Several recent reports have traced a significant decline in Fox News’ audience. There are a couple of reasons. One is the average age of Fox viewers (65); another is a rather significant erosion in the number of “true believers.”
in a survey of public attitudes toward a variety of media outlets, Public Policy Polling found a marked drop in Fox News’s credibility. A record-high 46 percent of Americans said they put no trust in the network, a nine-point increase over 2010, and 39 percent named Fox News as their least-trusted news source, a percentage that dwarfed all other news channels. (MSNBC, which came in second, was distrusted by only 14 percent.)
As might be expected, Fox News’s credibility barely budged among liberals and moderates (roughly three-quarters of whom still distrust the network) and very conservative viewers (three-quarters of whom still trust it). However, among those who identified themselves as “somewhat conservative,” the level of trust fell by an eye-opening 27 percentage points during the previous twelve months (from a net plus–47 percent “trust” rating in 2012 to plus–20 percent now). Only a bare majority of center-right conservatives surveyed by PPP say that Fox News is trustworthy.
The base audience that Fox set out to capture is quite literally dying off. Meanwhile, the strategy the network employed–becoming a “news” source that could be relied upon to pander to the prejudices and beliefs of the most conservative elements of the Republican base–is preventing the network from replacing the True Believers as they die.
More and more, the network is being seen for what it is: a partisan mouthpiece, not a genuine news outlet. It’s about time.