Fox News had, what I would argue, two of their most polished and balanced anchors host their election night coverage for the 2018 midterms. Bret Baier, often praised publicly as being fair and balanced, and Martha McCallum, a very good journalist and interviewer, anchored the program. Other Fox News personalities including Tucker Carlson, Harris Faulkner, Chris Wallace, Brit Hume and Katie Pavlich also weighed in. As did Juan Williams and Marie Harf.
I was on several screens last night going back and forth, but saw a significant amount of Fox's coverage. Their race calling was conservative. In some cases it lagged other outlets. The coverage incorporated a wide range of views and opinions as results came in across the nation. Their call for the Democrats to take the House did seem to come early given the returns that were public at that point, but they were collecting an enormous data set and doing a lot of calculations behind the scenes. And they weren't wrong.
It seems the range of opinions offered offended some of the more ardent Trump supporters. A hashtag started election night and continued. #BoycottFoxNews.
This is just dumb. For a few reasons. Nationwide races are often called before the polls close on the West Coast. This is not new. And if you thought anything in California was going to turn the House back to the GOP, take your meds or stop doing doing drugs. That is just ridiculous.
Next, Fox has won awards for years based on viewer trust and being "Fair & Balanced". As of February of 2018 they are the most watched news network for 16 years running. They eventually dropped this slogan, but assessments of positive and negative coverage of members of both parties continually show that Fox provides more even handed coverage to both sides than many competitors. In August of this year, they were voted the most trusted news channel in the U.S. (BBC was number one).
Part of the reason for this is they DON'T dictate content or perspective to their hosts and contributors. I have seen interviews with many of them and from Tucker to Gutfeld to Greta, who is no longer with Fox, they all say they were and are given control over their content.
Third, if watching Fox means you feel forced to watch Juan Williams or Chris Wallace, TURN OFF YOUR TV. Juan is on The Five and occasionally shows up in panels. Chris does Fox News Sunday and some panels. Endlessly streaming 24 hour cable news is not good for your mental or physical health. or your sanity.
Fourth, why exactly do you hate CNN? Because they say they are impartial and they are not. Fox attempts to remain impartial in its straight news coverage and leans right in its opinion shows. You do know Laura Ingram and Sean Hannity are not straight news, right? If all you are looking for is affirmation of your world view and your adoration of Trump, you are missing the point.
If those of us right of center want to continue to win (or win back) local, state and national elections, we have to know how to make the argument. In case you missed it, the blue wall in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan went back up last night. The best way to make the argument is to know the other side's argument better than they do and be able to refute it. Fox at least exposes you to it. Even if Marie Harf makes me want to bang my head into a wall, I need to hear what she's saying.
Trump lost the suburbs last night. In 34 races. He will have a hard maybe impossible road to 270 in two years if we don't work to win them back.
If you want to live in an echo chamber, as this ridiculous boycott suggests, you will be useless to the effort in 2020. I don't just mock The New York Times regularly, I read them. You have to be able to make the counterargument to your neighbors, family members and community in this cycle. "Cuz Trump" won't work and last night proved it.