- - Tuesday, November 17, 2020

In the last week, Fox News has come under significant criticism from the right. 

Their Decision Desk made an early call with Arizona for Joe Biden, which is retrospect appeared premature.

Nonetheless, while the margin would narrow in the days that followed, former Vice President Joe Biden maintained his lead and now the major media organizations have called the state for Mr. Biden.

So, Fox News was not wrong; Fox News was just early.

It is important to understand what Fox News is — and what it is not.

Before Fox News, consumers had the major networks and CNN and that was it. In the cable news era, it now has CNN and MSNBC on the left, and Fox News on the right.

In prime time, Fox News offers the only lineup of conservative programming with stars Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham.

What conservatives must consider is whether a weaker Fox News is a good thing for the conservative movement. In my view, the answer is absolutely not.

Only Fox News can reach tens of millions of viewers. Competitors like Newsmax and OANN are not widely available, reaching only a small fraction of Fox News’ audience, which they built up over two decades.

Without Fox News, what media organization with a large audience would have called attention to violence in our cities, censorship on social media platforms, the downside of lockdowns and liberal media bias?

Fox News covered legitimate questions about Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings better and more doggedly than anyone. MSNBC, CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC engaged in a media blackout.

The single most consequential interview for that story was conducted by Tucker Carlson with former Biden business associate and whistleblower Tony Bobulinski, which was viewed by more than 7 million people.

I do not love everything on Fox News. There are options available to me and to every viewer.

But conservatives need to ask themselves: Who benefits from a weaker Fox News?

The answer is the left.

Media Matters and left-wing activists have been trying to take down Fox News for years, organizing advertiser boycotts, calling for talent to be fired and constantly attacking Fox News employees. Ask yourself this question: Why is it that the left wants to cancel Fox News?

They have been doing this because Fox News has a large audience, and Fox News shapes public opinion with conservative programming.

As someone who works with campaigns, advertising on Fox News in primary races is the single most important budget expenditure in any election cycle.

No media organization is above criticism. Fox News should explain its editorial judgments when they are questioned, as they were in the case of the call on Arizona. But the call proved to be right and it never needed to be retracted. This is a fact.

I never thought I would see the day when Republicans would do the left’s work for them by trying to weaken the most important media organization on the right.

• Matt Mackowiak is president of Potomac Strategy Group, LLC. He’s a Republican consultant, a Bush administration and Bush-Cheney reelection campaign veteran and former press secretary to two U.S. senators.

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