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Ratings for Fox News have tumbled significantly over the past week since the network called Arizona for Democrat Joe Biden on Election Night and has since joined other outlets in declaring him the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
“Fox News’s audience plummeted yesterday after Biden became president-elect. During the Biden/Harris speeches, Fox had three million viewers, the lowest total of any network,” wrote Michael Grynbaum in an “Updates” column in The New York Times.
The dramatic decline in viewers came after the network had the highest ratings of all other cable and broadcast outlets on Election Day, Nov. 3, drawing in an estimated 13.7 million total viewers.
In addition to beating other rival networks, Fox News set the record for most-watched election night coverage in the history of cable news.
Fox’s viewership numbers were still somewhat strong the following day, but they began tapering off as the network joined others at the weekend declaring Biden had defeated President Donald Trump, which he continues to dispute as his campaign launches legal challenges in key states where it alleges voting irregularities.
The bleeding has continued into this week, Inqusitr reported, adding that “it remains to be seen if the conservative-leaning network will suffer even more of a decline if Biden is certified as the winner and sworn into office come January.”
That said, a clip of network host Sandra Smith’s negative reaction to a guest who said the race is not over yet is not likely to win back fans.
Sandra Smith, off-air, reacts to her colleague Trace Gallagher indulging a nutjob who denies the outcome of the election even after Fox News had called it for Joe Biden: pic.twitter.com/gZ4nrnVHab
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) November 9, 2020
The clip from Saturday, posted by Internet-video expert Timothy Burke, shows Smith gasping at a claim by Cleta Mitchell, a DC-based lawyer arguing on behalf of the president, that Fox News’ and other networks’ calls for Biden are not official and should not be considered as such.
“Remember, just because CNN or even Fox News says who’s president doesn’t make them president,” Mitchell noted to co-host Trace Gallagher. “So I think everybody wants to know this was done properly and legally and that we can trust the results. And I think we have to look at every one of these concerns.”
“Yeah,” Gallagher replied, “I think that’s a very good point there.”
But as he said that, Smith — who likely thought she was no longer on-camera, can be seen taken aback, saying, “What? What is happening? Trace, we’ve called it.”
Last week, Lachlan Murdoch, CEO and executive chairman of the network, told investors viewers would leave and ratings would fall for all political news after the election, regardless of who the winner was.
“I would expect that as we enter a more normal news cycle, which will happen eventually, that appetite for news will shift,” he told investors, according to Variety.
But he added this: In the future, the network would begin focusing less on the raw number of viewers and instead on garnering the higher percentage of viewers.
“Appetite for news is out of our control. What we aim to control is share. We have through 18 years of administrations, we have maintained our number-one position through all of that,” he said.
“The news cycle will moderate, [but] we fully expect to be number one and maintain share around that,” Murdoch said.
But that objective may prove to be too ambitious given the level of anger being directed at the network since the election.
“Once the hysteria over the presidential election recedes, it should be interesting to see what the Fox News Channel’s ratings look like. Online, there is definitely a backlash growing against the disgraced outlet,” Breitbart’s John Nolte wrote over the weekend.
“What should worry Fox above all is that they appear to have forever lost their core viewers, the people who were once the most loyal,” he added. “You never want to lose your base. Once you lose your base, you’re in serious trouble.”
There are other signs of the network’s tanking viewership. During a live MSNBC shot outside of a Maricopa County, Ariz. ballot counting center last week, supporters of President Trump could be heard shouting, “Fox News sucks!”
And users on social media reacted with disdain to a Twitter post by Fox co-anchor Bret Baier Saturday night inviting viewers to tune into his and co-anchor Martha MacCallum’s broadcast after the network called the presidential race for Biden.
Baier has since deleted the tweet.
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