A little over twenty years ago when Fox News launched, conservatives were thrilled a cable news network that would appeal to them made it on air. It was new, and it was needed.
The early years of Fox News featured hosts such as Paula Zahn, Catherine Crier, Laurie Dhue and of course, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity.
Roger Ailes said the slogan, “Fair and balanced” represented a balance against the network stations and CNN (MSNBC didn’t launch until 1998 and at that point, focused more on trying to be the hip, new kid on the block with the Microsoft partnership). Despite a lack of availability in some major markets such as New York and Los Angeles, it found a core audience among conservatives, and the ratings just continued to climb.
Throughout the years, it featured a variety of different shows, some of which had success, such as Glenn Beck, and others that did not, such as Drudge. Fox News also took risks, producing a show that didn’t air until 3:00 a.m. EST, Red Eye. The show was hosted by Greg Gutfeld, who at that point, had little television experience. But the coverage of silly stories and its refreshing take on politics earned it a cult following that lasted for eight seasons.
Fast forward to its current iteration. The channel is virtually unwatchable save for a few exceptions. Bret Baier’s ‘Special Report’ provides solid reporting and analysis. Dana Perino remains one of the few voices of sanity at Fox News with ‘The Daily Briefing.’ Greg Gutfeld is still there as a co-host of ‘The Five’ as is Perino, but it requires having to watch that stupid douchebag, Jesse Watters. Shepard Smith isn’t afraid to call out his colleagues, and that’s refreshing. But he’s such a drama queen, and that makes watching him intolerable. That’s where the list ends for the most part. Chris Wallace and Fox News Sunday is also a standout as Wallace is tough on all of the guests but watching it almost makes you feel as if you’re in an alternative universe where Sean Hannity doesn’t exist.
The prime-time lineup is horrendous. Sean Hannity has always been a hack for Republicans. But what’s fascinating was watching him turn on conservatives such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio so that he could align himself with Trump. Watching Hannity, who was as establishment as it gets for Republicans, go after the establishment was hilarious. He invented this entirely new persona and started aligning himself with alt-right garbage such as the Seth Rich conspiracy and blaming Trump’s troubles on the “deep state.”
Tucker Carlson, who for the longest time pulled no punches in going after rank partisans and produced quality writing at The Weekly Standard, embarrasses himself on a daily basis. He spouts pro-Trump gibberish and makes the now famous “Tucker” face as he debates some left-wing loon, acting as if they’re representative of anybody that doesn’t like Trump. He wouldn’t dare invite a guest on who would say his gleeful cackling isn’t a valid argument. Carlson for the longest time was a mainstream conservative who decided to become a TrumpHumper because it would fuel his rise at Fox News and look what happened. He occupies the time slot held previously by Bill O’Reilly.
Laura Ingraham is another one-time mainstream conservative who sold her soul for access to Trump. She regularly espouses nationalist BS and goes after the dreaded “establishment” despite being part of it for so long (which included a show on MSNBC). She too dances around the margins of conspiracy theories and is another critic of the dreaded “deep state.”
Ralph Peters is 100 percent right in his criticism of Fox News. In the letter he wrote, announcing he’d no longer appear on the network he said:
In my view, Fox has degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration. When prime-time hosts–who have never served our country in any capacity–dismiss facts and empirical reality to launch profoundly dishonest assaults on the FBI, the Justice Department, the courts, the intelligence community (in which I served) and, not least, a model public servant and genuine war hero such as Robert Mueller–all the while scaremongering with lurid warnings of “deep-state” machinations– I cannot be part of the same organization, even at a remove. To me, Fox News is now wittingly harming our system of government for profit.
That says it all. Most of the hosts on Fox News will defend anything President Trump says or does. They know the price they’ll pay for criticism. So they go along. They’ve become like so many “conservatives” on Twitter who believe “triggering the libs” is what makes for better conservatism.
Of course, once Trump is out of office, he’ll abandon his fake conservatism and brag how he snookered so many people into thinking he actually gives a s**t about conservatism. Many of those suckers work for Fox News.