When you’re a cable news network with an already sketchy reputation and you’re suddenly faced with a ratings crisis, do you 1) bring in more reputable talent in the hope of attracting a higher caliber of viewer, or 2) turn yourself into even more of a train wreck so people won’t be able to look away?
Fox News has, predictably, decided upon option number two. First it took Maria Bartiromo’s toxic waste dump of a Fox Business Channel show and promoted it to the main Fox News network. Then it hired serial liar and worthless propagandist Kayleigh McEnany as an on-air analyst. Now Fox has revealed today that it’s hired Lara Trump as an analyst, thus removing any scant remaining doubt about where this is headed.
That’s right, faced with losing viewers to bottom feeding garbage networks like OAN and Newsmax, Fox News has decided to become bottom feeding garbage in order to get those viewers back. The likes of McEnany and Lara Trump have literally zero insight to offer, and are only there to hype far right conspiracy theories. But that’s largely all that right wingers want to hear these days, so Fox is predictably going where it thinks the ratings are.
That said, this is far from a surefire ratings strategy for Fox News. Even its lowbrow viewers usually want there to be some kind of narrative to the false and misleading stories that the network is reporting. Kayleigh McEnany and Lara Trump aren’t offering much more than the political analysis equivalent of grunting noises. Even Fox viewers may not be able to sit through that kind of slop.
If nothing else, these new Fox News hires could fend off Donald Trump’s ongoing threat to launch a cable news network of his own. Given his disastrous financial situation, even worse legal situation, and seemingly worsening cognitive state, Trump was unlikely to launch a Fox News competitor anyway. But with Fox already losing viewers, perhaps these hires are simply about hedging its bets against total disaster.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report