Legitimate news organizations do not run stories unless they can be independently verified and vetted rigorously for discrepancies. Fox News of course, is not a legitimate news organization and runs pretty much anything that fits its myopic right wing agenda. When a tweet was sent from a supposedly ISIS linked Twitter account warning of the shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee that saw four Marines killed, Fox News jumped on the story because known racist Pamela Geller thought it was legitimate.
Sean Hannity ran the story on his radio show, and it quickly spread throughout the conservative media. Fox News ran a segment on the story asserting that the tweet was sent out 15 minutes before the shooting occurred, but as Mashable editor Brian Rees tweeted: “Tweet in question came at 1:34 p.m. ET. Shooting hours before.” Here’s the Fox segment (via Media Matters):
Had anyone at Fox bothered to do a minimal amount of research before running with the story, they would have seen that the tweet in question came from an account on Pacific time, so was roughly three hours after the event had occurred. The fact that Pamela Gellar broke the story should have been the ultimate red flag in the first place, but Sean Hannity and Fox News were willing to risk their reputations and run with it anyway. There will of course be no apology from Fox, no apology from Geller and no apology from Hannity because factual accuracy is incredibly low on their agenda.
While Fox News’s viewership continues to dominate in the cable network ratings wars, there is much evidence that the Murdoch owned propaganda outlet is a paper tiger. As Paul Farhi noted recently in the Washington Post:
Since 2009, the median daily audience for Fox, CNN and MSNBC has fallen 19 percent, according to the Pew Research Center. The overall decline during prime-time hours for all three has been steeper, 26 percent.
Even Fox News, long the king of cable news, is no longer booming. It lost 2 percent of its overall audience last year, according to Pew, and is off 19 percent from its prime-time peak in 2009.
While the explosion of online content and new ways in which young people consume media is undoubtedly having an effect on the cable news industry, there is also a growing understanding that Fox News is basically completely full of shit. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that Fox News was by far the least trusted news source amongst Millennials – a demographic disaster as the industry attempts to evolve, and one the heads at Fox should be very, very worried about. As any good millennial will tell you, they want authenticity from their news source, and Fox News will need to start supplying that if it wants to survive. This of course means that it won’t, because it built a business on propagating the exact opposite.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.