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Media Matters Declares Victory in its War Against Fox News

Their argument is that although Fox News’s ratings are still tops in the industry, the influence of Fox News has dropped over the years — thanks to them. Via the HuffPo:

“The war on Fox is over,” said Media Matters Executive Vice President Angelo Carusone. “And it’s not just that it’s over, but it was very successful. To a large extent, we won.”

According to its strategic plan for the next three years, a copy of which was provided to The Huffington Post, Media Matters envisions shifting its focus to new, increasingly influential targets, including Spanish-language media, social media streams, alternative online outlets and morning and entertainment sources. It will enhance its state media and issue-based monitoring, as well as continue its focus on right-wing radio and legacy outlets.

“We’ve always said, ‘Media Matters watches Fox, so you don’t have to,’” said Bradley Beychok, the group’s president. “That remains true. Fox News isn’t going to stop lying, so we’ll stay on that beat. But, our success regarding Fox News means that our talented team will carry out our mission in different ways consistent with a new strategic vision responsive to the transforming media environment.”

[. . .]

Media Matters argues in its strategic plan that Fox News is no longer the gatekeeper it once was, now that social media has proliferated and many of the network’s personalities have moved elsewhere. Former host Glenn Beck, for example, now has his own digital news operation.

And they’re even taking credit for Sean Hannity moving from 9 p.m.:

Host Megyn Kelly has since taken over the 9:00 p.m. time slot that had been occupied for years by Sean Hannity, who is known for being more vitriolic and partisan than Kelly. Carusone argued that financial pressure, created in part by Media Matters, forced that shift.

“That was in large part because it’s hard to ignore when your financial stakeholders are beginning to express concerns,” said Carusone. “They’re a business, after all. They act like a political operation, but they’re still a business.”

Still, he added, the group has its eye on Kelly.

Yes, they have their “eye on Kelly” with a front-page story today on her recent segment on Santa and Jesus. Here’s an excerpt from the Media Matters piece, that sounds to me like a contradiction of everything they just said regarding their victory over Fox:

Kelly’s warfare on behalf of her own culture taps into broader power dynamics that are at play throughout the media. As Media Matters has documented, broadcast and cable news is disproportionately the home of white men. And particularly in the arena of nightly television news, it is the dominion of highly paid elites who have the ability to set the agenda.

So it’s important to look at the stories that don’t get covered.

Megyn Kelly’s rejection of a non-white Santa was one of 13 references to Santa Claus on major cable or broadcast news programs that night, according to Nexis. And the reasoning behind her discussion, Kelly explained on air, was that “somebody wrote about it.”

The same justification could have been given for a discussion about homeless children. Yet by contrast, there were three references to homelessness that night. One of those came from a Fox host complaining that a Duck Dynasty star had been mistaken for a homeless person at a Caribbean hotel.

None of those segments told the story of Dasani, an adolescent homeless girl who formed the center of “Invisible Child,” a New York Times expose by Andrea Elliot on homelessness in New York City running this week. According to Nexis, Dasani’s story was the focus of only a single segment during evening and primetime news this week.

Both Byron York and John Podhoretz have suggested their move to end its war with Fox is more about pleasing Media Matters’ donors than anything else.



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