Analysis by Reporting San Diego
April 24, 2017 (San Diego) By now you know that Bill O’Reilly is not coming back to his show at Fox News. We are no longer going to have the “No Spin” zone, or The Factor. Roger Ailes was also let go last year, and now Sean Hannity seems to be the next one. He was accused by Debbie Schlussel’ of sexual harassment.
In a statement he said:
“This individual has a history of making provably false statements against me in an effort to slander, smear and besmirch my reputation,”
“The individual has not just slandered me over the years but many people who this individual disagrees with. This individual desperately seeks attention by any means necessary, including making unfounded personal attacks and using indefensible and outrageous political rhetoric.”
Here is where we are with Fox News. Their former head, Ailes was forced out, not by Rupert, but by sons James and Lachlan. Both are to inherit the media empire that spans continents. The sons, apparently, do not agree with the father’s hard right ideological thinking,. They want a more mainstream media empire.
Ailes was originally brought into the then starting Fox News to enforce a certain ideological bent in all coverage. Fox, like every other news media in the country, has their voice. Their voice remains hard right. It has never been fair or balanced. This is especially the case with the evening talk shows.
Bill O’Reilly survived for so long because he had a hold of viewership that for that time slot was incredible. Any of the programs on the two competitors before, during or after his show, had the same number of viewers combined. The problem is that the demographic aged with O’Reilly. It continues to be the largest, but it is not in the heavy consumption category anymore. This is the one preferred by advertisers. So even though Rachel Maddow’s or Don Lemon’s are numerically smaller, the demo is younger.
Why does this matter? If you are selling widgets, you want people to buy your widgets. Older demographics, especially retirees, tend to hold on to their cash. They are on fixed income. So while the Factor was up there in raw numbers, not in potential sales.
Then there is the matter of the culture in the network. When one person, Ailes, gets sent packing to avoid a sexual harassment suit or two, the Murdoch clan could argue before BRITISH regulators when applying to buy Sky News, that the problem was solved. O’Reilly complicated matters. If there is any meat to these claims against Hannity, then perhaps his time on the air is short. For the Murdoch full control of Sky News and that market will be worth a few million to unload Hannity. British regulators do take that moral timber as part of their analysis.
As is, the time for Hannity and Rush Limbaugh might also be coming to an end on the radio. Their parent company, IHeart Media, is getting ready to file for bankruptcy.
In a statement filed last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the federal agency charged with regulating companies that offer investments to the public, iHeartCommunications’ parent company, iHeartMedia Inc., said that it had “substantial doubt” that it would be in business by the middle of next year.
This will not be anything short than a major earthquake for conservative media. The values of those who control access to tv are more, “politically correct” than the older generation. They want to market to millennials, many of whom are conservatives but cannot stand the sexual mores of some of their elders.
The last generation of talkers has created part of the divide in American politics. The shtick for O’Reilly (and both Hannity and Limbaugh as well), was that of the disgruntled, white man. This figure not only is losing their political place in society and being pressured to talk in politically correct ways. They are also the holders of morals, such as marriage and respect for tradition. Misogyny was never that far from the surface. However, their talk did not match their actions.
This may portend the return of intellectually challenging arguments from the conservative side of the aisle, and the end of these firebrands that have contributed greatly to how divided the society is. They are also partly responsible for the dysfunction in Congress.
Locally KOGO may also go away, or change format from talk radio. Why? They are an IHeart property.