Fox News executives let it slip today that although they are pushing for Mitt Romney to win on the air, privately they are hoping for four more years of Obama.
Buried near the bottom of a New York Times piece on Obama and Fox News was this little nugget,
Fox News tends to benefit when it covers Mr. Obama and the Democrats aggressively. Indeed, during the height of the 2009 spat between Fox News and the White House, the channel’s ratings grew 8 percent over all. And while many of its commentators and on-air guests may be rooting for a Mitt Romney victory, privately Fox executives say that a second Obama term could be the best thing that ever happened to their network.
Conversely, Mr. Obama has enjoyed hitting the Fox News punching bag now and again. During his 2008 campaign, just mentioning the network in a stump speech would rile up the crowd.
There is more evidence that talking about Republicans is bad for business at Fox News. When Fox devoted loads of airtime to the Republican primaries, their viewership dropped by 17%. (The exception to this was the Republican debates, which performed well for all networks.) Fox News viewers are more interested in carrying out their crusade against Obama than they are hearing about their own party. When Republicans eventually win the White House again, it is a virtual certainty that certain segment of the Fox News audience will tune out.
Viewers of Fox News have been told to trust the network because it is the honest source of truth in the media, but what Roger Ailes is really doing is selling a product to an audience. The on air talent may push to get Romney elected, but their bosses know that Barack Obama is better for their bottom line.
Fox News isn’t in the news business. Their stock and trade is selling the myth of the oppressed conservative to millions of Republicans. In order for this story to work, Fox News needs a villain to battle against, and Barack Obama is their Great Oppressor.
The Fox model tends to break down when Republicans are in power. It is difficult to cry oppression when your party controls all three branches of government as happened for a time in the last decade. When a Republican president is in office, Fox News becomes something akin to state television. Their job becomes to defend the Republican administration at every turn, and it makes for really boring television.
Fox News essentially admitted that they would rather see Obama win, because four more years of Obama bashing is better for business than a Republican “businessman” president.
Deep in his heart Rush Limbaugh also wants Obama to win, and conservative websites are also secretly pulling for the president to defeat Romney. They will never say it out loud, but for them the Obama presidency is a job creator.
The Fox News executives may have been the first to admit it, but they aren’t the only ones on the right who go to bed each night hoping for another four years of Barack Obama.