Do you often wonder whether mainstream media outlets hate Fox News more than George W. Bush?
If so, such a malady would carry the acronym FDS.
Sadly, Fox Derangement Syndrome is serious business over at Time magazine, which published the following at its website Thursday (emphasis added throughout, image right courtesy AFP):
Fox hasn't gone soft, but from watching its coverage lately, I get a sense that the haven for conservative hosts, and viewers alienated by liberal news, needs to figure out its next act. Fox News is not simply a mouthpiece for the Bush White House: it rose with Bush after 2000 and 9/11, was played on TVs in his White House and reflected the same surety and flag-lapel-pin confidence in its tone and star-spangled look. It was not just a hit; it was the network of the moment.
Now, with two Democrats locked in what seems like a general-election campaign and lame-duck Bush fading from the headlines, it has to figure out how not to seem like yesterday's news.
When the piece finally got to ratings, "the network of the moment" remark seemed rather absurd:
Fox is still the top-rated news channel, but there are signs it's plateauing. Its ratings started to lag in 2006, and in February, CNN's prime time (boosted by several presidential debates) beat Fox among 25-to-54-year-olds for the first time since 2001. (CNN and TIME are owned by Time Warner.) Maybe even more galling, the network has lately faded in the ephemeral category of buzz. MSNBC--with far fewer viewers--has been the political-media obsession of the 2008 primary, largely because of feuds between the Clinton campaign and the network for its perceived pro-Obama bias.
Interesting how the author admitted that MSNBC is a "media obsession" irrespective of its paltry ratings, wouldn't you agree? Yet, maybe most telling was how despite twice referring to media as "liberal," the author seemed rather confused about how this inconvenient truth plays into Fox's success:
As it wades through the fin de régime, Fox News will have one important asset: its loyal viewer base. But even for them, it will need to shake up its comfortable Bush-era routine, perhaps by cultivating new hosts, perhaps by taking a page from McCain and branding itself as the channel of maverick authenticity, not of establishment dogma. The viewers are Fox's to keep. It just has to figure out what's going to make them mad starting in 2009.
Actually, it is press outlets like Time that need to understand that what will likely make Fox viewers mad in 2009 is exactly why they first turned to this station years ago: the obvious liberal bias at press outlets like Time.