Another blow to the Republican myth that America is a conservative nation was delivered when over six times more people watched the Obama/Clinton 60 Minutes interview than watch Fox News.
According to Nielson, the Obama/Clinton joint interview was watched by 11.65 million Americans. On average 1.6-2 million people in the United States watch Fox News each day. In a non-election year the political audience is smaller across the board, and there is a huge difference between broadcast and cable television ratings, but the belief that is held by both the mainstream media and the Republicans that there is some huge outcry for conservative programming is flat out wrong.
The ratings for the Clinton/Obama interview are both a tribute to the star power of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and a reminder that there really is no one in the conservative movement who can match the country’s top Democrats in terms of the ability to draw an audience. The mainstream media and the Republican Party both pushed hard for Sarah Palin to be their answer, but we all know how that turned out.
The reality is that the political landscape is shifting. The myth of a vast conservative America goes back to Nixon’s “silent majority,” and it has fed the conservative persecution complex about the media for decades. The reality is that conservatives control talk radio, and the top cable television network. This messaging apparatus has worked tirelessly day and night to diminish the popularity of top Democrats like Clinton and Obama, and they have resoundingly failed.
Fox News is supposedly the giant among cable news, but they are dwarfed by the power and popularity of the current president and the outgoing secretary of state. The influence and power of Fox News are both overstated and overrated. If Fox News was effective in any way, President Obama’s job approval rating wouldn’t be touching record highs, and Hillary Clinton would not be the most popular political figure in the country.
The Cult of Fox is a tiny, but loud, segment of the political landscape. Election results and television ratings are making it more difficult for the right to deny that conservatism is on run. The 2012 election was the first sign of a generational change, and a shift away from the Reagan dominated conservatism of the past three plus decades.
As the ratings for the Clinton/Obama interview demonstrate,Fox News represents the rumblings of a lunatic fringe, not the voice of America.