Monday Memo: Dominion v. FOX News
By Holland Cooke
In Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion lawsuit, testimony and internal communications demonstrate that FOX News management and talent privately doubted election fraud claims they were broadcasting. Tucker Carlson messaged Laura Ingraham: “Sidney Powell is lying by the way. I caught her. It’s insane.”
Several FOX News Radio affiliates have asked what impact these disclosures have on station credibility.
My advice: Your affiliation remains a franchise.
— 21% percent of FOX News viewers do say they trust the network less following the release of evidence in the Dominion case, per Maru Group poll commissioned by Variety. This is notable because FOX is not reporting the story, citing that it is the defendant; and because few minds change, generally, in divided America. We choose to believe what we choose to believe, and FOX simply got caught pandering.
— Trump loyalists are especially dug-in. His legal problems galvanize supporters’ view that he’s persecuted. At CPAC he proclaimed, “I am your retribution.”
— Affiliates: The FOX brand is your asset. To my ear, FOX Radio on-hour/half-hour newscasts report the same facts as ABC or CBS Radio newscasts. I haven’t tested this, but I’d bet a Martini at the Palm that reading transcripts – side-by-side with ABC or CBS Radio copy – the target demo’ couldn’t tell which-is-whose. But listener complaints – rooted in distrust that ABC and CBS are the proverbial “Mainstream Media” – caused several of my client stations to switch to FOX. Reaction was positive.
— Think car radio and assure listeners that they can “get a quick FOX News update” on-hour/half-hour “throughout your busy day.” “Because news that matters to you is changing fast,” listeners will want to “stay close to the news.”
— Bottom line: Unless the financial consequence of these legal actions drives FOX News out of business, hang in there.
Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download; and the E-book and FREE on-air radio features “Inflation Hacks: Save Those Benjamins;” and “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books. Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke