The Fox News Distortion Field and Other Media Maladies
It’s now been a little more than a week since my friends, colleagues, and Dispatch co-founders Steve Hayes and Jonah Goldberg announced their resignations from Fox News. After days of online vitriol (and support), the dust has settled a bit, and it’s worth reflecting a bit on what they did and why it mattered.
As I said on Twitter, I’m proud to work with Jonah and Steve. They made a tough, good call, and it took no small amount of courage. To understand why—and to understand so many of the reasons for the dysfunctions in right-wing media—I’m going to show you a chart. And when you read this chart, pay attention to both the numbers and the trends:
There are a few things you should notice. First, Fox is the 800-pound gorilla of conservative media. Unlike the more competitive environment in legacy media, where no single outlet comes close to comparable dominance, Fox isn’t just first, it’s first by a mile. Do the math. Fox reached almost 94 million unique visitors in October. The next 19 right-wing websites reached roughly 59 million combined.
Second, look at who’s surging. Fox is in a state of very modest decline, most other sites are declining at a much faster rate, but the two outlets making dramatic gains—the Epoch Times and Newsmax—are, if anything, more aggressive than Fox.