concerns, both large and small, have joined the generosity roster.

The latest: J.M. Smucker Co. — maker of famous jams and jellies and the parent company of Folger’s, Jif, Crisco, Dunkin’ Donuts, Pillsbury, Milk-Bone and other brands. The company employs 5,000 employees and is giving each and every one of them a $1,000 bonus, and has made a $20 million contribution to their pension plan — fueled, says CEO Mark T. Smucker, “by the benefits of U.S. income tax reform and ongoing cost discipline.”


64 percent of those who hold a doctoral degree say their education was “worth the cost.”

58 percent of those who have a medical degree, 49 percent of those with master’s of science and 45 percent of those with a master’s of arts agree.

42 percent of those with a master’s in business and 23 percent of those with a law degree also agree.

50 percent of those with a medical degree say their studies prepared them for “life outside of graduate school.”

30 percent of those with a doctoral degree, 30 percent of those with a master’s of science and 24 percent of those with master’s of art agree.

23 percent of those with master’s in business and 20 percent with a law degree also agree.

Source: A Gallup/Purdue University poll of 4,105 U.S. adults with a master’s degree or higher conducted Jan. 25-Feb. 23, 2016 and released Monday.

Churlish remarks and happy applause to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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