President Donald Trump has repeatedly touted Fox News as the state-preferred news outlet while slamming outlets that cover actual news as “fake.” That appears to be backfiring for both Trump and Fox.
Trump has repeatedly praised Fox News coverage while calling CNN “fake news” and “failing.” He loves to claim they have “bad ratings” while Fox has “great” ones.
While it may be true that Fox News is watched by more viewers than CNN, ratings are far from the most important number to gauge success.
And according to the Standard Media Index, Fox News has seen their advertising revenue drop 2 percent in the third quarter, compared to last year. This makes sense, last year was an election year. Except, CNN just saw its third-quarter ad revenue jump by 9 percent compared to their revenues during the campaign last year.
A day before the Standard Media Index was released, Trump attacked MSNBC over their “terrible ratings.” But the report showed that the cable network’s revenues grew by 22 percent compared to their third-quarter earnings last year.
And Trump’s attacks are lifting other outlets too. Trump loves to attack the New York Times as “failing” and an “enemy of the people.”
The Times has just announced that it is gaining about 100,000 new subscribers each quarter. By contrast, they were growing at just 23,000 to 33,000 subscribers per quarter before the election.
“These figures suggest the so-called ‘Trump bump’ is helping the media he attacks more than Fox News,” Alice Enders, the head of research at Enders Analysis, told The Independent.
Enders suggested that Trump is ironically giving his enemies in the media free publicity, much in the same way they gave him during the campaign.
“Mr. Trump is also giving an awful lot of free publicity to CNN. He’s effectively advertising CNN to people who don’t like Trump – and let’s not forget his approval ratings are incredibly low and have been declining,” she said. “In turn, the appeal of these news channels to advertisers is driven first and foremost by [the size of] their audiences.”
She added that many people are also turning to certain outlets out of sheer opposition to a woefully unpopular president.
“Part of that growth is people saying, ‘Donald Trump hates ‘The New York Times’; therefore I like ‘The New York Times,’” she said.
CNN president Jeff Zucker agreed that Trump has been a boon for the non-Fox News part of the industry.
“The one thing I know for sure is that Donald Trump has made American journalism great again,” Zucker said at Business Insider’s Ignition Conference Thursday.
Zucker marveled at the rise in viewership Trump has brought in.
“CNN’s been around for 37 years, this is the most-watched year in the history of CNN on television,” he said. “We’d be at the top if there were global rankings.”
“We could never have anticipated the audience level that we’re seeing now and the interest in both our television and digital properties,” he added.