Reading the breathless — and increasingly unhinged — reports in the left-wing media, you might think that Fox News is staggering against the ropes and about to crumple to the canvas for the final, bloody count-out after 25 years on the air.
“Fox News is in serious hot water,” CNN squealed last month, reporting on a “smoking gun” that had supposedly just been unearthed in a billion-dollar lawsuit that “represents a serious threat to the channel.”
As has become the rule, the truth is dramatically different from the stories these people are telling you. In fact, the truth is pretty much the exact opposite. Fox News today is thriving like never before.
Week in and week out, Fox News beats its cable news “competitors” CNN and MSNBC by massive margins. In the rankings, Fox News programs routinely monopolize the top 15 or so slots for the most watched cable news shows.
Last Friday, for instance, MSNBC’s top-rated show came in 15th place — meaning that 14 Fox News programs beat MSNBC’s highest-rated show.
Over at CNN, life is even more humiliating. They are lucky if, on any given day, they have a single program break into the top 25 cable news shows.
Even more concerning for competitors than just the raw numbers of viewers is the political makeup of Fox News viewers today.
Detailed Nielsen ratings reveal that Democrats are increasingly turning to Fox News after years of being lied to by other media outlets. Among self-proclaimed independent viewers, Fox crushes CNN and MSNBC — combined.
In short, Fox News doesn’t just dominate cable news, it has become the new American town square, where more viewers from across the political spectrum come to get their news and enjoy robust political commentary, unfettered free speech and even irreverent late-night comedy.
Fox News’ domination has broken the monopoly on a free press in America long held by increasingly crazed left-wing ideologues who spent the last six years shamelessly reporting partisan lies to their viewers and readers about Donald Trump, Joe Biden, COVID-19, Russian collusion and so much else.
So that is the important background to keep in mind these days as you read eager reports about the $1.6 billion lawsuit filed against Fox News over its reporting in the confusing and highly charged weeks after the 2020 election when Mr. Trump, then the sitting president of the United States, and his allies made claims about the reliability of voting machines provided by Dominion Voting Systems.
As usual, there is much to this story about the lawsuit that CNN and the rest of the media are not telling its viewers and readers. That’s because CNN and the rest of the media have a deeply vested interest in toppling Fox News.
One of the complaints Dominion makes in its lawsuit is that board members of Fox News did not stop the company from reporting on the claims being made by a sitting president. So, what was the board controlling CNN up to at that time?
At the time of the 2020 election, CNN was still owned by AT&T. Curiously, the board of AT&T apparently did not have a problem when HBO aired similar charges about the exact same Dominion voting machines earlier that year in an expose titled “Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Elections.”
Perhaps one reason AT&T board members did not object to the HBO report is that AT&T, in fact, owned HBO at that time.
Here is where things get even curiouser.
Among the members of the AT&T board is a man named William Kennard, a longtime Democrat appointee who served as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission under President Bill Clinton and who was appointed ambassador to the European Union by President Barack Obama.
Since 2018, Dominion Voting Systems has been owned by a private equity firm called Staple Street Capital. In addition to being on the AT&T board, Mr. Kennard is also on the executive board of Staple Street and has described himself as a “founding investor.”
In other words, Mr. Kennard was on the board that controlled CNN — which imagines itself a fierce competitor of Fox News — at the same time he was on the board of the company that owns Dominion, which is now suing Fox News for $1.6 billion.
Seems like a conflict of interest that CNN might want to share with its remaining viewers.
Full disclosure: I have been a frequent guest on Fox News for nearly two decades and a paid contributor since 2016. I also spent five years as Washington bureau chief of the New York Post, which is owned by Fox News’ sister company.
So, sure, I have a conflict of interest in this case. But I also respect readers and the Fox News audience enough to tell them.
• Charles Hurt is the opinion editor for The Washington Times and a Fox News contributor.