(The Post Millennial) – On Sunday, Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter closed out his CNN broadcast by criticizing Fox News celebrating its 25th anniversary and giving his “honest assessment” of how the right-wing network “changed America.”
“You’ll probably hear a lot about Fox News this week. The network is turning 25 and running lots of commercials celebrating its birthday,” said Stelter. “But you won’t hear any honest assessment of Fox on Fox of how the network has changed America. So let’s size it up for a minute before we go.”
“Fox wasn’t always the political beast it is today. As the first co-hosts of the morning show that became Fox and Friends told me for my book Hoax, it was not very political at all. I was not very political, and neither was the show back then. It was pop culture sprinkled with the day’s news,” Stelter said on the network’s roots.
“But the network evolved, or devolved, into the beating heart of the GOP, a heart with clogged arteries and weak muscles. It’s the network that brought us inspirational stories about the military and Middle America, but also smothering patriotism after 9/11, and a portrayal of the USA that seems stuck in a time warp,” he continued.
“You won’t see Roger Ailes in the retrospectives, but his abuse of women, his leg cam, his paranoia, his rage, it’s what translated into the network that exists today,” said Stelter on the network’s former CEO. “Full of rage, anger, it’s the white lash on TV, although often delivered with a smile.”
“Ailes also brought us Donald Trump. Executives might say they’re merely holding a mirror up to America’s divisions. But the political science research is clear. Fox is not just a mirror. It’s an accelerant,” said Stelter.
Stelter closed out his cast by talking about an upcoming book The Brainwashing of my Dad, which talks about “how the rise of the right-wing media changed a father and divided our nation — and how we can fight back,” according to the book’s Amazon page.
“And it’s about exactly what you think, for the families who feel like they’ve been torn apart by Fox. This week is not a happy anniversary,” said Stelter.
Despite Stelter’s criticisms, Fox shows frequently outperform Stelter’s show.
In August, Reliable Sources closed out one of its worst monthly performances of 2021, a year marked by low ratings.
According to Nielsen Media Research, Stelter’s program reached only 138,000 viewers in the key demographic of 25 – 54 year olds this month.
Since the beginning of the year, viewership is down 37 percent in that demographic, and down 25 percent across the board. Nielsen also found that for five months in a row now, Stelter has failed to crack 920,000 total viewers.
While Reliable Sources viewership declines, its Fox News competitor, MediaBuzz with Howie Kurtz, continues to grow in audience size.
Nielsen found that MediaBuzz is on track to overtake Reliable Sources among 25 -54 year olds for the fifth straight month.