Executives at Fox News indicated to employees that they wanted to push a narrative that focused on “grievance,” according to a report published Saturday by The New York Times.
One current Fox employee said the network execs had a goal to highlight “the grievance, the stuff that would get people boiled up.”
The driving narrative, the employee suggested, was one that made viewers believe they’re in danger. “They’re coming for you, the Blacks are coming for you, the Mexicans are coming for you,” the employee told The Times.
Media Matters, a nonprofit media watchdog, has published reports accusing Fox News of fearmongering across a variety of issues, from terrorism at the southern border to critical race theory to the coronavirus pandemic.
Polls have previously indicated that people who watch Fox News are likelier to believe former President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. They’re also more likely to believe in vaccine misinformation.
The influence Fox News, as the most-watched cable news channel in the US, has is felt widely, even in federal office. President Joe Biden has in private referred to Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch as “the most dangerous man in the world” and “one of the most destructive forces in the United States.”
According to The Times report, the network leverages viewer data to make decisions about its coverage.
As Insider’s Kelsey Vlamis reported, Fox News host Tucker Carlson relies on comprehensive “minute-by-minute” data that informs the network how viewers respond to different coverage.
“He is going to double down on the white nationalism because the minute-by-minutes show that the audience eats it up,” one former Fox employee who worked with Carlson told The Times.
Fox reporters who covered Trump unfavorably consistently received low ratings, The Times reported. As did left-leaning guests.
“They’re all obsessed with the minute-by-minutes,” another former Fox employee told The Times. “Every second that goes on that network now gets scrutinized.”
When reached for comment, a Fox News Media spokesperson referred Insider to the following statement published in The Times:
“FOX News Media has grown through strategic innovation, redirecting investments in journalism to encompass more than 50 percent of the budget while expanding our footprint beyond one legacy linear network to eight thriving platforms. As a result, we’ve doubled our audience, achieved unrivaled results, and have become the destination that more Democrats and Independents choose for their news coverage while our competitors have lost dramatic levels of viewership. We couldn’t be prouder of our entire team, whose commitment to excellence in journalism and opinion has led FOX News Media to all-time ratings records and delivered the best in class to our viewers.”
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