Two Democratic presidential contenders -- Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren -- worry about the accuracy of political messaging in the media.
What will change? Not much, as content and advertising ramp up over the next several months and into the 2020 presidential-election season.
There are some key points to consider from Shepard Smith, who announced his abrupt departure from Fox News Channel last week, the network he has been with since 1996.
“Even in our currently polarized nation, it’s my hope that the facts will win the day. That the truth will always matter. That journalism and journalists will thrive. I’m Shepard Smith, Fox News, New York.”
His exit comes after a recent on-air battle with another Fox on-air host, Tucker Carlson of “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Smith debunked reports about the Uranium One deal with Russia and Hillary Clinton’s involvement. He recently interviewed former judge Andrew Napolitano who said Trump committed a “crime” when he asked for a “favor” in speaking on the phone to the Ukraine president.
Thereafter, Smith exchanged words -- on air -- with Carlson. Smith called him “repugnant,” which according to Vanity Fair, had the higher-ups at Fox News demanding that Smith knock it off -- otherwise he’d be off the air.
In response to the Vanity Fair story, a Fox News spokesperson told TV Watch that executives Suzanne Scott and Jay Wallace never spoke to Smith about Carlson, nor about taking Smith off the air.
He is off the air now. Critics will say that while Smith’s reporting was in direct opposition (factual and otherwise) to Fox’s higher-viewed prime-time opinion shows, it still has some straight-ahead journalists, including Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Neil Cavuto.
Does that make things better? Here’s the score (make that estimates), according to SNL Kagan, when it comes to all advertising, affiliate and other revenues at 24-hour news channels: Fox News Channel, $3.2 billion in 2018; CNN, $1.59 billion; and MSNBC, $782.5 million.
TV advertisers go where the audience is. Facts, opinions, half-truths and all the stuff in between? That may just be content, not their issue -- until it is their issue and they decide to sit on the sidelines from “content” incidents on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” or “The Ingraham Angle.”