Fox News Feels the Heat as Morning Joe Beats Fox and Friends for the First Time in 20 Years

FILE - In this Jan. 17, 2018 file photo, "Fox & Friends" co-hosts, from left, Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade appear on their set in New York. Roughly 1.5 million people watch "Fox & Friends" each day, more than its counterparts at CNN and MSNBC and less than half the audiences for "Good Morning America" or "Today." (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

I’m sure Fox News’ new public relations firm will say this is no big deal and point us to Tucker Carlson’s ratings, but this seems like a pretty big deal to me. For the first time since 2001, MSNBC’s Morning Joe has beaten Fox and Friends in the ratings game. This is also not a single cherry-picked day, but an average of the entire week.

Some people reading this right now weren’t born the last time this happened.

It can’t feel good to lose to the two hysterically crazy people pictured above. But that’s exactly what happened. We saw previews of this last week, as many of Fox News’ hard news shows started losing to CNN and MSNBC. There was a time when Fox News dominated the ratings so thoroughly that you could go through nearly every time slot and crown them the winner. Those days appear to be over. I don’t think there’s anyway to spin this positively.

So what’s causing the exodus? There are two common suggestions here. Some will say that the right-leaning individuals who make up most of Fox News’ audience may be frustrated and more disconnected now with a probable Biden presidency on the horizon. That’s possible, but RedState certainly isn’t seeing that in our traffic numbers. In fact, we feel our audience is more engaged than ever (and that’s obviously a credit to all of you guys who read our articles). Newsmax is also seeing a ratings boom, which cuts against the idea that Republicans are just stepping back from political news right now.

Instead, I think option two is more likely. Republicans grew tired of being lectured and insulted by some of Fox News’ anchors. We’ve seen it with Chris Wallace, Neil Cavuto, and Sandra Smith (caught on a hot mic). More recently, we saw Leland Vittert lose his mind on a Trump surrogate. Republicans don’t need a news network that lies to them. They do need one that doesn’t needlessly insult them and their viewpoints. If they wanted that, they’d just switch over to CNN.

Fox News seems to just be hunkering down in response to all this though, unwilling to admit any fault. The results of that will be squarely on them.

(Please follow me on Twitter! @bonchieredstate)