- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The numbers are telling. After the considerable media hubbub surrounding the arrival of President Biden and his administration, competition among the cable news channels seems to have settled back into a familiar pattern which has persisted for 19 years. Fox News is the most watched cable network after a short stint at a lower ranking.

Fox News dominated the airwaves last week during daytime and prime-time viewing, according to Nielsen Media Research, boasting a peak audience of 2.5 million viewers. MSNBC followed with 1.9 million and CNN with 1.6 million — along with non-news rivals as HGTV (1.1 million) and the History Channel (1 million).

A pair of prime-time hosts with straightforward views and signature styles remain at the very top.

Tucker Carlson Tonight” delivered the highest-rated cable news program in all categories with 3.5 million viewers — besting CNN’s heavily promoted town hall with Mr. Biden. Sean Hannity held second place with 3.1 million viewers for his nightly hour.

There are also a few changes in the nation’s capital, says network president and executive editor Jay Wallace, who reveals that Mike Emanuel has been promoted to chief correspondent in Washington. National reporter Jacqui Heinrich will transition to congressional correspondent, alongside veteran D.C. correspondent Chad Pergram. In the meantime, Fox News appears to be stable, on message and on mission.



“We believe where we’re targeted — to the center-right — is exactly where we should be targeted. It’s where we’ve been. We don’t need to go further right, we don’t believe America is further right,” Fox News CEO Lachlan Murdoch said in a recent company earnings call with the press.

“We’re obviously not going to pivot left. All of our significant competitors are to the far left. So we’ll stick where we are, and we think that’s exactly right and that’s the best thing for the business, and for our viewers,” he noted.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WARRIOR

She spent challenging days on the front lines of the media wars and emerged with a new public calling.

That would be former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, now running for governor of Arkansas, an office her father and former presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee held from 1996 to 2007.

The daughter has launched a fierce campaign.

“I believe strongly that Arkansas needs a leader with the courage to do what’s right — not what’s politically correct or convenient. As governor, I will not be intimidated by the serious challenges we face. I will courageously lead,” Mrs. Sanders advises in a new campaign outreach.

She vows to support law enforcement, prohibit sanctuary cities, reject heavy-handed environmental policies, lower income taxes, reduce bureaucracy, and champion good schools and job training.

“As governor, I will defend your right to be free of socialism and tyranny, your Second Amendment right to keep your family safe, and your freedom of speech and religious liberty. I will not be intimidated by the serious challenges we face. I will not stand by and allow my home to be hurt by the radical policies coming out of Washington,” the candidate says.

A CREDIT CHECK

This inquiry will likely surface again in the future. A lot.

“You guys are taking credit for stuff that the previous administration did. Yes or no?”

The question was for State Department spokesman Ned Price, posed by Matt Lee, an Associated Press reporter who wondered whether the Biden administration — in power for just a month — was positioning itself to look responsible for muting the influence of Nord Stream 2, a proposed undersea Russian pipeline that would bring natural gas to Germany.

Former President Donald Trump already took care of that concern two months ago when he signed off on a law that imposed sanctions on business concerns that supported the pipeline.

Mr. Trump also anticipated his Democratic foes would try to steal his thunder in the future. The Daily Beast reported on Nov. 17 that Mr. Trump was concerned the incoming Biden administration would lay claim to the significant progress he made countering the COVID-19 pandemic. That worry, however, got neutralized this week.

National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins advised “Axios on HBO” on Monday that the Trump administration deserves credit for the “breathtaking” speed of COVID vaccine development.

The fact that the vaccine emerged “11 months from when we first knew about this virus is at least five years faster than it’s ever been done before,” Mr. Collins told the news organization.

PENCE TAKES THE MICROPHONE

Former Vice President Mike Pence spent five years as a morning talk-radio host, poised in front of a microphone in Indiana and billing himself as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf” in the mid-1990s.

“I scarcely think I would have been elected to the Congress in 2000 without the years that I spent in talk radio, years that were inspired and sustained by the matchless voice of Rush Limbaugh, and I will always be grateful,” Mr. Pence notes in an appreciation of the late radio host, published by Fox News.

“The debt that conservative Americans owe to Rush Limbaugh can only be repaid by relentless imitation of his example. Every day, his optimism, his humor and his insights gave courage to conservatives to stand up for what we believe in; to stand firm for a strong national defense, limited government, life and liberty. Now it’s our turn. For all of us who came after him, who were inspired by his love for this country and the American people, our debt to him is to fight on,” Mr. Pence advises.

POLL DU JOUR

• 28% of U.S. adults feel “enthusiastic” about the next four years with Joe Biden as president; 2% of Republicans, 19% of independents and 63% of Democrats agree.

• 19% overall feel “satisfied but not enthusiastic”; 9% of Republicans, 20% of independents and 27% of Democrats agree.

• 18% overall feel “dissatisfied but not upset”; 28% of Republicans, 26% of independents and 4% of Democrats agree.

• 22% overall feel “upset” about the next four years; 54% of Republicans, 21% of independents and 1% of Democrats agree.

• 12% are “not sure” how they feel; 6% of Republicans, 14% of independents and 4% of Democrats agree.

Source: A YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 19-22.

• Helpful information to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide