For the record this is not a commentary on Cable news Ratings, which are wildly fluctuating. This is just the ThinkTank Panel (of One) provising a plausible explaination for a witnessed phenomenon.
The ThinkTank Panel (Of One) loves Fox News, but not for the reasons one might expect. Not because Fox News accurately represents and advocates for the views of the entire ThinkTank Panel, (that would be impossible). It is also not because Fox News is truly “fair and Balanced” in its reporting, because it’s obvious they are not. In fact it is precisely because Fox News has an agenda and they unabashedly press it that agenda down the throat of their audience, all the while maintain that everything they do is “fair and Balanced” that the ThinkTank Panel (of One) enjoys Fox News. Because it’s entertaining. That and that alone constitute the reason “More Americans get their news from Fox News.” It really has nothing to do with what is reported or the political view advanced. Fox News is on TV. The whole point of being on TV is to attract viewers; ands Fox is the one TV news channel that has not forgotten this.
Keith Olberman is as vicious a liberal spokesman as any Fox News commentator is conservative. However Keith Olberman’s shtick is tiring at best and just plain uninteresting to all but the most closed minded liberal. Fox news is exciting and entertaining; while still maintain the pretense of a free press working for the masses. Fox News delivers all of its content with the sense of impassioned urgency that people respond to. It is addictive really. It can suck you in whether you love it or hate it. In that regard Fox News is very mush the Howard Stern of the News business. You watch just to see what happens next.
So while the ThinkTank Panel would caution against reading much into the implications for America’s political leanings by the massive rating lead Fox News holds, the panel believes those rating are very telling about what captivates America’s short attention span.
The ThinkTank Panel (Of One) theorizes three elements of the American TV audience’s psyche Fox News appeals to.
1.) Fear: This is the most obvious element. Every TV news cast leads into a commercial with tag lines touting, “Up next, information that could save your life,” or “The new Harry Potter Movie comes out Friday, why you should be concerned.” Every news station hooks its audience with the premise that each item of news is potentially life altering, and they do this by playing on the various fears of humanity. But no one undermines the perception of security at all levels than Fox news, because Fox News takes our highest and broadest form of security and protection, the US federal government , and makes it’s every move a matter of life or death, (or at least of substantial sums of money.)
2.) Energy: This is the brilliant part of Fox News. While it is busy pushing the fear agenda it does so with anchors and commentators best suited for conducting pep rallies and rock concerts. If it were visually appealing on screen Fox News would dispense with microphones and just give each talking head a megaphone from which to bellow. Fox News is like a 20/7 MTV Rock the Vote Special for boomers. The ThinkTank Panel (Of One) is mildly surprised that ESPN’s Chris Berman has not been vultured by Fox News to do election coverage. The entire line up of female on air talent at Fox News has the collective appearance of a high school cheer squad or a college sorority. The one exception to this is Greta Van Susteren, who happens to be the most reputable journalist on the Fox News payroll.
3.) Intellect: Finally Fox News does a tremendous job of appealing to a rather “high brow” audience. Or perhaps more accurately; Fox News succeeds in making its audience feel more “high brow” for having watched Fox News over another news source. There is a sense of elitism that is imparted to the viewer for merely having been a viewer. Viewers feel they are special and somehow smarter, than their non-Fox News watching peers, not because of the information received in watching, but because they chose to watch in the first place. Where other news stations say “thanks for watching” Fox News in essence says “congratulations you came to the right place.”
[On a side note, The ThinkTank Panel (Of One) would like to point out that the staunch conservative Fox News is using a page straight out of the very liberal Barak Obama presidential campaign when it appeals to a “high brow” sense of elitism. This represents a shift in recent American Politics as both the Clinton and Bush administrations had emphasized a “Hey I’m every man” theme in their successful presidential campaigns (think: baseball, booze, saxophones, and “not inhaling”).]
So what can the success of Fox News yield to us that is of any practical value?
Quite simply, Fox News proves true the old adage, “it’s not what you say but how you say it,” and further illustrates the notion that “perception is reality.” News is in fact a commodity, and the real value of that commodity is in how well you sell it. Yes these are all clichés. Yet Fox News has proven these clichés to be substantial. Remember you don’t have to buy what Fox is saying. The fact that you are watching means they already sold you.