Tags: Media Bias | beckel | fox | five | bolling

'The Five' Spotlights Why Fox News Is a Success

Thursday, 17 Nov 2011 09:37 AM

By Ronald Kessler

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“Fox lies” has become a favorite mantra of the left, yet there is a reason Fox News blows away the other cable networks in ratings and is more trusted as a news source than any other television network.

The new Fox News show “The Five,” which replaced Glenn Beck at 5 p.m. on weekdays, provides an example. The show consists of five contributors who discuss issues of the day. While four of them are conservatives, the liberal in the group — Bob Beckel — usually winds up with at least a quarter of the air time.

Other regulars are Dana Perino, the former Bush White House press secretary; Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former assistant district attorney in San Francisco; columnist Andrea Tantaros; Greg Gutfeld, who leads the overnight show “Red Eye”; and Eric Bolling of the Fox Business Network.

Fox contributors Juan Williams, Monica Crowley, or Brian Kilmeade often rotate in for a regular. As noted in my story "The Juan Williams I Know," while Williams usually stakes out liberal positions on the air, he holds many conservative views.

The commentators are smart and attractive. They contribute original viewpoints and cite news items that the mainstream media may ignore. What makes the show especially appealing is that, while they may vehemently disagree on politics, they are never nasty to each other and leaven their comments with humor.

When the discussion between Beckel and Bolling gets hot, Beckel will allow that Bolling helped save his life after he choked on a large shrimp. The incident happened when Beckel was lunching last month with Fox News Channel President Roger Ailes, Fox News executives Bill Shine and Suzanne Scott, and other co-hosts of “The Five.”

Ailes was the first to notice that Beckel was turning color and leaning over strangely. Ailes immediately began performing the Heimlich maneuver. Bolling then assisted, and Beckel coughed up the shrimp.

“We were having lunch, and I choked. I couldn’t breathe at all,” Beckel, the campaign manager for Walter Mondale’s 1984 presidential run, later said on the air. “My boss Roger Ailes stood up and gave me the Heimlich. He couldn’t get his arms all the way around me, but he loosened it up. My brother here [Bolling] saved my existence. I want to thank everybody.”

Last month, Ailes announced that “The Five” would be a permanent fixture after replacing Glenn Beck’s show in July. While “The Five” has yet to beat Glenn Beck’s ratings at his peak, it beats all the other cable shows in that time slot.

In the all-important age 25 to 54 age bracket, “The Five” recently attracted more viewers than Chris Matthews’ “Hardball” on MSNBC and Wolf Blitzer’s “The Situation Room” on CNN combined. Already, “The Five” is the sixth most-watched cable news program.

As Beck’s rhetoric became increasingly inflammatory and apocalyptic, his ratings began to sink, and major advertisers shunned the show. “The Five” has lured advertisers back.

Fox News has consistently had the top 10 cable news programs in both total viewers and viewers who are 25 to 54 years of age, according to Nielsen Media Research. For 39 consecutive quarters, FNC has been the most-watched news channel.

A poll by Boston’s Suffolk University found that 28 percent of viewers say they trust Fox News the most, followed by CNN at 18 percent. After that, trust in TV news nosedives. NBC came in third with only 10 percent of viewers saying they trust it as a news source. MSNBC was fourth at 7 percent, and CBS and ABC were tied at fifth with just 6 percent.

One reason for the stunning finding is Fox News’ rule that in any political discussion, both Democrats and Republicans must be represented. In interviewing Republicans, anchors constantly play devil’s advocate and confront them with Democrats’ rebuttals. Similarly, Newsmax runs both conservative and liberal views and now has 7.7 million unique visitors a month.

“Fox lies” may stir up the left, but the vast majority of Americans are grateful to have a network that presents all points of view.

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. He is a New York Times best-selling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. His latest, "The Secrets of the FBI," has just been published. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via email. Go Here Now.


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